Herodotus was the first author to give a full description of the Hanging Gardens. According to him, the gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzar II to make his wife Amytis happy because she didn’t like the Babylonian desert. She had lived in Persia, which had many plants and fountains. It was about 350 feet tall and was covered with trees, flowers, lawns, plants, fountains, pools, and miniature water falls. It had every kind of plant available in the kingdom. It was made of mud brick and stone, a series of terraces, one on top of the other. The plants couldn’t survive without water, so they had to pump water from the Euphrates River to flow down through channels to the plants.
Reading Herodotus’ description, you’ll see that what he described was Babylon itself. If you try to sketch out the city plan as he describes it, it can be done. What’s more, it’s pretty accurate in relation to archaeological maps. In the plan below, Herodotus’ Temple of Zeus Belos is the central and above it is his King’s Palace where we’d look for the Hanging Gardens. In the early 1900’s German archaeologist, Robert Koldewey traced the area where the Hanging Gardens of Babylon had been laid. Only crumbling mud brick can be seen today.