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Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Examples of outstanding items of classical architecture and human accomplishment are the seven wonders of the ancient world. The very first compilation of the 7 ancient wonders of the world goes all the way back to the first or second century BC, when Hellenic travelers served as a kind of travel guide. The list assembled by ancient scholars, comprises the most impressive centerpieces of fantastic architecture and construction and shows the ancient world’s inventiveness, imaginative ability, and absolute dedication.

All but one of these historical landmarks is now wasted. As the last physical piece of evidence of the original seven, the Great Pyramid of Giza stands alone the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Zeus Statue, and the Temple of Artemis have all been lost. The Hanging Gardens’ exact location and origins of these famous landmarks around the world are unclear, and there is some dispute over if they ever even existed at all. The seven ancient wonders of the world were:

The Lighthouse at Alexandria (Egypt)

The Lighthouse at Alexandria (Egypt)

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was located near to the town on the small island of Pharos. It was designed by Sostratus, the Greek engineer, and completed about 280 BC. It was intended to direct ships down the Nile during the reign of Ptolemy II. In an earthquake in 956 and again in 1303 and 1323, it was badly affected. By the year 1480, while fragments of the original were located at the bottom of the Nile, it was no more.

With a cylindrical framework at the peak, the lighthouse rose from a square base to a central octagonal portion and its light could be observed 35 miles out to sea. It is believed the pyramids were the only contemporary buildings taller than the lighthouse. There were no terms to explain its greatness, stated those who witnessed the lighthouse.

The Qaitbay Egyptian Citadel now sits on the site and has been partially constructed from the original foundation of stones. The lighthouse was projected to have been somewhere between 200 and 600 feet (60 to 180 meters) high but fresh exploration proposes that this one of the famous landmarks in the world was possibly closer to 380 feet (116 meters).

The Colossus of Rhodes (Greece)

The Colossus of Rhodes (Greece)

The Colossus of Rhodes was a massive bronze model constructed between 292 and 280 BC by the sun-god Helios (the great god of the island of Rhodes). It stood at a height of just over 33 meters, overlooking the harbor of Rhodes. Despite famous rumors to the contrary, it rested on a foundation with its legs together to sustain its weight (similar to the Colossus-based Statue of Liberty) and did not straddle the harbor.

The sculpture was commissioned in 304 BC to commemorate Rhodes’s triumph over Demetrius’s invading armies. During his withdrawal, Demetrius left much of his siege materials behind and the money earned from the selling of this weaponry (about US$360 million in today’s money) was used to construct the Colossus. This is one of the 7 man-made wonders of the world.

The citizens of Rhodes spent more than 12 years building the Colossus in the third century BC. Crafted by the sculptor Chares, it reached 100 feet (30 meters) tall, rendering it the tallest statue in the ancient world. The statue, one of the wonders of the ancient world, was completed sometime in 280 BC and lasted just 56 years until it was demolished in 226 BC by an earthquake. As per the historian Strabo, it was in ruins for more than 800 years. When several years later, the Arabs invaded Rhodes, they traded the leftover pieces of the majestic statue as scrap metal. Because of this, very little is documented about the exact position or position of the statue. Many people assume that Helios is represented as standing nude and with one hand raising a light and carrying a lance in the other.

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The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Greece)

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Greece

The construction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was sponsored by the wealthy King of Lydia, Croesus, who spared no cost for everything he did (among others, as suggested by the historian Herodotus). Various ancient historians also praised the greatness of the sanctuary, all agreeing that it was one of the most famous monuments in the world ever constructed. Building the temple took over 120 years, but it took just a single night to demolish it. The temple, built in 550 BC, was about 129 meters tall, 69 meters wide, and backed by 127 columns eighteen meters high.

There was more than one Temple of Artemis, in fact. In Ephesus, a Greek port city on the western coast of modern-day Turkey, a number of holy places and sanctuaries were destroyed and restored on the same site. Two marble sanctuaries, constructed around 550 BC and 350 BC respectively, were the most impressive of these buildings. On July 21, 356 BC, to gain attention for damaging something so beautiful, a man called Herostratus set fire to the sanctuary.

The Ephesians stated that his name should not be registered nor remembered, but when explaining the history of the structure, Strabo listed him. It is stated that on the night that the temple burnt, Alexander the Great was born and he later offered to rebuild this, one of the old 7 wonders of the world, an offer that the Ephesians refused. After Alexander’s death, it was restored on a more modest scale, but was devastated again by the invasion of the Goths. After being restored once again, Christians led by Saint John Chrysostom in 401 AD eventually ruined it for good.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Turkey)

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Turkey)

The next wonder among the 7 famous monuments of the world is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, located in the south-eastern part of present-day Turkey, which was a tomb constructed by Artemisia for her husband, Mausolus, the emperor of Carnia, after his death in 353 BC. The goal was to construct a structure whose greatness on the earth would be unparalleled. The enormous catacomb was entirely made of white marble and is estimated to be 135 feet (41 meters) high. The complex plan of the house, consisting of three layers in a rectangular shape, is thought to have combined Lycian, Egyptian, and Greek styles of architecture.

The main layer consisted of steps with a base of 60 feet, accompanied by a central layer consisting of 36 parts and a roof shaped like a pyramid. The tomb, built by four stone masons, and a marble chariot with four horses weighing 20 feet each were at the top of the roof. At that time, it was considered one of the 7 architectural wonders of the world.

It was ruined by a series of earthquakes and lay in ruins for several years before the site was cleared and used as their fortress at Bodrum (where the old stones can still be seen today) in 1494 AD by the knights of St John of Malta. The English word “mausoleum” comes from the tomb of Mauslos. In 1846, fragments of one of the friezes of the tomb were unearthed and are now stored along with other artefacts from Halicarnassus in London’s British Museum.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Iraq)

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Iraq)

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world, is believed from ancient Greek texts that Babylon’s Hanging Gardens were similar to the Euphrates in modern-day Iraq and were designed for his wife, Amytis of Media, by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar II between 605 and 562 BC. The ancient author Diodorus Siculus describes them as self-watering planes of colourful greenery, through a succession of ascending terraces, reaching a height of more than 23 meters. Diodorus states that the wife of Nebuchadnezzar missed her homeland’s mountains and forests, and so the emperor proclaimed that in Babylon a mountain should be built for her.

The debate about whether the gardens really existed stems from the fact that in Babylonian literature they are not stated at all and Herodotus, the “Father of History,” does not discuss them in any of his explanations of Babylon either. Nevertheless, several other excellently facts, figures, and locations in history are also omitted by Herodotus. This monument enjoyed the reputation of being one of the top landmarks in the world.

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece)

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece)

The internationally renowned statue of Zeus was made by the Athenian sculptor Phidias and built around the middle of the fifth century BC in the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, the site of the early Olympics. In the fifth century BC, Phidias was the ancient world’s finest artist who also operated on the Parthenon and the statue of Athena that can be located there.

It stands 12 meters tall and was built for those who toured the temple to encourage this one of the famous landmarks to visit. The statue depicted the divine power of thunder sitting in a place of power with a bare chest. Two carved sphinxes, which are mythical creatures with women’s chests and heads, wings of birds, and bodies of lions, serve as armrests of the god.

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The Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)

The Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the only one among the wonders of the ancient world that still remains, was constructed about 2584 to 2561 BC for the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu (referred to in Greek as Cheops) and for only around 4,000 years was the highest manmade construct on the earth. It is located close to Cairo and the Nile in the north of the country. Between around 2700 BC and 2500 BC, the three pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure were constructed and acted as majestic tombs for the pharaohs.

Khufu’s pyramid, the highest and most amazing pyramid, occupies about 13 acres of land and is estimated to comprise more than two million blocks of stone weighing between 4,000 and 60,000 pounds (2 to 30 tons) each, and it took everyone until the 19th century to construct something taller. Amazingly, without the use of modern technology or construction instruments, the pyramids, monuments of the world, were built and it is assumed that the Egyptians utilized sledges and rollers made of logs to move large stones and boulders. Besides enjoying the reputation of one of the famous historical monuments in the world, it, even today, is considered one of the famous places in the world to tour.

The interiors of the pyramids have small halls and secret chambers in an effort to thwart grave-robbers. While great riches among the ruins of the pyramids were uncovered by present-day archaeologists, many of the possessions were already stolen. In the late 18th and mid-19th centuries, study of the inside of the pyramids only began in earnest and early scholars had little knowledge of their detailed interiors. With its exquisite symmetry and impressive height, it was actually the exterior structure that inspired ancient travelers.

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