The Garden Guide

Mari Palace and City

The palace of Mari owas made by King Zimri-Lim (reign: 1779 to 1757 BCE). It covered more than 2 hectares and had some 300 rooms, corridors and courtyards. Mari has the best preserved Mesopotamian Palace, with two large courtyards. The larger courtyard opened onto the throne room and is known to have had at least one palm tree. Its builders used bonze tools.
Mari's builders dug from a bend in the Euphrates to a dry mound, on which they were protected from all but the greatest floods. The inner and outer defensive walls were circular and it is thought that the land between the walls was used for gardens. It was normal for Mesopotamian gardens to be planted with date palms beneath which fruit trees and vegetables were grown. Mari is 150 miles upriver from Babylon and functioned as a trading post.

The citizens of Mari worshiped Sumerian gods and goddesses. There were temples to Dagan, a storm god, Ishtar, a fertility goddess and Shamash, a Sun god. The modern name of Mari is Tell Hariri.

Plan of Mari showing (1) the circular fortifications (2) the palace on a tell (hill) (3) hypothetical position of palm gardens

Site of the palace on the tell at Mari (image courtesy Peuplier)

Tell Hariri, Abu Kamal, Syria

Nearby gardens