I posted these on social media the other day, but I thought I’d include them here simply because of how much I love the casually jaw-dropping caption used for these over at the Library of Congress. This eerie pile of bricks looming over the desert, photographed back in 1932?
It’s nothing other than “Possibly the Tower of Babel,” or the “So-called Tower of Babel.” No biggie.
[Images: “Possibly the Tower of Babel” photographed in 1932; courtesy Library of Congress.]
As novelist Paul M.M. Cooper responded on Twitter, the site is still extent today. Iraqi-Dutch filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji, Cooper wrote, “used it as a backdrop for a memorable scene in his movie Son of Babylon.”
Here it is on Google Maps.
[Image: The “so-called Tower of Babel,” photographed in 1932; courtesy Library of Congress.]
The Library of Congress also refers to the site as an “extinct city,” which is a fabulous phrase, complete with its own “Watchman of the Ruins,” only adding to the mythic weight of the place.
[Image: “Possibly the Tower of Babel,” photographed in 1932; courtesy Library of Congress.]
Even better, I now have an excuse to post some paintings of the Tower of Babel, as seen through the lens of European art history…
[Image: “The Tower of Babel” (1595) by Abel Grimmer, via Wikimedia Commons.]
[Image: “The Tower of Babel” (1563) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, via Fine Art America.]
Check out several more photos—including a later, color version—over at the Library of Congress.