The Ancient Wonders of the World
The Wonders of the Ancient World, or usually called the Seven Wonders or the Wonders of the World, is a number of structures that were built by humans during the classic epoch. Scientists tend to think that the historians of ancient times started to compile such list in the 2nd century B.C. The list we have at the present time is considered to be compiled in the Middle Ages.
The Pyramid of Cheops (Cairo, Egypt)
The Great Pyramid of Giza is believed to be the only survived Wonder of the Ancient World. It is the largest pyramid among three pyramids that were built in the ancient times in Giza, a city that is now a part of Cairo, Egypt. The approximate date of its building is assumed to be nearly 2560 B.C., and it was designed to be a tomb of Khufu, a Pharaoh of Egypt. Most likely, it took over 20 years to construct this pyramid. Egyptologists still argue over how many men were used for building the pyramid, and the numbers range from 14,000 up to 360,000 men. After the pyramid was constructed, its height was about 480 feet high, and its sides were measured to be nearly 755 feet long. Moreover, every side of the pyramid is orientated to the one cardinal point accordingly (west, east, south, and north). The pyramid comprises about 2.3 million stone blocks, and each of them weighs nearly 2 tons. The pyramid has continued to be the highest man-made building for four millennia after it was constructed.
The Babylon’s Hanging Gardens (Al-Hillah, Iraq)
Nebuchadnezzar II who ruled Babylon ordered to construct the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in nearly 600 B.C. Although, the real existence of these gardens is an object of frequent debates among historians, because no physical evidence about it have been found. Moreover, the Babylonian documents have not mentioned the gardens, and only Greek scientists described the Hanging Gardens first time.
Those records show that the Hanging Gardens consisted of arched terraces lifted each above another and propped up by pillars, such a man-made growing mountain of gardens. It is considered that those terraces were filled up with dirt, and flora and trees, which overhung the sides, were planted there. The thing that amazes many people about this garden is its extremely sophisticated system of irrigation that brought water to the Hanging Gardens from the Euphrates. Nearly the 1st century B.C., the Hanging Gardens were demolished by an earthquake.
Artemision (Selcuk, Turkey)
Artemision, or Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, was built nearly 550 B.C., in honor of the Greek goddess of nature and hunting. At that time, Achaemenid Dynasty ruled the Persian Empire. In 356 B.C., the temple was destroyed by arson. Pliny, an ancient philosopher and author, described Artemision as 180 feet wide and 377 feet long (its size exceeds the Parthenon’s size in three times). Moreover, the author noted that the temple had 127 columns made of Ion, each of them was 60 feet high. Artemision was made only of marble. In the ancient times, the temple was used a worship place and a marketplace. Moreover, many works of sculpture and art were stored in the temple.
Olympia’s Statue of Zeus (Olympia, Greece)
Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a huge statue in honor of the God Zeus that was built at the Olympia’s Temple of Zeus in nearly 450 B.C. The statue was designed by Pheidias, a Greek sculptor, and it was measured 40 feet high. The statue of a sitting Zeus was made of ivory along with gold-filled accents. The statue represented the God sitting on his throne made of cedar and studded with jewels. He held the Nike’s statue, who is the goddess of victory, in the right hand and a wand with depicted eagle on the upper part of the left hand. However, there are a number of different theories explaining the destruction of the statue. Some scientists assume that the statue was destroyed together with the temple itself, and this happened in the 5th century. Other scholars assume that the Statue of Zeus was moved to Constantinople and destroyed in a fire there in A.D. 462.
Tomb of Mausolus (Southwestern Turkey)
Tomb of Mausolus, also known as the Tomb of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, was built in order to contain the remains of Mausollos and Artemisia, the King of Persia and his wife. The tomb was worked out by Pythius and Satyrus, the Greek architects, and built nearly 353 B.C. It was constructed on a high ground that overlooked Halicarnassus, an ancient city. The tomb, the exterior of which was edged by a decorative frieze, was 135 feet tall. Different statues, low reliefs, and pillars adorned the exterior of that elaborated and huge tomb. At the end, the term “mausoleum” started to be used for describing any huge and magnificent tomb. Numerous earthquakes caused the final destruction of the Tomb of Mausolus that took place in the 14th century.
The Colossus of Rhodes (Rhodes, Greece)
The Colossus of Rhodes was erected in Rhodes, Greece, and appeared to be a huge 100 foot high statue of Helios, the Greek God. The statue was built on the island of the same name – Rhodes, nearly 280 B.C. The statue was created in order to commemorate Helios, the protector God of the island, after Rhodes successfully beat back the invasion that took place in 304 B.C. Scientists assume that the sculpture stood either on the harbor’s breakwater or on a plinth that was located near the entrance to the Rhodes’s haven.
The Pharos of Alexandria (Pharos Island, Alexandria, Egypt)
The Pharos of Alexandria, or more commonly known as the Lighthouse of Alexandria, was constructed in the 3rd century B.C. The purpose of building it was simple – it should have played a role of the Pharos’s landmark. The estimates of historians concerning the size of the lighthouse vary from 383 up to 450 feet high. Its tower was constructed with the use of light-colored stone. Moreover, on the top of it (at the highest point) was placed a mirror with the purpose of reflecting sunshine during the daytime; a fire was used to emit light at night. Some scholars assume that the light from the lighthouse could reach 35 miles (i.e. the ships could see it while being 35 miles away). However, two terrible earthquakes, which happened in 1303 and 1323, significantly damaged the lighthouse. In 1480, the remainders of the lighthouse were destroyed during the construction of a fort nearby.