By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
- Mesopotamian terrain
On a single-track railway that runs across Iraq sixty miles to the south of Baghdad, a notice-board marks a flag-station where even local trains rarely stop. Beyond it are sandy mounds, rising and falling for miles toward the horizon. The city "shall become heaps," the prophet Jeremiah said of this place, twenty-five centuries ago; and so, literally, it has. When H. V. Morton made his scholarly and open-eyed pilgrimage through lands of the Bible, it seemed to him that he "had never seen anything more impressive and more terrible" than this strange broken nothingness. For this "astonishing ruin" was once the mightiest city in the world, and here was one of the most splendid of the world's Seven Wonders. This was Babylon.
Babylon consists of three mounds: Kasr, which means castle; Babil; Amran Ibn'Ali; and Djumdjuma (Jastrow 1915, p 27).
Built for cultic and military use, the Procession Street ran out of Babylon from the Ishtar Gate to the building where new year festivities were held. It was 300m long, 16m wide and was decorated with brick reliefs of the lion (the sacred animal of Ishtar) on both walls.
Lions in Relief
The Lions in Relief (Aslan Kabartmalari in Turkish) are colorful glazed brick reliefs built for the walls of Babylon's Procession Street during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II.