Ancient Babylon Illustration

Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids


In ancient Mesopotamia, as the Sumer civilization lost power, the Babylonian civilization grew in power in the south (in what is now southern Iraq).  Their cities were built on the ruins of the Sumer cities. This civilization was named after its most famous city, Babylon. The city of Babylon was built in southern Mesopotamia near the Persian Gulf. It was built to honor Marduk, the most powerful god of all to the Babylonians. Babylon was the jewel of its time. It was a fabulous city!

The city was a sight to behold.  It had huge walls surrounding it, and in its center was a 300 foot tall Ziggurat.  The city itself was surrounded by fields, irrigated from a network of canals.

To enter the city you passed along Procession Avenue, a stone road that led between lines of huge brick animals.  You then had to pass through the Ishtar Gate, a massive arched gate decorated with dragons and bulls.

Once inside the walls, the city itself was very crowded.  Everyone lived inside the walled city.  Farmers did not live on their farms but here in the city.  Merchants, craftsmen, food vendors all made their homes here.  Each family had their own home. The streets were narrow, flanked on each side by the three story houses of the inhabitants. Streets and alleyways reached everyone's front door.

 People threw all of their waste and trash into the streets and alleyways so they were quite filthy.  Every so often, the city nobles would cover the trash and filth with a layer of clay, raising the level of the streets.  People would then build steps down to their doorways or maybe even cut a new door in the second level and build stairs down to the street.

In the center of the city was the great Ziggurat.  Over 300 feet tall, it dominated the city.  In addition to the Ziggurat was the palace of the king.  One king of ancient Babylon built a garden inside the palace that was so spectacular that it became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

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