Cover of the book "The mystery of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon" by Stephanie Dalley. Background photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash.
Book Review

Book Review: “The mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon” by S. Dalley


The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. However, its existence has always been a mystery – until Stephanie Dalley’s book. In “The mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon,” Dalley presents a compelling argument for the garden’s location in Nineveh and not Babylon. Her book is a must-read for anyone interested in history, architecture, and archaeology.

The Garden’s Location

Dalley argues that the Hanging Gardens were located in Nineveh, not Babylon. She provides evidence from ancient texts and archaeological discoveries to support her claim. According to Dalley, the gardens were built by King Sennacherib for his wife. The garden was designed to remind her of her homeland, which was known for its lush vegetation.

There are many reasons why the gardens were located in Babylon through the writings of ancient authors, but Dalley takes us with her arguments, that it actually was not. It is a nice to read detective story, combining various sources and ideas into one big reveal: The gardens were build in Niniveh and were indeed a wonder to behold.

The Garden’s Creation

Dalley explains that the Hanging Gardens were not actually hanging, but rather terraced. The garden was constructed using a system of aqueducts and screws that brought water from the nearby river to the top of the terraces. Irrigation used a series of channels that ran along each terrace.

The garden featured exotic plants and trees from around the world. Dalley suggests that it was a symbol of the power and wealth of the Assyrian Empire. The garden was also a testament to the ingenuity and engineering skills of the ancient world.

The Garden’s Legacy

The Hanging Gardens have captured the imagination of people for thousands of years. Many artists have tried to recreate the garden in their works. However, the garden’s true legacy is its impact on the world of architecture and engineering.

Dalley’s book is a fascinating read that sheds new light on one of the world’s greatest mysteries. Her research and analysis are good to follow, and her writing is engaging and accessible. Whether you are a history buff or simply curious about the world’s wonders, “The mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon” is a must-read book, not only for archaeologists.

Stephanie Mary Dalley is a British Assyriologist and scholar of the Ancient Near East.

Cover of the book "The mystery of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon" by Stephanie Dalley. Background photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash.
Cover of the book “The mystery of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon” by Stephanie Dalley.
Dalley, Stephanie. 2015. The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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Sebastian Hageneuer

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. (Nearly) Every Friday.

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