The Tower of Babel is a structure referenced in Chapter 11 of the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Its story is often told as a parable to impart lessons such as humility and modesty. Sometimes it is also taken at literal value, and used to explain the presence of multiple languages in the world.
The story of the Tower of Babel tells us that in the beginning, people had but one language. Everyone in the world could understand everybody else, and this resulted in peace and harmony all throughout the world. A time came, however, when man's pride began to get the best of him. Men agreed that as they had grown so much in intelligence and grace, it was likely in their power to build a tower that would reach even Heaven itself. And so a united humanity began construction on an edifice so tall that it would touch the skies. This was to be the Tower of Babel.
When God looked down upon humanity however, what he saw was their arrogance hubris. They were attempting to appropriate heaven for themselves and make themselves equal with God. To teach them a lesson therefore, God confounded their language, and they began to speak in different tongues. Chaos and confusion ensued, bringing with it misunderstanding and distrust. With that came anger, and soon humanity fell into discord, and scattered across the Earth.
Some Biblical scholars point out that the Tower of Babel is likely a kind of commentary or reaction on the ziggurats, which were designed by the ancient Mesopotamians to be literal stairways to Heaven. Ziggurats tended to loom rather intimidatingly over the Mesopotamian valley during those times; in fact, they are some of the biggest religious buildings ever to be built. A ziggurat is said to resemble a terraced pyrmaid, with ever decreasing levels the higher it rose.
The Tower of Babel was not explicitly destroyed in the Book of Genesis. However, it is brought up again in the Book of Jubilees, an ancient Jewish work, where it is stated that God destroyed it with a strong gust of wind.