Dilmun

Dilmun or Telmun (Arabic: دلمون) was a civilization in Eastern Arabia. Dilmun was an important trading centre which at the height of its power controlled the Persian Gulf trading routes. The Sumerians regarded Dilmun as holy land. The scholarly consensus is that Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the coastal regions of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Dilmun was mentioned by Mesopotamian civilizations as a trade partner, a source of the metal copper, and an entrepôt of the Mesopotamia-to-Indus Valley Civilization trade route. It is also noted that Gilgamesh had to pass through Mount Mashu to reach Dilmun in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is usually identified with the whole of the parallel Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges, with the narrow gap between these mountains constituting the tunnel. Others believe Mount Mashu was one of two (“twin”) mountains that held up the sky at the eastern and western extremities of the world. The Sumerian versions of the Gilgamesh epic demonstrate that the earlier versions of the myth sited the Cedar Mountain to the east, in the direction of the rising of Utu, the Sumerian sun god. Dilmun is regarded as one of the oldest ancient civilizations in the Middle East. The Sumerians described Dilmun as a paradise garden in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Sumerian tale of the garden paradise of Dilmun may have been an inspiration for the Garden of Eden story.