The Ishtar Gates: The Jewel in the Crown of Babylon

The Ishtar Gates Pergamon Museum, Berlin

“Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honour of my majesty.” Daniel 4:30

These were the words once spoken by King Nebuchadnezzar as he walked on the roof of the palace overlooking his city, before he was judged by God for his pride.

The Ishtar Gate and the Processional Way were built by Nebuchadnezzar while Daniel was captive in Babylon, so he and his friends would have witnessed the construction.

The Ishtar Gate prop was first built for a Youth Conference on Daniel. The banner was created to match the style of the Ishtar Gates.

Plywood forms before priming

In order to make the replica, we used scrap plywood we had available and screwed it together to form the pillars. A few more pieces were used in the middle section to join the pillars and make the arch. It is amazing what a little bit of paint and artistic flare does to change the look of that old plywood! We recommend painting the whole form with primer first, so you don’t waste a bunch of good paint that gets soaked into the plywood on the first coat. We tried to follow the design as closely as we could from the original gates. A copy of the stencil that we used for the dragon and bull is attached at the bottom of this post. The daisy stencil was cut out from a piece of sponge, as well as the blue and white border.


“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

For those looking for a little bit more information on the Ishtar Gates:

Processional Way, Babylon

The Processional Way, a ½ mile long street in    Babylon leading to the Ishtar Gates, was lined by bricks glazed with 160 lions. The gate was adorned with bulls and dragons representing Babylonian gods and goddesses.

The Ishtar Gate is only one small part of the design of ancient Babylon that also included the palace, temples, an inner fortress, walls, gardens, other gates and the Processional Way.

Babylon was first successfully excavated by Robert Koldewey, a German, in the early part of the 20th century.

The reconstruction of the Ishtar Gates and Processional Way was completed in the Pergamon Museum in 1930.  One of Robert Koldewey’s finds was the Dedication plaque of Nebuchadnezzar –

“Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, the faithful prince appointed by the will of Marduk, the highest of princely princes, beloved of Nabu, of prudent counsel, who has learned to embrace wisdom, who fathomed their divine being and reveres their majesty, the untiring governor, who always takes to heart the care of the cult of Esagila and Ezida and is constantly concerned with the well-being of Babylon and Borsippa, the wise, the humble, the caretaker of Esagila and Ezida, the firstborn son of Nabopolassar, the King of Babylon. Both gate entrances of Imgur-Ellil and Nemetti-Ellil following the filling of the street from Babylon had become increasingly lower. Therefore, I pulled down these gates and laid their foundations at the water table with asphalt and bricks and had them made of bricks with blue stone on which wonderful bulls and dragons were depicted. I covered their roofs by laying majestic cedars length-wise over them. I hung doors of cedar adorned with bronze at all the gate openings. I placed wild bulls and ferocious dragons in the gateways and thus adorned them with luxurious splendor so that people might gaze on them in wonder. I let the temple of Esiskursiskur (the highest festival house of Marduk, the Lord of the Gods a place of joy and celebration for the major and minor gods) be built firm like a mountain in the precinct of Babylon of asphalt and fired bricks.”

Bro. Stephen Whitehouse has a class called Ancient Babylon, Ziggurats and the Tower Of Babel which is very informative and confirms that our God is the God of the Bible.

This is Bro. Stephen’s class.

These are Bro. Stephen’s slides.

This is a document that has the printable stencil of the bull, dragon and flower.

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