The stunning works of art and architecture, known as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, testify to the ingenuity, imagination, and hard work that humans can do. However, they also remind people of the ability to differ, destroy and even beautify human beings. Once ancient writers compiled a list of the “Seven Wonders of the World”, it became a topic of debate about which achievements are worth including. The original list is from Byzantine Philo’s work in 225 BC. known as the Seven Wonders. In the end, human hands and natural forces joined forces to destroy all but one miracle. Moreover, it is possible that at least one of these miracles does not exist at all. Nonetheless, the Seven are still a source of inspiration and are hailed as the extraordinary product of the creativity and skills of early earth civilizations.
Located in Giza on the west bank of the Nile River north of Cairo, Egypt, the Great Pyramid is the only miracle that has survived in the ancient world. It is part of a set of three pyramids- Khufu (Cheops), Khafra (Chephren), and Menkaura (Mycerimus)–-built between 2700 BC. It was used as a royal tomb in 2500 BC. The largest and most impressive is Khufu, known as the “Great Pyramid”, covering 13 acres and believed to contain more than 2 million stones weighing 2 to 30 tons. For more than 4,000 years, Khufu has been the tallest building in the world. In fact, it was not until the 19th century that modern humans built higher structures.
Surprisingly, the almost symmetrical Egyptian pyramids were built without the use of modern tools or measuring equipment. So, how did the Egyptians build the pyramids? Scholars believe that the Egyptians used wooden rollers and sleds to move the stones into place. The sloping walls designed to imitate the rays of the sun god Ra were originally built as steps and then filled with limestone. The interior of the pyramid included narrow corridors and hidden rooms but failed to stop the tomb robbers. Although modern archaeologists have found some huge treasures in the ruins, they believe that most of the things once contained in the pyramid were looted within 250 years of being built.
According to ancient Greek poets, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II near the Euphrates River in present-day Iraq around 600 BC. It is said that these gardens were planted on a huge square brick terrace, 75 feet high, with steps like a stage. It is said that the king built the towering garden to alleviate the homesickness of his lover Amity because her home in Media (now northwestern Iran) has natural beauty. Later writers described how people walked under beautiful gardens, which were located on tall stone pillars.
Modern scholars have come to the conclusion that for the garden to survive, it must be irrigated with a system of pumps, water wheels, and water tanks in order to transport water from the Euphrates River into the air several feet high. Although there are multiple accounts of gardens in Greek and Roman literature, none of them are direct, and there is no mention of gardens in the Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions. Therefore, most modern scholars believe that the existence of the garden is part of an inspiring and well-known but still fictional story.
The famous statue of Zeus, the king of gods in Greek mythology, was made by the Athenian sculptor Phidias. It was completed around the middle of the fifth century BC and placed in the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, where the ancient Olympic Games were held. The statue depicts the god of thunder sitting Topless on the wooden throne. On the armrests of the throne are two sphinxes. These are mythological creatures. They have the head and chest of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of a bird.
The statue of Zeus is rich in gold and ivory. It is 40 feet high, and its head almost touches the top of the temple. According to legend, the sculptor Phidias asked Zeus for verification after completing the statue; soon, lightning struck the temple. In the 4th century AD, before the Christian priest persuaded the Roman emperor to close the temple, a statue of Zeus carved the temple in Olympia for more than 8 centuries. At that time, the statue was moved to a temple in Constantinople, where it is believed to have been there. It was destroyed by a fire in 462.
Artemis actually had more than one temple: a series of altars and temples were destroyed and then rebuilt at the same location in Ephesus (Greek port city on the west coast of modern Turkey). The most impressive of these buildings are the two marble temples built around 550 BC. And 350 BC, respectively. The writer Antipater of Sidon wrote of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus: “Except for Mount Olympus, the sun has never seen anything so magnificent.
The original Temple of Artemis was designed by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes and decorated by some of the most famous artists in the ancient world. This building was burned down on July 21, 356 BC, according to legend, on the same night that Alexander the Great was born. It was burned by a Greek citizen named Herostratus, who claimed to burn down the miracle so that his name would be known throughout history. He was executed, and the government declared it illegal to speak his name.
About six years later, the construction of the new Temple of Artemis began. The new building is surrounded by marble steps leading to a 400-foot balcony. Inside are 127 60-foot-high marble columns and a statue of Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting. Archaeologists have different opinions on whether the building has an open roof or shingles. The temple was mostly destroyed by the Ostrogoths in 262 AD, and it was not until the 1860s that archaeologists excavated the first ruins of temple pillars at the bottom of the Castel River.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is located in what is now southeastern Turkey. It was built by Artemisia for her husband, Mausolus, King of Carnia of Asia Minor, after his death in 353 BC. Mausolus was also the younger brother of Artemisia. According to legend, she felt very sad about his death. In addition to ordering the construction of the temple, she also mixed his ashes with water for drinking.
This huge temple was built entirely of white marble and is believed to be about 135 feet tall. The complex design of the building consisting of three-story rectangles may be to harmonize the architectural styles of Lycian, Greek, and Egyptian. The first floor is a 60-foot-high base, followed by a middle floor composed of 36 ionic columns and a pyramid-shaped stepped roof. At the top of the roof, the tomb is decorated with the works of four sculptors and a 20-foot high marble display with four carriages. The temple was mostly destroyed in an earthquake in the 13th century, and its remains were later used to reinforce the castle. In 1846, a fragment of one of the mausoleum ribbons was excavated from the castle, and other artifacts have now been found in the Halicarnassus site at the British Museum in London.
The Colossus of Rhodes is a huge bronze statue of the sun god Helios, built by Rhodes in the 3rd century BC for 12 years. The city was the target of the Macedonian siege in the early 4th century BC. According to legend, the Rhodes sold the tools and equipment left by the Macedonians to pay for the giants. Designed by the sculptor Charisse, this statue is 100 feet tall and is the tallest statue in the ancient world.
It was completed around 280 BC. And stayed for sixty years, until it collapsed in the earthquake. It has not been rebuilt. Hundreds of years later, the Arabs conquered Rhode Island and sold the remains of the statue as scrap metal. For this reason, archaeologists know very little about the exact location of the statue or what it looks like. Most people believe it depicts the sun god standing naked, holding a torch in one hand and a spear in the other. It was once thought that one leg of the statue stood on each side of the port, but most scholars now agree that the legs of the statue may be close enough to support its huge weight.
The Alexandria Lighthouse is located on a small island called Faros near the city of Alexandria. Designed by the Greek architect Sostratos, it was completed around 270 BC. During the reign of Ptolemy II, the lighthouse helped guide Nile ships in and out of the city’s busy ports. Archaeologists discovered the ancient coin depicting the lighthouse and concluded that the structure consists of three layers: a square plane at the bottom, an octagonal plane at the middle, and a cylindrical top at the top.
In addition, there is a 16-foot tall statue, most likely a statue of Ptolemy II or Alexander the Great, the city is named after them. Although the height of the lighthouse is estimated to be between 200 and 600 feet, most modern scholars believe that it is 380 feet high. The lighthouse was gradually destroyed in a series of earthquakes from 956 to 1323. Since then, some of its remains have been found at the bottom of the Nile River.