From the #HistoryOfUs series: Ishtar Gate And Procession Way
Nebuchadnezzar II was pretty cool. This Babylonian king expanded his empire, drove back his enemies, and even a Wonder of the World goes back to him: the Hanging Gardens of Seramis – plus another structure, which was also regarded as such for some time: the city wall of Babylon with the blue Ishtar Gate.
2500 year later: The German architect Robert Koldewey finds a few blue brick fragments one day in the desert in what is now Iraq, he has an inkling that he is on to something really big. Over the next years he dugs up thousands and thousands of these bricks. He packs them into hundereds of cases and – on the basis of a splitting of finds with the Iraqi Antiquity Directorate 1927 – sent them to Berlin,...
... where they are soaked in water in 230 wooden tubs in the chemical laboratory of the Royal Museums and then impregnated. Then the job of putting the vast jigsaw puzzle together starts. Quite a job!
The result is overwhelming! In 1930, three decades after the fragments were found and after years of hardest work, the monumental Ishtar Gate – one of the gates of the legendary ancient city of Babylon ...
... and part of what was once Babylon’s Processional Way are restored to their former glory in Berlin in a reconstruction made of original brick fragments and modern reproduction bricks.
It almost seems as if their builder knew it. He signed his work as follows: “I am Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. I have paved the street of Babylon with stone for the procession of the great Lord Marduk [the city God of Babylon]. May Marduk, Lord, grant eternal life!”
His empire was not to last forever – in the final years of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar II fell prey to ever more frequent bouts of madness. And a few years after his death the Babylonian Empire vanished for good. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Robert Koldewey, however, his magnificent gate, including the processional road, lives on.
more about the Ishtar Gate
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz