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Babylon

Babylon
Situated 85 km south of Baghdad, the property includes the ruins of the city which, between 626 and 539 BCE, was the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It includes villages and agricultural areas surrounding the ancient city. Its remains, outer and inner city walls, gates, palaces and temples, are a unique testimony to one of the most influential empires of the ancient world. Seat of successive empires, under rulers such as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon represents the expression of the creativity of the Neo-Babylonian Empire at its height. The city's association with one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the Hanging Gardens—has also inspired artistic, popular and religious culture on a global scale.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Babylone

Situé à 85 km au sud de Bagdad, le bien réunit les ruines de la cité qui fut le centre de l’empire néo-babylonien entre 626 et 539 AEC ainsi que des villages et des zones agricoles entourant l’ancienne cité. Ces vestiges – murs d’enceinte extérieurs et intérieurs de la cité, portes, palais et temples – sont un témoignage unique de l’un des empires les plus influents du monde antique. Siège d’empires successifs, dirigés par des souverains tels que Hammurabi ou Nabuchodonosor, Babylone représente l’expression de la créativité de l’empire néo-babylonien à son apogée. Le lien de la cité avec l’une des Sept Merveilles du monde antique – les Jardins suspendus de Babylone – a par ailleurs inspiré la culture artistique, populaire et religieuse au plan mondial.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

بابل
 يقع موقع بابل الأثري على بعد 85 كم جنوب بغداد، ويتكون من آثار المدينة التي كانت، بين عامي 626 و539 قبل الميلاد، مركز الإمبراطورية البابلية الحديثة، وذلك إلى جانب عدد من القرى والمناطق الزراعية المحيطة بالمدينة القديمة. وتقدم هذه الآثار – الأسوار الداخلية والخارجية للمدينة، والأبواب، والقصور، والمعابد - شهادة فريدة على واحدة من أكثر الإمبراطوريات نفوذاً في العالم القديم. كانت بابل مقراً لعدد من الإمبراطوريات المتعاقبة، بقيادة حكام مثل السلطان حمورابي أو الملك نبوخذ نصر. وتجسّد بابل إبداع الإمبراطورية البابلية الحديثة في أوجها. وكان لارتباط المدينة بواحدة من عجائب الدنيا السبع في العالم القديم - حدائق بابل المعلقة -  تأثيراً على أشكال الثقافة الفنية والشعبية والدينية على مستوى العالم.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

巴比伦

该遗址位于巴格达以南85公里处,由新巴比伦王国(公元前626-539年)首都遗迹及古城周围的村庄和农地组成。这些独一无二的旧址(城外及城内的塔楼、城门、宫殿和庙宇)见证了世界上最具影响力的古国之一曾经的辉煌。巴比伦城历经汉谟拉比、纳布乔多诺索尔等君主的统治,代表着新巴比伦王国时代创造力的巅峰。此外,其与古代世界7大建筑奇迹中的空中花园的联系启迪了世界各地艺术、民俗和宗教文化的发展

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Вавилон
Расположенный в 85 километрах к югу от Багдада, этот объект Всемирного наследия включает руины древнего города Вавилон, центра Нововавилонского царства, существовавшего в период с 626 по 539 гг. до н. э., а также прилегающие деревни и сельскохозяйственные районы. Его остатки, внешние и внутренние городские стены, ворота, дворцы и храмы являются уникальным свидетельством существования одной из самых влиятельных империй древнего мира. Будучи местом правления преемственных династий во главе с такими правителями, как Хаммурапи и Навуходоносор, Вавилон олицетворяет пик развития творчества Нововавилонского царства. Связь города с одним из семи чудес древнего мира – Висячими садами Семирамиды – также послужила источником вдохновения для формирования художественной, популярной и религиозной культур в глобальном масштабе.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Babilonia
Situado a 85 km al sur de Bagdad, este sitio agrupa los vestigios arqueológicos de la ciudad que fue capital del antiguo Imperio Neobabilónico entre los años 626 y 539 a. C., así como de los pueblos y terrenos agrarios circundantes. Formados por los restos de templos, palacios y torres y puertas de los recintos amurallados del interior y exterior de la ciudad, los vestigios de Babilonia constituyen un testimonio simpar de uno de los imperios más poderosos de la Antigüedad, encabezado sucesivamente por soberanos como Hamurabi o Nabucodonosor, y también son una expresión de la creatividad excepcional del arte neobabilónico en su apogeo. Los Jardines Colgantes de las murallas de Babilonia, considerados una de las Siete Maravillas del mundo antiguo, han sido una fuente de inspiración para la cultura artística, popular y religiosa a nivel mundial.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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hrine on Amran Bin Ali © Qahtan Al-Abeed
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Babylon is an archaeological site which stands out as a unique testimony to one of the most influential empires of the ancient world. One of the largest, oldest settlements in Mesopotamia and the Middle East, it was the seat of successive powerful empires under such famous rulers as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar. As the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626-539 BCE), it is the most exceptional testimony of this culture at its height and represents the expression of this civilization’s creativity through its unusual urbanism, the architecture of its monuments (religious, palatial and defensive) and their decorative expressions of royal power. Babylon radiated not only political, technical and artistic influence over all regions of the ancient Near and Middle East, but it also left a considerable scientific legacy in the fields of mathematics and astronomy.

As an archaeological site, Babylon possesses exceptional cultural and symbolic associations of universal value. The property represents the tangible remains of a multifaceted myth that has functioned as a model, parable, scapegoat and symbol for over two thousand years. Babylon figures in the religious texts and traditions of the three Abrahamic faiths and has consistently been a source of inspiration for literary, philosophical and artistic works. The buildings and other urban features contained within the boundaries of the property (outer and inner-city walls, gates, palaces, temples including the ziggurat, the probable inspiration for the Tower of Babel, etc.), include all its attributes as a unique testimony to the neo-Babylonian civilization, in particular its contribution to architecture and urban design. Eighty-five percent of the property remains unexcavated and of primary importance to support the site’s Outstanding Universal Value through further conservation and research.

Criterion (iii): Babylon dates back to the third millennium BCE and was the seat of successive powerful empires under such famous rulers as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar. As the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626-539 BCE), it is the most exceptional testimony of this culture at its height and represents the expression of this civilization’s creativity during this highly productive phase in architectural and urban creation.

Babylon’s cultural legacy was enhanced by previous Akkadian and Sumerian cultural achievements, which included the cuneiform writing system, a significant tool for today’s knowledge of the history and evolution of the region in general and Babylon in particular. In turn, Babylon exerted considerable political, scientific, technological, architectural and artistic influence upon other human settlements in the region, and on successive historic periods of Antiquity.

Criterion (vi): Babylon functioned as a model, parable and symbol of ancient power for over two thousand years and inspires artistic, popular and religious culture on a global scale. The tales of Babel find reference in the religious texts of the three Abrahamic religions. In the works of Greek historians, Babylon was distant, exotic and incredible. Classical texts attribute one of the seven wonders of the world to Babylon: the Hanging Gardens; and other texts speak of the wondrous Tower of Babel. Both are iconic but have their origins in real ancient structures of which archaeological traces are still preserved: the ziggurat Etemenanki and Nebuchadnezzar’s palatial complex.

Integrity

The boundaries of the property encompass the outer walls of the neo-Babylonian capital on all sides. These limits are well marked by remnants of the fortifications in the form of mounds visible on the ground and they are also confirmed by archaeological surveys. The buildings and other urban features contained within the property include all archaeological remains since the time of Hammurabi until the Hellenistic period, and specifically urbanistic and architectural products of the Neo-Babylonian period when the city was at the height of its power and glory. These represent the complete range of attributes of the property as a unique testimony to the Neo-Babylonian civilization, and the material basis for its cultural and symbolic associations.

The property suffers from a variety of threats including illegal constructions, trash dumping and burning, small-scale industrial pollution, urban encroachments and other environmental factors. At the time of inscription, and despite conservation efforts undertaken since 2008 with international collaboration, the general physical fabric of the site is in a critical condition and lacks a well-defined and programmed approach towards conservation. Both the reconstructions and structural alterations of the ‘Revival of Babylon Project’ and other constructions in the 1980s have negatively affected the integrity of the property. Whilst the constructions of the 20th century are excluded from the property and now function as above-ground buffer zones within the property area, the future management of these within the overall property will be critical to the preservation of the fragile condition of integrity.

Authenticity

Some physical elements of the site have been viewed as problematic in terms of authenticity, in particular the reconstructions built on archaeological foundations, which aimed at making the scanty archaeological remains better visible to visitors, and the 20th century interventions within the property. In most cases, however, these additions are discernible from the original remains. Whilst it is a matter of debate whether these did affect the legibility of the spatial organization of the urban core, the inner and outer city limits remain discernible today and approximately 85 percent of the property is unexcavated. Authenticity of these remains is very vulnerable based on the critical state of conservation of the property.

For the reconstructed sections, the authenticity of the property above-ground is problematic. While all other 20th century constructions were excluded from the property and covered by the above-ground buffer zones, the unusually high number of reconstructions and the fact that some of these were almost complete reconstructions based on very scanty archaeological evidence remains an unfortunate part of the history of the property. The height and design of these reconstructions is therefore based on conjecture rather than scientific or archaeological evidence. These volumetric aspects of the reconstructed monuments and the additions in successive restorations did affect the ability of parts of the property to convey authenticity in form and design with regard to these archaeological remains. Likewise, based on the introduction of new materials, these monuments illustrate limited authenticity in material and substance.

Management and protection requirements

The property falls under the jurisdiction of the Iraqi Antiquities and Heritage Law No. 55 of 2002, which aims to protect, conserve and manage all archaeological sites in Iraq. The law is also concerned with surveying, excavating and documenting all archaeological sites and presenting them to the public. The law is enforced by the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, a body under the authority of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities. At the provincial level, the Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage of Babil is directly responsible to ensure the conservation, management and monitoring of the property, and works in collaboration with the Antiquity and Heritage Police who maintain a station near the site.

The state of conservation of the property is very concerning and constitutes an ascertained danger in the absence of a coordinated programmed conservation approach with urgent priority interventions. A management plan has been developed through an in-depth consultation process with local and national stakeholders since 2011 and officially endorsed in 2018. Both the federal and provincial governments have committed sufficient levels of funding to ensure that the property is conserved, studied and developed for visitors to international standards while protecting its Outstanding Universal Value. It is essential that the overall principles laid out in the plan are subsequently transferred to concrete actions on site, prioritizing conservation to prevent immediate losses which can occur at any time, in particular in case of rainfalls.