The Original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are the first known list of the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity; it was based on guidebooks popular among Hellenic sightseers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it represented perfection and plenty, and because it was the number of the five planets known anciently, plus the sun and moon.
The Original Seven Wonders are listed below with a brief description:
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are traditionally said to have been built in the ancient city of Babylon, near present-day Hillah, Babil province, in Iraq. The Babylonian priest Berossus, writing in about 290 BC and quoted later by Josephus, attributed the gardens to the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled between 605 and 562 BC. There are no extant Babylonian texts which mention the gardens, and no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon.
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a giant seated figure, about 42 ft (13 m) tall, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus there. A sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels over a wooden framework, it represented the god Zeus sitting on an elaborate cedar wood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones. Eventually it was destroyed or lost during the 5th century and no copy of the statue has ever been found, and details of its form are known only from ancient Greek descriptions and representations on coins.
The Temple of Artemis, also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. It was located in Ephesus(near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey), and was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction in 401 BC. Only foundations and sculptural fragments of the latest of the temples at the site remain.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, who was both his wife and his sister. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene and was approximately 45 m (148 ft) in height, and the four sides were adorned with sculptural reliefs, each created by one of four Greek sculptors Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus. It was destroyed by successive earthquakes from the 12th to the 15th century. The word mausoleum has now come to be used generically for an above-ground tomb.
The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name, by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over the ruler of Cyprus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, whose son unsuccessfully besieged Rhodes in 305 BC. Before its destruction in the earthquake of 226 BC, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 metres (98 feet) high, making it one of the tallest statues.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, sometimes called the Pharos of Alexandria was a tower built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 BC which was between 393 and 450 ft (120 and 137 m) tall. It was one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for many centuries. Badly damaged by three earthquakes between 956 and 1323, it then became an abandoned ruin. Finally, the last remnants disappeared in 1480 AD, when the then-Sultan of Egypt, Qaitbay, built a medieval fort on the larger platform of the site using the fallen stones. 1994, French archaeologists discovered some remains of the lighthouse on the floor of Alexandria’s Eastern Harbour.