What Are the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World
I’m still chilling in Bangkok, setting up a few online things, longing for my awesome trip next year overlanding from Bangkok back to Ireland with no flights. There’s a lot of confusion about the seven ancient wonders so let me clear this up for you guys. First of all, the New 7 Wonders of the World are here (that’s the one with the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal etc), but the 7 ancient wonders of the world are something entirely different.
The Seven Wonders of the World are a series of feats of majestic human brilliance which exist throughout the World. The first list of these man-made achievements came from ancient Greece and as such, was centered solely on structures around the rim of the Mediterranean. The Greeks selected the number seven as it was seen to be a number which represented perfection amongst Hellenic scholars and astronomers. Let us take a look then at the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
What are The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World? Here they are:
Great Pyramid of Giza
If you had hopes of traveling the World to see some of the ancient wonders then unfortunately, theis the only one which is still standing. Sat in the city of Giza, around 10 miles outside of Cairo, this pyramid was constructed somewhere between 2584 BC and 2561 BC. At 146 meters tall, the pyramid was actually the tallest man-made building in the World for some 3,500 years until the Lincoln Cathedral was finished. Some of the structure’s facade has been lost as a result of decay throughout the ages but this pyramid can still be seen and enjoyed.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Whilst the location of the gardens has never been discovered which has left many to believe that the wonder was purely mythical. Many however, believe that the gardens were built by the great King Nebuchadnezzer II sometime around 600 BC. The gardens are believed to have been in present-day Hillah in Iraq which was the center of ancient Babylon, it is thought that they were tiered gardens which ascended and gave the impression that they were hanging out from the mountain.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Despite being re-built no less than 3 times, the majestic temple at Ephesus that was built in dedication to the Greek god Artemis. So grand was the temple that the list maker of the Seven Wonders of the World, poet, Antipater of Sidon mused “When I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand” The impressive temple stood until around 401 AD when it was destroyed by a Goth raid. You can still see fragments of the temple which are situated in the British Museum and the site, in modern day Turkey can still be visited too.
Statue of Zeus at Mount Olympia
In 435 BC, sculptor Phidias created this huge seated sculpture of the God Zeus, outside the temple dedicated to the same God. Made with wood, ivory plates, gold panels and precious stones, the stature was so impressive that Caligula requested that it be shipped to Rome after conquering. The temple burnt down in 425 and unfortunately, the statue went with it.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The World’s very first mausoleum was the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, an over ground tomb that was built for a satrap of the Persian Empire called Mausolus. It was from this tomb that we have the word Mausoleum, this tomb was sculpted by Greek architects and made up one of the World’s Ancient Seven Wonders, it was situated in what we now know as Bodrum in. Around 45 meters in height, the tomb was adorned with relics on all four sides. The tomb was destroyed by earthquakes that took place in the 12th and the 15th Centuries.
Colossus of Rhodes
This impressive feat of human engineering was a statue dedicated to the Greek Sun God, Helios, it was built in 280 BC after a victory over Cyprus and stood at the entrance to the harbor of Rhodes. The statue has one foot on either side of the entrance and ships would pass below it. The 30 meter tall, bronze statue unfortunately only stood for 54 years before it was destroyed by an earthquake.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Between 280 and 247 BC, a 137 meter lighthouse was built in the port of Alexendria in Pharos, Egypt. This was one of the longest standing wonders in the World but finally succumbed in 1323 after surviving no less than 3 earthquakes. The stones from the ruin of the lighthouse were used to commence construction on the Citadel of Qaitbay in 1423. Remains have since been discovered near the site in the Mediterranean Sea.
Whilst the majority of these incredible man-made wonders may not be able to be seen anymore, there is lots of artwork depicting them and you can still visit the sites and see remnants of the structures in museums around the World.
Only the Pyramids in Egypt are still around today but you can still visit the sites of the other 6, which is a pretty cool list to try to tick off. Turkey is an awesome country to backpack in and one which I plan to spend a while trotting around when I get there next year.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus used to be an impressive 135 feet high white marble construction which would have rivaled the beauty of the Taj Mahal (wow!) but alas it was destroyed by an earthquake and now only the foundations are visible. Ready for a bit of trivia to impress your mates? It was built as a tomb for Mausolus, and since then due to the fame of the amazing building, ‘mausoleum’ has become the word which we know today thanks to this ancient wonder, pretty cool huh!
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