Skip to main content

Ancient Babylon's bricks finding their way into modern buildings

The city of Hillah was built a thousand years ago using bricks scavenged from the ruins of Babylon, and the practice of reusing the ancient building materials continues there to this day.
Residents visit the ancient city of Babylon near Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad February 17, 2012. Picture taken February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ - Tags: TRAVEL SOCIETY) - RTR2Y1RF
Read in 

BAGHDAD — Every now and then Iraqis are surprised to find out that some of the new buildings in the city of Hillah, south of Baghdad, are still being built with antique bricks stolen over the past century from the ancient city of Babylon.

Mohammed al-Hilli, a 75-year-old stonemason from Hillah, told Al-Monitor, “We often find authentic Babylonian brick while demolishing dilapidated houses.” He explained, “During the 1950s, it was very common to transport bricks from the city of Babil to be used in housing construction. But this has stopped following the tightened security measures and increasing interest by the authorities in the city.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.