Historical wonders of the world

The Historical Wonders of the World is a list of remarkable constructions of classical antiquity given by various authors in guidebooks or poems popular among ancient Hellenic tourists.

Those amazing works of art and architecture serve as a testament to the ingenuity, imagination and sheer hard work of which human beings are capable. Although the list, in its current form, did not stabilize until the Renaissance, the first such lists of seven wonders date from the 2nd–1st century BC. The original list inspired innumerable versions through the ages, often listing seven entries.

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Of the original Seven Wonders, only one—the Great Pyramid of Giza, oldest of the ancient wonders—remains relatively intact. The Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were all destroyed. The location and ultimate fate of the Hanging Gardens are unknown, and there is speculation that they may not have existed at all.

Historical Wonders of the World

Great Pyramid of Giza       Egypt

The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.

Egyptologists conclude that the pyramid was built as a tomb for the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu and estimate that it was built in the 26th century BC during a period of around 27 years.

Initially standing at 481 feet, the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. Throughout history the majority of the smooth white limestone casing was removed, which lowered the pyramid’s height to the present 454.4 feet. What is seen today is the underlying core structure. The base was measured to be about 755.6 square feet, giving a volume of roughly 92 million cubic feet, which includes an internal hillock.

The dimensions of the pyramid were 280 royal cubits ( 481.4 ft) high, a base length of 440 cubits (756.4 ft), with a seked of 5+1/2 palms (a slope of 51°50’40”).

The Great Pyramid was built by quarrying an estimated 2.3 million large blocks weighing 6 million tonnes total. The majority of stones are not uniform in size or shape and are only roughly dressed. The outside layers were bound together by mortar. Primarily local limestone from the Giza Plateau was used. Other blocks were imported by boat down the Nile: White limestone from Tura for the casing, and granite blocks from Aswan, weighing up to 80 tons, for the King’s Chamber structure.

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest was cut into the bedrock, upon which the pyramid was built, but remained unfinished. The so-called Queen’s Chamber and King’s Chamber, that contains a granite sarcophagus, are higher up, within the pyramid structure. Khufu’s vizier, Hemiunu (also called Hemon), is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid. Many varying scientific and alternative hypotheses attempt to explain the exact construction techniques.

The funerary complex around the pyramid consisted of two mortuary temples connected by a causeway (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), tombs for the immediate family and court of Khufu, including three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, an even smaller “satellite pyramid” and five buried solar barges.

Great Pyramid of Giza

Hanging Gardens of Babylon              Hillah or Nineveh, Iraq

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, ancient gardens considered one of the historical wonders of the world and thought to have been located near the royal palace in Babylon. By the beginning of the 21st century, the site of the Hanging Gardens had not yet been conclusively established.
Nevertheless, many theories persisted regarding the structure and location of the gardens. Some researchers proposed that these were rooftop gardens

They were described as a remarkable feat of engineering with an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, resembling a large green mountain constructed of mud bricks.
It was said to have been built in the ancient city of Babylon, near present-day Hillah, Babil province, in Iraq.
The Hanging Gardens are the only one of the Seven Wonders for which the location has not been definitively established. There are no extant Babylonian texts that mention the gardens, and no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon.

The gardens, as depicted in artworks, featured blossoming flowers, ripe fruit, burbling waterfalls and terraces exuberant with rich foliage. Based on Babylonian literature, tradition, and the environmental characteristics of the area, some of the following plants may have been found in the gardens

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus           Near Selçuk, Turkey

The Temple of Artemis or Artemision also known as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to an ancient, local form of the goddess Artemis (associated with Diana, a Roman goddess). It was located in Ephesus (near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey). One of historical wonders of the world, it was completely rebuilt twice, once after a devastating flood and three hundred years later after an act of arson, and in its final form was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. By 401 AD it had been ruined or destroyed. Only foundations and fragments of the last temple remain at the site.

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, a Greek colony in Asia Minor, took over 120 years to build and only one night to destroy. Completed in 550 BCE, the temple was 425 feet long, 225 feet wide, supported by 127 60-foot high columns. Sponsored by the wealthy King Croesus of Lydia, who spared no expense in anything he did (according to Herodotus, among others) the temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis was so magnificent that every account of it attest that it is one of the most amazing structures ever raised by humans. The temple was said to be a fantastic structure made of marble, with gold and silver decoration and the finest art and statuary of the age.

Temple of Artemis   Attribution:

Statue of Zeus at Olympia           Olympia, Greece

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, a great historical wonders of the world, was a giant seated figure, about 41 feet tall, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus there. Zeus is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus.

The statue was a chryselephantine sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels on a wooden framework. Zeus sat on a painted cedarwood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The 2nd-century AD geographer and traveler Pausanias left a detailed description: the statue was crowned with a sculpted wreath of olive sprays and wore a gilded robe made from glass and carved with animals and lilies. Its right hand held a small chryselephantine statue of crowned Nike, goddess of victory; its left a scepter inlaid with many metals, supporting an eagle. The throne featured painted figures and wrought images and was decorated with gold, precious stones, ebony, and ivory. Zeus’ golden sandals rested upon a footstool decorated with an Amazonomachy in relief. The passage underneath the throne was restricted by painted screens

The statue was lost and destroyed during the 5th century AD; details of its form are known only from ancient Greek descriptions and representations on coins.

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus           Bodrum, Turkey

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus, one of the great historical wonders of the world, was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC in Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a native Anatolian from Caria and a satrap in the Achaemenid Empire, and his sister-wife Artemisia II of Caria. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene. Its elevated tomb structure is derived from the tombs of neighbouring Lycia, a territory Mausolus had invaded and annexed circa 360 BC, such as the Nereid Monument.

The Mausoleum was approximately 148 feet 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. The mausoleum was considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that Antipater of Sidon identified it as one of his Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

It was destroyed by successive earthquakes from the 12th to the 15th century, the last surviving of the six destroyed wonders.

An Illustration and Model of Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Colossus of Rhodes Rhodes, Greece

The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name, by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was constructed to celebrate the successful defence of Rhodes city against an attack by Demetrius Poliorcetes, who had besieged it for a year with a large army and navy. According to most contemporary descriptions, the Colossus stood approximately 108 feet high – approximately the height of the modern Statue of Liberty from feet to crown – making it the tallest statue in the ancient world. It collapsed during the earthquake of 226 BC, although parts of it were preserved. In accordance with a certain oracle, the Rhodians did not build it again.
Ancient accounts, which differ to some degree, describe the structure as being built around several stone columns (or towers of blocks) forming the interior of the structure, which stood on a 50-foot-high, white marble pedestal near the Mandraki harbor entrance. Other sources place the Colossus on a breakwater in the harbor.

The statue, one of the historical wonders of the world, was built at the harbor of the entrance to Rhodes. After 12 years, in 280 B.C.E., the statue was completed. During construction, builders would pile mounds of dirt around the sides of the Colossus to aid in construction. To an observer it may have looked like a volcano-like sculpture. Upon completion all of the dirt was moved and the colossus was left to stand alone.

Illustrations of Colossus of Rhodes

Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was a lighthouse built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (280–247 BC). Also known as the Pharos, it had a height estimated at between 383 to 440 feet and was among the tallest man-made structures on Earth for many centuries. Ancient writers identified it as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. At the time, only the Great Pyramid of Giza would have been a taller man-made structure.

The lighthouse was severely damaged by three earthquakes between 956 AD and 1323 and became an abandoned ruin. It was the third-longest surviving ancient wonder (after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the extant Great Pyramid of Giza), surviving in part until 1480, when the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site.

One of the greatest historical wonders of the world, the most famous lighthouse in antiquity was a technological masterpiece of the age and a model for all future lighthouses.

Alexandria was a thriving Greco-Roman city situated on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. Founded by Alexander the Great, it was home to a significant number of Greeks and Jews. It was renowned throughout the ancient world as an international center of culture and learning. Widely known for its lighthouse and library, Egypt’s capital was transferred from Memphis, ancient seat of the pharaohs, to Alexandria in 320 B.C.E.

Reconstruction of the Lighthouse of Alexandria