20 Incredible Works of Art that are Lost Forever

A hand-colored engraving depicting the Hanging Gardens of Babylon along with the Tower of Babel in the background, by Maarten van Heemskerck (c. the 19th century). Wikimedia Commons.

19. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were not only an advanced technological marvel but allegedly one of the most beautiful man-made structures from all of history

A staggering feat of engineering, far surpassing the general capabilities of the age, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were among the greatest wonders of the ancient world. Constructed in the eponymous city from antiquity, situated at present-day Hillah in modern Iraq, according to legend the structure was located alongside a grand palace known as The Marvel of Mankind and built upon the orders of the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II as a gift for his wife. Dating the wonder to between 605 and 562 BCE if correct, alternatively the gardens have been equally attributed to Queen Semiramis who reigned during the ninth century BCE.

The only one of the Seven Wonders whose location has not been manifestly established, no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon and surviving texts offer limited insight. Whilst some historians have suggested the lack of proof as evidence of mythical status, it is far more likely the altered flow of the Euphrates River has eradicated the ancient site. Described as resplendently beautiful as well as architecturally astounding, the gardens supposedly consisted of an ascending series of tiered gardens comprising a wide variety of imported shrubbery, vines, and plants to create a new Eden.