There is no better example of humankind’s incredible skills of ingenuity, imagination, and hard work than the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Ironically, these same structures are also a reflection of how volatile the human temperament can be at times. This is because these wonders also demonstrate how we humans love to glorify our egos, and how we are willing to destroy one another.
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When scholars from ancient times collaborated to select these seven wonders, there were furious debates as to which accomplishments should be acknowledged. After much haggling, they finally decided on the permanent list.
Ultimately in the end, along with the forces of nature, it was humans that destroyed and demolished six of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Some people think that a few of these wonders are mythical and maybe didn’t exist at all. Despite this, the seven ancient world wonders continue to inspire millions as incredible accomplishments from the oldest societies on Earth.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Babylon’s notorious Hanging Gardens was built sometime around 600 BC. The writings of Herodotus stated that its magnificent walls stretched for 56 miles, were 80 feet thick, and stood 320 feet tall. It is believed that the gardens were destroyed by an earthquake during the first century BCE.
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This is one of the wonders that some question ever existed at all. This was because history wasn’t recorded in documents from Babylonia — only through external sources. Other ancient records indicate that the gardens were constructed by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia as a gift for his wife.
Experts believe the Hanging Gardens were likely built as massive rooftop gardens with numerous foundations of terraces. Using column structures, these were probably filled with dirt sufficient enough to grow trees and other plants. When all the vegetation grew and flourished over the sides of this structure for many years, it looked as if these beautiful hanging plants were floating throughout a stunning mountain landscape.
Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramid in Egypt was commissioned and built by Pharaoh Khufu. It remains one of the oldest structures on the planet today. This amazing structure is over 450 ft. high and is approximately 4500 years old. It is not only the largest of all ancient pyramids, but it is also the oldest.
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Both scholars and engineers have been baffled for centuries as to how it was constructed. It consists of some 2 million stone blocks, with each block weighing anywhere from 2 to 30 tons. The Great Pyramid is the only known ancient wonder in existence today.
In 2013, an ancient document was discovered by archaeologists that had originated from the same period during which the pyramid was under construction. These documents were logbooks that recorded the daily activities of the ancient pyramid workers. The log described how limestone was transported from a harbor that was located nearby.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece
It was the year 435 BCE when the Statue of Zeus was sculpted and built-in Greece. It was approximately 40 feet high and stood for many centuries until Christians destroyed it in the 5th and 6th centuries.
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The statue consisted of ivory and gold. Unfortunately, there are no remnants of the statute that have been found, nor have many depictions been discovered either. While there are a few doubts about its existence, there is plenty of history about Phidias, who was its builder and a very famous Athenian sculptor.
The Statue of Zeus was sculpted within a temple located in Olympia, Greece. Olympia was considered a popular cultural center during those times in ancient Greece. This was also the place where the first Olympic Games took place, and its major deity was the powerful Zeus, who happened to be the God of all Gods.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The amazing Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was built in the year 351 BCE. It stood around 135 feet. The reason for this mausoleum to become an ancient wonder was not because of its size or strength, rather it was added due to its sophistication and astonishing art forms that existed on its walls.
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This awesome structure was built and created by Greek architects along with four sculptors. Each of these sculptors was assigned one of the four walls. There were a total of 36 columns along with 10 foot high statues of Greeks as they battled Amazons.
There were also marble chariots that were pointed to the pinnacle of this artful wonder. Unlike most of the other ancient wonders, there are pieces of art from this structure that survived and still exist today. Sadly, earthquakes badly damaged the mausoleum over time, and then European Crusaders destroyed it in 1494.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
It is believed that the Temple of Artemis was under construction for 120 years before it was finally completed in the year 550 BCE. The structure was devoted to the Greek Goddess, Artemis. It was originally commissioned by King Croesus of Lydia to be built in Ephesus, which was a Greek Colony that existed in Asia Minor. Historians took notice of how ancient records describe the beauty and power of this temple.
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The temple is supported by 127 columns that were 60 feet high. The temple’s height reaches a peak of 425 feet and falls back to around 225 feet.
A man called Herostratus tried to burn down the temple during the year 356 BCE. He wanted to become famous by destroying something well known. The Ephesians attempted to seal his name from history, but despite these attempts, the ancient historians logged it anyway. Some years after that, Alexander the Great offered to rebuild this amazing temple, but the Ephesians refused this generous offer.
Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt
The Lighthouse at Alexandria was seen as perhaps an ancient skyscraper. It was among the tallest buildings in the known world for many centuries — only the Great Pyramid stood taller. It stood about 440 feet from the 3rd century BCE until 1300 AD. It was commissioned by Ptolemy I Soter and was built on the island of Pharos.
After construction in 280 BCE, it immediately became an important fixture for ancient sailors and navigators. The lighthouse was visible as far away as 35 miles because of its massive mirror. Ships depended on this lighthouse for sailing through the water around Pharos.
It was built upon a square base and had a circular design on the top. Historical records have provided numerous depictions of this great wonder.
Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was an incredible statue that was dedicated to the god Helios. It was constructed sometime between the years 280 and 292 BCE. It stood 110 feet and overlooked the harbor of Rhodes. Its structure was somewhat similar to the Statue of Liberty as it also rested on a sturdy base.
The commission for the statute was the result of an invasion of Rhodes that had occurred during the year 304 BCE. Unfortunately, the Colossus of Rhodes only stood for 56 years before it was demolished by an earthquake.
The statue was made entirely from bronze. The remains of the statute was a popular attraction for some 800 years after its destruction. Ancient records indicate that even the statute’s fingers were larger than most other statues that existed at that time. Finally, what remained of the Colossus of Rhodes was sold in the year 654 to a Jewish merchant.