Skip to Content

Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.

Map of the world

Iraq Tries To Get Babylon Onto UNESCO World Heritage List (Again)

BabylonBabylon in Iraq is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. A Mesopotamian capital that flourished for centuries, it was home to Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C.) who introduced the world's first known set of laws, and Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 B.C.) who built the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Time has taken its toll, and so has the modern world. Saddam Hussein decided to rebuild Babylon with modern bricks inscribed with his name, right atop the original walls.

Then came the war to topple him. An American military base was established at Babylon that was soon taken over by Polish troops. A British Museum report on damage to Babylon states that large areas of the site were leveled in order to make a parking lot, roads and areas for tents and bunkers.

Trenches were also dug to give protection to the soldiers. Many of the countless sandbags around the base were filled with soil from the archaeological site. The Ishtar Gate, shown here in this Wikimedia Commons image, suffered significant damage.

Now saline water is leaching into the area, eroding the ancient brick, and three oil pipelines pass right through Babylon.

Despite this, Iraqi archaeologists are applying to get Babylon on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Because of the extensive damage to the site and Saddam's "reconstruction," UNESCO has turned down previous applications – twice.

Now Iraq is trying a new tactic. The proposal now includes the historical significance of the Saddam and Coalition eras. Babylon saw many periods of occupation, after all, and these are the two latest. It's an interesting tactic and if it works, Babylon would attract more serious efforts from the Iraqi and other governments to preserve one of humanity's great ancient cities.

Filed under: Activism, Arts and Culture, History, Learning, Iraq, Middle East

Find Your Hotel

City name or airport
City name or airport
City name or airport
City name or airport
City name or airport
City name or airport code
If different

Search Travel Deals

Add your comments

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.

Gadling Features

Most Popular


Become our Fan on Facebook!

Featured Galleries (view all)

Berlin's Abandoned Tempelhof Airport
The Junk Cars of Cleveland, New Mexico
United Airlines 787 Inaugural Flight
Ghosts of War: France
New Mexico's International Symposium Of Electronic Arts
Valley of Roses, Morocco
The Southern Road
United Dreamliner Interior
United Dreamliner Exterior

Our Writers

Don George

Features Editor

RSS Feed

View more Writers

Weird News


FOXNews Travel


Sherman's Travel

Lonely Planet

New York Times Travel