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What Are the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World

First up, don’t make the same mistake as me! Don’t confuse the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World with the ‘7 Wonders of the World’. It’s easy to do.

So to confirm: The ‘7 wonders of the world’ are also known as:

However, the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World are something entirely different. And only of them still exists today, the Pyramids of Giza. 

The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World date back millennia. Whereas the 7 wonders of the world date back ‘just’ centuries. The Ancient Wonders are a series of feats of majestic human brilliance which exist throughout the Ancient World. The first list of these man-made achievements came from ancient Greece. Because of this most are centred on structures around the rim of the Mediterranean.

Why 7 wonders?

The Greeks selected the number seven as it was seen to be a number that represented perfection amongst Hellenic scholars and astronomers. So, let us take a look then at the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

THE LAST ANCIENT WONDER OF THE WORLD STILL STANDING! Read: How To Spent 3 Days In Cairo HERE. (go to the Pyramids 1st thing in the morning to avoid the crowds!)

What are The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World? 

Great Pyramid of Giza

If you had hopes of traveling the world to see some of the ancient wonders then, unfortunately, the Great Pyramid of Giza is 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.

The pyramid was actually the tallest man-made building in the World for some 3,500 years (at 146 meters tall). But the Lincoln Cathedral stole the title a few millennia later. Some of the structure’s facade has been lost as a result of decay throughout the ages. But it’s still standing strong, all things considered! Moreover, thankfully, you can still visit the Pyramids of Giza when you spend 2 or 3 days in Cairo. It’s quite a sight.

Pyramids of Giza during my tours to Socotra, Yemen last year!

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 scholars state that the gardens were built by the great King Nebuchadnezzar II sometime around 600 BC.

Archaeologists believe the gardens are in present-day Hillah, in Iraq. Which was the centre of ancient Babylon.

Why call them the hanging gardens? Research suggests they were tiered gardens which ascended. This gave the impression that they were hanging out from the mountain.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, at the original Site in Modern Day Iraq. I ran tours to Iraq last year, it was an amazing experience!

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Despite being re-built no less than 3 times, the temple at Ephesus managed to survive and survive. Built in dedication to the Greek god Artemis, eventually, it was lost to war.

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 in the British Museum. And the site itself, in modern-day Turkey, can still be visited too. But there is pretty much nothing there!

What’s left of the Temple of Ephesus, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world

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. With seemingly unlimited budget then, the sculptors use wood, ivory plates, gold panels and precious stones. No expense spared. The statue was so impressive that Caligula requested that it be shipped to Rome after conquering it. The temple burnt down in 425. And unfortunately, the statue went with it.

7 ancient wonders of the world; Statue of Zeus at Mount Olympia

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The World’s very first mausoleum was the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. An overground tomb that was built for a satrap of the Persian Empire called Mausolus. A bit of trivia for you. It was from this tomb that we have the word Mausoleum.

Greek architects sculpted the tomb which makes up one of the World’s Ancient Seven Wonders. The site is located in what we know today as Bodrum in Turkey.

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.

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus used to be an impressive 135 feet high white marble construction. That would have rivalled the beauty of the Taj Mahal in Agra (wow!) but alas it was destroyed by an earthquake. Yet now only the foundations are visible.

Artist’s impression of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Colossus of Rhodes

One of our world’s most impressive feat of human engineering. The state dedicated to Helio, the Greek sun God.

Built in 280 BC after a victory over Cyprus, the Colossus of Rhodes 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.

Impression of the Colossus of Rhodes

Lighthouse of Alexandria

One of the longest standing wonders of the world. Between 280 and 247 BC, a 137-meter lighthouse was built in the port of Alexandria in Pharos, Egypt. We finally lost it in 1323 after surviving no less than 3 earthquakes. On a positive not, the stones from the ruin of the lighthouse were used to commence construction on the Citadel of Qaitbay in 1423. People are still discovering remains in the Mediterranean Sea to this day. Thinking about the age of the work, it’s truly amazing stuff.

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.

Artist’s impression of the Lighthouse of Alexandria

7 Ancient Wonders of the World Map

Where are the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World? Well, they’re all pretty close to each other. Split between modern-day Iraq (X1), Turkey (X2), Greece (X2), and Egypt (X2). Roughly where all the man-made religions began too. Isn’t that a coincidence?

7 Ancient Wonders of the World Map

Simple 7 Ancient Wonders of the World List

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  4. Statue of Zeus at Mount Olympia
  5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

Thoughts on the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World?

People often get confused with the 7 man-made wonders of the world, which is the same as the 7 New Wonders of the world. And also often still referred to as the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. They’re all the same! The 7 Ancient Wonders of the World, however, are different, as listed above. 

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. And Turkey is an awesome country to backpack (especially the hot air balloon in Cappadocia!) in and one which I plan to spend a while trotting around when I get there next year. So you can work your way through them there.

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