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The Tunnel In The River-Bed

River Euphrates is popularly considered as the bearer and carrier of the Mesopotamian Civilisation that had developed in the heart of Asia about 6,000 years ago. The importance of Mesopotamian or Babylonian or Sumerian Civilisation is immense in history. Historians are highly interested in the oldest civilisation of the world and its people. The term Mesopotamia was more generally applied to the entire land between the Euphrates and the Tigris, thereby incorporating parts of present-day Iraq, Syria, Kuwait and southeastern Turkey.

Both the Euphrates and the Tigris still flow in Iraq. However, it is being seen that the Euphrates is gradually drying up. Historians have long been puzzled by a tunnel built under this ancient river. Many have expressed doubt whether there is actually any tunnel under the Euphrates. The native folklores of the Mesopotamians or Iraqis often mention about tunnels under this river. Various stories, about that tunnel, are also prevalent among the locals. Well, a tunnel has recently been discovered under the Euphrates with the decrease in the water level of the river. A section of historians has claimed that it is the tunnel, mentioned in ancient folklore.

The tunnel, hidden under the river, goes down quite deep, and there are several steps to get down the stairs. Interestingly, most of the tunnel still does remain intact. As mentioned in the folklore, Queen Semiramis, the semi-legendary Lydian-Babylonian wife of Onnes and Ninus (who succeeded the latter to the throne of Assyria), had built this secret tunnel. It is believed that it used to connect two palaces situated on both sides of the river. According to another folklore, the secret tunnel was built under the river to connect the two ends of the city of Babylon. As per legend, Queen Semiramis did not like to cross the Euphrates. Hence, she had the tunnel, with thick brick wall, built and the construction work had taken 260 days to complete. According to another popular legend in Iraq, one can reach a different world, full of mysteries, through this tunnel. The Iraqis believe that only angels reside in that world, as they have been living beneath the Euphrates for years.

It is said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH; CE 570 – June 8, 632) had predicted that the Euphrates would dry up in future, and a golden mountain would rise from the dried-up river-bed. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had also predicted that people would fight for the possession of that mountain.

Historians and archaeologists have claimed that the water level of the Euphrates has dropped significantly in the last few years. However, no mountain has been found to exist beneath the river, so far. The mysterious tunnel has led to few theories only.

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