It was the great city of Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time, it had up to seven doors bearing the names of Babylonian deities. The gates of the goddess Ishtar in Babylon were of special beauty, from which the famous procession route set off, heading to Isagila, the temple of the patron saint of Babylon, Marduk. The ruins of the Ishtar Gate and now remain one of the most important testimonies to the former glory of Babylon.
Description of the gate of the goddess Ishtar in Babylon
The processional route was perhaps the best route in the ancient world because it was not intended for people and chariots to walk, but for the great god and patron of Babylon, Marduk, who made his way once a year. With her to Isagella. Its origin is exactly at the gates of Ishtar.
Ishtar was revered as the goddess of beauty and love, compared to Venus. Ishtar’s cult arose in the city of Uruk, which it was a patron of. Among the cities of Babylon, there were seven great cities, including Uruk. Each patron deity of one of these cities was reflected at the gates of Babylon, which was supposed to symbolize the country’s unity. Since Ishtar was identified as Murdoch’s wife, the main front gate has been designated for her.
The Babylonian gates of Ishtar the Great were double. The interior was two times larger than the outside. The glazed bricks shone in the sun, while the background is decorated with 575 prominent images of revered animals. Here, the aforementioned procession route, which continued through the city, began on Yibor Street as a young man. With the advent of the New Year, a large procession was organized led by a golden statue of Marduk.
The street itself was mostly made of pink stone slabs, with red stone inlays around the edges. It was 23 meters wide, and along its entire length, it was accompanied by walls of blue-glazed bricks seven meters high. Every two meters, the walls are decorated with bold images of lions in spooky poses.
But sooner or later, everything collapses, so the beauty of the gates of the goddess Ishtar was only appreciated after German scientists conducted research here. In total, about 100 thousand blocks of bricks were found, which previously formed the portal. They were all collected and taken to Berlin, where it was later possible to restore the gate in its original size from real Babylonian bricks. The Ishtar Gate is now in the Pergamon Museum (Berlin). There is also a restored section of the motorcade route. Smaller restored parts of Babylonian heritage are on display in many museums around the world – Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Detroit Museum, Louvre, etc. The Ishtar Gate in Iraq, which is currently the admiration of tourists and the place of pilgrimage.
The appearance of the gate of the goddess Ishtar
The most famous gates of the city wall of Babylon were double gates. At the same time, the inside of it was almost twice the size of the outer part. The building was 26 meters high and about 30 meters wide. The entrance was a semicircular arch.
Glazed bricks were used in the construction. The main color of the building is light blue. This gave the gate a special grandeur, and it immediately distinguished it against the background of yellow sand and gray houses. The blue color was also believed to symbolize the goddess Ishtar.
The ceiling and the scarf are made of cedar, and their edges are bronze. Against a background of bright blue brick, 575 relief images of sacred animals – sirrush and bulls – stand out. In threatening poses, they also decorated walls along the procession path, as they were supposed to “accompany” the deities during the ceremonial procession.
The width of the Road was 23 m, the walls along with it to a height of 7 m were finished with blue glazed bricks.
Secrets of the Ishtar Gate
One of the main mysteries of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon is the ingredients used to make the decorative cover. There is still an opinion that they did not exist in ancient times and were particles of cosmic dust.
There are a few unanswered questions related to enamel fabrication technology. How did the craftsmen manage to maintain the same burning temperature as the bricks? How was their dye amount verified with high accuracy?
To obtain a brick with a durable decorative layer, at least 12 hours of firing at a temperature of 1000 ° C. will be required. Today, qualified specialists and “smart” equipment cope with these tasks. It’s hard to believe that people achieved similar results in 570 BC.
Excavation and reconstruction of landmarks
At the end of the nineteenth century, German archaeologist Robert Koldoy was able to secure funding for excavations in the territory of ancient Babylon.
An interesting fact: the excavations lasted about 17 years and were only interrupted by the entry of British forces into Baghdad.
Among the ruins of the great city, archaeologists found the collapsed part of the Ishtar Gate. Scientists collected and exported to Germany about 100 thousand well-preserved bricks. Among these, a copy of the Babylonian Gate was erected at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, completely preserving the proportions, but reducing the size. The height of the restoration is 14 meters and its length is 10 meters. Visitors to the museum can also see the restored section of the motorcade route.
In the museums of Paris, Detroit, New York, Boston, Istanbul, and other major cities of the world, separate sections of the Babylonian Gate are preserved.
The Iraq Museum has its own Ishtar Gate, but it is built from modern building materials, stylized like the iconic blue bricks.
The reconstruction of the gate to the goddess Ishtar gives an almost complete picture of the original form in the ancient city. They amaze with their grandeur even in a reduced version.