The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a list of remarkable constructions of classical antiquity. The list, which was first compiled by Antipater of Sidon, a poet of the second century BC, consists of the following architectural and engineering masterpieces:
- Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Iraq
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Turkey
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece
- Colossus of Rhodes, Greece
- Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Turkey
These monuments were recognized as the most impressive constructions of the time and were considered the pinnacle of architectural and engineering achievement. Some of these constructions do not exist anymore, however, their ruins and remains are still able to amaze people. The Great Pyramid of Giza, which is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still stands, is considered one of the most iconic and recognizable architectural structures in the world.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is an ancient Egyptian pyramid located in Giza, Egypt. It was built as a tomb for the Pharaoh Khufu and was the largest pyramid in the world for over 3,800 years. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is the oldest of the remaining structures. The pyramid is made of limestone and stands 146 meters (481 feet) tall. It is estimated to have been built around 2560 BCE and remains one of the most impressive feats of ancient architecture and engineering.
A pyramid is a three-dimensional structure with a base that is a polygon and triangular faces that converge at a point, known as the apex. Pyramids were built by many ancient civilizations, including the ancient Egyptians, Maya, and Aztecs, as tombs for their rulers or as temples dedicated to their gods. The most famous pyramids are the pyramids of ancient Egypt, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built around 2500 BCE and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Pyramids have also been used for various purposes throughout history, such as astronomical observatories and fortifications.
Egyptian tombs were structures built by the ancient Egyptians to protect and preserve the mummified remains of their deceased. They were usually located in the desert and could be found in various forms, including mastabas, pyramids, and rock-cut tombs. The most famous Egyptian tombs are the pyramids of Giza, including the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built for Pharaoh Khufu and was the largest pyramid in the world for over 3,800 years. The interior of the pyramids was filled with elaborate decorations and burial goods, including furniture, jewellery, and food offerings, to ensure the comfort and well-being of the deceased in the afterlife. The walls of the tombs were also covered with inscriptions and paintings that depicted the life and achievements of the deceased and offered prayers and spells to help them navigate the afterlife.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. As they known for their beauty and engineering. They were allegedly built by King Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon. Located near modern-day Hillah, Iraq. He built it for his wife Queen Amytis, who missed the greenery of her homeland in the Media. The Hanging Gardens were a series of terraces with trees, shrubs, and flowers. And also said to have been built on top of a building or tower.
Water was brought to the gardens through a complex system of pumps and channels. And the terraces had suspended by chains or ropes, giving the gardens the appearance of floating in mid-air. The exact location and design of the Hanging Gardens unknown. And, there no archaeological evidence of their existence. So their existence is largely based on legend and descriptions from ancient writers.
Babylon was an ancient city located in modern-day Iraq, near the city of Hillah. It was one of the most important cities in Mesopotamia. And, it was the capital of several empires, including the Babylonian Empire. The city was renowned for its cultural, commercial, and political achievements. And known for its architectural wonders, including the Hanging Gardens which were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Babylon was also known for its libraries and its contributions to science, mathematics, and astronomy. The city was sacked by the Persians in 539 BCE, and much of its former splendour was lost. Today, the ruins of Babylon are a popular tourist destination and a symbol of the city’s ancient heritage.
Existence of the Hanging Gardens
There is limited physical evidence for the existence of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The gardens are described by ancient Greek and Roman writers, such as Strabo and Diodorus Siculus. But there is no direct archaeological evidence for their existence. The lack of concrete evidence has led some historians to question whether the Hanging Gardens were a real historical site or a creation of a legend. However, the descriptions of the Hanging Gardens in ancient texts, combined with the fact that the ancient city of Babylon was known for its architectural achievements, have led many to believe that the Hanging Gardens were a real structure. The search for physical evidence of the Hanging Gardens continues, and ongoing archaeological work in Babylon may provide new insights into this ancient wonder.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis and was located in the ancient city of Ephesus, near modern-day Selçuk, Turkey. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was renowned for its size and beauty. The temple was built in the 6th century BCE and was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The final version of the temple, built in the 3rd century BCE, was made of marble and was considered one of the largest and most beautiful temples in the ancient world. The temple was eventually destroyed by a mob in 401 CE and its ruins have been excavated and studied by archaeologists. Today, only fragments of the temple remain, but it continues to be a significant historical and cultural site.
Artemis – Goddess of Hunt
Artemis was a goddess in ancient Greek religion and mythology. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and was often depicted as a huntress and protector of the wilderness and animals. Artemis was the goddess of the hunt, wilderness, childbirth, and virginity. She was also associated with the moon and was sometimes referred to as the “Lady of the Silver Bow.” Artemis was widely worshipped throughout Greece, and her cult was especially strong in the city of Ephesus, where one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, was built in her honour. In classical art, Artemis was often depicted with a bow and arrows and was considered a model of independence, strength, and grace.
Ephesus – Present-day Turkey
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city located on the western coast of present-day Turkey. It was one of the largest and most important cities in the ancient world and was known for its commercial, cultural, and political achievements. The city was a centre of trade and commerce and was known for its well-preserved ruins of temples, public buildings, and streets. Ephesus was also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, which was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. The city was the centre of the early Christian Church, and it was the site of several early Christian councils and the final resting place of the Virgin Mary. Today, Ephesus is a popular tourist destination and a significant historical site, attracting visitors from around the world to explore its rich history and cultural heritage.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was a statue of the Greek god Zeus and was located in the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. The statue was created by the famous Greek sculptor Phidias and was considered one of the largest and most magnificent works of ancient Greek art. The statue depicted Zeus seated on a throne, wearing robes and a crown of olive leaves. It was said to be over 40 feet tall and was made of ivory and gold. The statue was considered a masterpiece of ancient Greek sculpture and was widely renowned for its beauty and craftsmanship. Today, the statue no longer exists, and its exact appearance is known only through ancient descriptions and representations in surviving works of art.
Olympia was an ancient Greek sanctuary located in western Greece, in the region of Elis. It was the site of the Olympic Games, one of the most important religious and athletic festivals in ancient Greece. The Olympic Games were held every four years in honour of Zeus and were a major cultural and political event. Olympia was also the site of the Temple of Zeus, which housed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the statue of Zeus created by the famous Greek sculptor Phidias. In addition to the Olympic Games and the Temple of Zeus, Olympia was also home to other important religious and cultural structures, including a theatre, a stadium, and various temples dedicated to other gods. Today, the ruins of ancient Olympia are a popular tourist destination and a significant historical site, attracting visitors from around the world to explore its rich cultural heritage.
Greek sculptor Phidias
Phidias was a Greek sculptor who lived in the 5th century BCE. He was one of the most famous and influential sculptors of ancient Greece and is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. Phidias was born in Athens and was active during the height of the Athenian Empire. He was best known for his large-scale statues of gods and heroes, which were created for the Parthenon and other important temples in Athens. He was also the creator of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the statue of Zeus in the Temple of Zeus in Olympia. Phidias was renowned for his technical skill, creativity, and attention to detail, and his works were considered masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture. Today, many of his works are lost, but his legacy continues to inspire artists and art lovers around the world.
Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios and was located on the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea. The statue was created to celebrate the island’s victory over invading forces and was said to be over 100 feet tall, making it one of the largest statues in the ancient world. The Colossus was made of bronze and stood at the entrance to the harbour of Rhodes, where it served as a symbol of the island’s wealth and power. The statue was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BCE, and its remains lay on the ground for over 800 years before they were eventually melted down and reused.
Today, the exact appearance of the Colossus is known only through ancient descriptions and representations in surviving works of art. Despite its destruction, the Colossus remains an important symbol of the achievements of ancient Greek art and engineering.
Helios was the ancient Greek god of the sun. He was considered the personification of the sun and was often depicted as a handsome young man driving a chariot across the sky. Helios was believed to be the source of all life, light, and warmth and was worshipped as a powerful and benevolent deity. He was especially important to sailors, as he was believed to guide their ships safely across the seas. Helios was also associated with the spring and summer months, and his annual journey across the sky was seen as a symbol of the changing seasons.
In ancient Greek mythology, Helios was the son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia and was often depicted as a brother or father of the moon-goddess Selene and the dawn-goddess Eos. Despite his important role in Greek mythology and religion, Helios was not one of the major gods of the pantheon, and his worship was limited mainly to the eastern Mediterranean.
The Aegean Sea is a body of water located in the eastern Mediterranean. It is surrounded by Greece to the east, Turkey to the west, and several Greek and Turkish islands along its coasts. The Aegean Sea has a rich and diverse cultural history, and it has played a significant role in the development of civilizations such as the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the ancient Greeks. It was a major centre of trade and commerce and was also a site of frequent conflict and war between the various city-states and empires that dominated the region over the centuries. Today, the Aegean Sea is a popular tourist destination, known for its clear waters, beautiful beaches, and rich cultural heritage. It is also an important fishing ground and a major source of oil and natural gas for Greece and Turkey.
Lighthouse at Alexandria
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was a massive tower located on the island of Pharos at the entrance to the harbour of Alexandria, Egypt. The lighthouse was built in the 3rd century BCE and was one of the tallest buildings in the ancient world, reaching a height of over 400 feet. It served as a navigational aid for ships entering the harbour and was also used as a symbol of the wealth and power of the city of Alexandria. The lighthouse was equipped with a fire that burned at the top of the tower to guide ships, and it was considered a marvel of ancient engineering and architecture.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was destroyed by earthquakes in the 14th century and its ruins have since disappeared, but its legacy lives on as an iconic symbol of the achievements of ancient Egyptian technology and engineering.
Alexandria was an ancient city located in northern Egypt along the Mediterranean coast. It was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BCE and quickly became one of the most important cities in the ancient world. Alexandria was known for its wealth, culture, and intellectual achievements, and it was a centre of trade, commerce, and learning. The city was home to a famous library, the Library of Alexandria, which was one of the largest and most comprehensive libraries of the ancient world. It was also the birthplace of several famous scholars and scientists, including the mathematician Euclid, the astronomer Hipparchus, and the physician Galen.
Alexandria was a major centre of early Christianity, and the city was the site of several important Christian councils in the 4th and 5th centuries. Today, Alexandria is a modern city with a rich cultural heritage, and its ancient sites, including the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa and Pompey’s Pillar, remain popular tourist attractions.
Island of Pharos
The island of Pharos was located in the harbour of Alexandria, Egypt. It was the site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The lighthouse was built on the island in the 3rd century BCE and was used as a navigational aid for ships entering the harbour. The lighthouse was also a symbol of the wealth and power of the city of Alexandria and was considered a marvel of ancient engineering and architecture. Over time, the island of Pharos became attached to the mainland and was eventually absorbed into the growing city.
Today, the exact location of the island of Pharos is uncertain, and the lighthouse and much of its remains have been lost to the sea and to centuries of urban development. However, the legacy of the Lighthouse of Alexandria lives on as an iconic symbol of the achievements of ancient Egyptian technology and engineering.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built in the ancient city of Halicarnassus (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap (governor) of the Persian Empire, and his wife Artemisia. It was built in the 4th century BCE and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Mausoleum was a massive tomb and was considered one of the greatest architectural achievements of the ancient world. It was a four-story structure with a massive stepped pyramid as its base, topped by a statue-filled colonnade and a pyramid roof.
The tomb was adorned with ornate sculptures and carvings, including reliefs depicting scenes from Greek mythology. After the fall of the Persian Empire, the Mausoleum was lost to the sea, and its remains were eventually covered by sediment and buried. Today, only fragments of the Mausoleum remain, but its legacy lives on as an iconic symbol of the achievements of ancient Greek architecture and engineering.
The Persian Empire was a major empire in ancient times that existed from 550 BC to 330 BC. It was founded by Cyrus the Great and covered three continents, including parts of modern-day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. The Persian Empire was known for its vast size, military conquests, cultural diversity, and achievements in the arts, architecture, and governance. It was ruled by a monarchy, with a complex bureaucracy and the use of a standardized language and coinage system, which helped to unify the empire. The Persian Empire had a profound influence on the ancient world and continues to impact modern-day politics and culture in the Middle East.