Babylonia was a state in ancient Mesopotamia. The city of Babylon, whose ruins are located in present-day Iraq, was founded more than 4,000 years ago as a small port town on the Euphrates River. It grew into one of the largest cities of the ancient world under the rule of Hammurabi. Several centuries later, a new line of kings established a Neo-Babylonian Empire that spanned from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. During this period, Babylon became a city of beautiful and lavish buildings. Biblical and archaeological evidence point toward the forced exile of thousands of Jews to Babylon around this time.