The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the gate was constructed using a rare blue stone called lapis lazuli with alternating rows of bas-relief dragons and aurochs.
The roof and doors of the gate were of cedar, according to the dedication plaque. Through the gate ran the Processional Way, which was lined with walls covered in lions on glazed bricks (about 120 of them).
Statues of the deities were paraded through the gate and down the Processional Way each year during the New Year's celebration.
Originally the gate, being part of the Walls of Babylon, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the world until, in the 6th century AD, it was replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria.