As preparations continue to have Babylon recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017, the city of Borsippa, which is 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon, is on the top of the list of archaeological sites that are most likely to be inscribed on the world list, as the city has not witnessed any construction changes beyond UNESCO specifications.
The city has not had a face-lift for thousands of years, Hussein Falih, the director of the archaeological site, told Al-Monitor. “The Department of Antiquities in Babil governorate is careful not to make any change that would reduce the historical value of the site and is keen on intensifying security measures and protection,” Falih said.
“Working on inscribing Borsippa to the World Heritage List requires efforts to preserve the archaeological hills of the city that also include valuable relics that have yet to be excavated. The city’s high tower should also be sustained in a scientific manner to prevent its collapse without changing its original structure. We ought also to embark on a media campaign to promote this ancient archaeological site,” Falih added.
If the city of Babylon is a historical attraction for tourists, Borsippa combines both historical and mythological aspects. It is commonly believed that “the city witnessed the clash between the Prophet Ibrahim [Abraham] and the pagan King Nimrod, according to religious narratives,” Haytham al-Yasiri, a cleric from Babylon, told Al-Monitor. “Given the historical and religious tourism, Borsippa has outstripped Babylon in terms of the numbers of visitors,” Yasiri added.
Those who arrive at the site notice that it is divided into two parts. First, there is the plateau where a large mosque stands surrounded by orchards and is topped with a 10-meter-high (32-foot) green minaret.