Babylon and Kish, Iraq

Photos taken by David Stanley in the ancient Mesopotamian cities of Babylon, Kish, and Borsippa, Iraq.
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In the 1980s Saddam Hussein ordered the reconstruction of much of Babylon, Iraq, and bricks inscribed with his name can still be seen in the walls.

In the Saddam Hussein ordered the reconstruction of much of Babylon, Iraq, and bricks inscribed with his name can still be seen in the walls.

A former palace of Saddam Hussein stands atop a hill overlooking Babylon, Iraq. Other famous rulers of Babylon include Hammurabi, who created the world's first code of law in 1700 BC, and Alexander the Great, who was married and died here.

A former palace of Saddam Hussein stands atop a hill overlooking Babylon, Iraq. Other famous rulers of Babylon include Hammurabi, who created the world's first code of law in 1700 BC, and Alexander the Great, who was married and died here.

The famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world, may have been here in this area of what is now Iraq.

The famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world, may have been here in this area of what is now Iraq.

The basalt Lion of Babylon statue at Babylon, Iraq, depicts a lion astride a prisoner. The lion may once have been fitted with a saddle.

The basalt Lion of Babylon statue at Babylon, Iraq, depicts a lion astride a prisoner. The lion may once have been fitted with a saddle.

The Temple of Nin Makh (the Great Lady) at Babylon, Iraq, was reconstructed by the Saddam Hussein regime.

The Temple of Nin Makh (the Great Lady) at Babylon, Iraq, was reconstructed by the Saddam Hussein regime.

The ancient Processional Way next to the rebuilt Palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon, Iraq, was paved with stone slabs and bitumen.

The ancient Processional Way next to the rebuilt Palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon, Iraq, was paved with stone slabs and bitumen.

The ancient Sumerian ziggurat of Borsippa (Birs Nimrud), 15 km southwest of Hillah, Iraq, was once thought to be the ruins of the Tower of Babel.

The ancient Sumerian ziggurat of Borsippa (Birs Nimrud), 15 km southwest of Hillah, Iraq, was once thought to be the ruins of the Tower of Babel.

The largest ziggurat of the ancient Sumerian city of Kish, 21 km east of the ruins of Babylon, Iraq, towers above the Mesopotamian plain. King Sargon (circa 2340-2284 BC) made Kish the capital of the Akkadian Empire.

The largest ziggurat of the ancient Sumerian city of Kish, 21 km east of the ruins of Babylon, Iraq, towers above the Mesopotamian plain. King Sargon (circa BC) made Kish the capital of the Akkadian Empire.

The Euphrates River passes the site of Babylon, Iraq. In antiquity the river flowed right through the city.

The Euphrates River passes the site of Babylon, Iraq. In antiquity the river flowed right through the city.

The ancient Sumerian city of Kish, east of Babylon, Iraq, was occupied from around 5000 BC until the 6th century AD. The King List of early rulers mentions Ku-Baba, a barmaid who reigned here after the great flood.

The ancient Sumerian city of Kish, east of Babylon, Iraq, was occupied from around 5000 BC until the century AD. The King List of early rulers mentions Ku-Baba, a barmaid who reigned here after the great flood.

A sweeping view of the restored Palace of Nebuchadrezzar II at Babylon, Iraq, is obtained from a nearby hilltop. The "writing on the wall" incident mentioned in the Bible took place in this palace.

A sweeping view of the restored Palace of Nebuchadrezzar II at Babylon, Iraq, is obtained from a nearby hilltop. The "writing on the wall" incident mentioned in the Bible took place in this palace.

This maze of foundations next to the reconstructed Palace of Nebuchadnezzar II at Babylon, Iraq, may be the site of the 6th century BC Hanging Gardens.

This maze of foundations next to the reconstructed Palace of Nebuchadnezzar II at Babylon, Iraq, may be the site of the century BC Hanging Gardens.

The dragon-like chimera reliefs on the original base of the Ishtar Gate at Babylon, Iraq, bear attributes of a snake, lion, and eagle.

The dragon-like chimera reliefs on the original base of the Ishtar Gate at Babylon, Iraq, bear attributes of a snake, lion, and eagle.

The foundations of the original Ishtar Gate at Babylon, Iraq, still bear alternate rows of bull and dragon reliefs.

The foundations of the original Ishtar Gate at Babylon, Iraq, still bear alternate rows of bull and dragon reliefs.

In the early 20th century German archaeologists transported the original Ishtar Gate from Babylon, Iraq, to a Berlin museum. In the 1980s the Saddam Hussein regime reconstructed this two-thirds size replica at the entrance to the site.

In the early century German archaeologists transported the original Ishtar Gate from Babylon, Iraq, to a Berlin museum. In the the Saddam Hussein regime reconstructed this two-thirds size replica at the entrance to the site.

Under King Sargon of Akkade (circa 2340-2284 BC), the ancient city of Kish in what is now Iraq may have been the capital of the first empire in the history of the world.

Under King Sargon of Akkade (circa BC), the ancient city of Kish in what is now Iraq may have been the capital of the first empire in the history of the world.

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