The Ancient Seven Wonders were first described in 225 BC as a “Themata,” which means ‘things to be seen in Greek and ‘must-sees’ in modern English) in the book ‘The Seven Wonders’ written by Philo of Byzantine. Other writers of the Seven Miracles include archaeologist Herodotus, Antipater of Sidon, and Callimachus of Cyrene.
Their wonderful works of art and architecture can be used as evidence of human creativity, imagination, and sincere effort that they had made. Still, they also remind people of the potential for dissent and destruction and fear of decoration.
How many of the 7 Wonders remain?
The Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is one of the seven ancient wonders left to this day.
Still, all seven wonders continue to inspire and are celebrated as the unique products of Earth’s ancient civilizations’ creativity and skill.
1. Great Pyramid at Giza
|Date of Construction:||2584–2561 BC|
|Date of Destruction:||Still in existence, the majority of the façade gone|
|Cause of Destruction:||Still in existence, the majority of the façade gone|
|Modern Location:||Giza Necropolis, Egypt|
The Great Pyramid of Giza was created from 2584 BC to 2561 BC by the Egyptian Pharaoh Khu (pronounced “Khufu” in Greek) and is the world’s tallest human structure, about 4,000 years. The Giza pyramids’ true emergence began in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, so ancient writers who did not see its inner turmoil were as happy as modern humans. What impresses the ancient visitors is a perfect balance and excellent elevation of its interior walls. This 13-hectare “Great Pyramid” can hold more than 20,000 stone blocks, each weighing between two and 30 tons. Conscience is said to be that the Egyptians used wooden and metal rollers to move the stone into the area. The wall is steep. It was built on the first steps and lined with limestone, simulating the rays of light and the sun god. There are also small corridors and hidden rooms inside the pyramid. Although many attempts were made to destroy its structure, all have been unsuccessful. Today’s Archaeologists have also uncovered a treasure trove of ruins, but they believe that only the temporary pyramids were removed or looted within 250 years.
2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
|Date of Construction:||600 BC (evident)|
|Builders:||Babylonians or Assyrians|
|Date of Destruction:||After the 1st century AD|
|Cause of Destruction:||Unknown|
|Modern Location:||Hillah or Nineveh, Iraq|
Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built by Nebu Gadnezar II as a gift to his wife from 605 to 562 BC. The ancient writer Diodorus Siculus described them as self-watering planes of exotic flora and fauna, over 23 meters (75 feet) high, climbing a series of stairs. Diodorus writes that Nebuchadnezzar’s wife, Amtis of Media, eagerly missed her homeland’s mountains and streams. So, The king ordered Babylon to build a mountain. A controversy arose when the gardens are not mentioned anywhere in Babylonian history, and Herodotus, “the father of history,” was not mentioned in the Babylonian text. However, many ancient facts, figures, and places that Herodotus never mentioned. Diodorus, Philo, and the historian Strabo all show the existence of the garden. But unfortunately, Earthquakes destroyed them after the 1st century AD.
3. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
|Date of Construction:||466–456 BC (temple) 435 BC (statue)|
|Date of Destruction:||5th–6th centuries AD|
|Cause of Destruction:||Disassembled and reassembled at Constantinople; later destroyed by fire|
|Modern Location:||Olympia, Greece|
The Zeus statue in Olympia was built by the great Greek painter Pydias (known as the greatest artist in the ancient world in the 5th century BC). He also worked on the Parthenon and Athena statues in Athens. This statue depicts Zeus, leather, and ivory sitting on a throne in a 12 m high gold dress designed to inspire worshipers at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia. However, he was shocked by the picture. After the advent of Christianity and the ban on the Olympic Games as ‘pagan rites,’ the temple on the roof of Olympia was fallen. Later, it was wrecked by an earthquake in the 5th-6th century AD.
4. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
|Date of Construction:||c. 550 BC; and again in 323 BC|
|Date of Destruction:||356 BC (by Herostratus)AD 262 (by the Goths)|
|Cause of Destruction:||Arson by Herostratus, plundering|
|Modern Location:||Near Selçuk, Turkey|
In Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis was a Greek colony in Asia Minor that took over 120 years to build and took overnight to destroy. In 550 BC, the temple was supported by columns 425 m high (129 m long) and 225 m wide (about 69 m wide and 127 x 60 m high (about 18 m)). The temple was very beautiful because it was sponsored by Lydia’s rich king, Croesus (especially according to Herodotus). Its beauty was admirable by every visitor and was among the most amazing structures ever raised by humans. On July 21, 356 BC, a man named Herostratus frequently destroyed that beautiful structure and tried to burn down the temple with eternal glory. Epites decided that his name should not be inscribed or remembered, but he placed Strabon as an important point in the temple’s history. On the night of burning the temple, Alexander the Great was born, he promised to rebuild the dilapidated temple, but the Ephesians refused to do so. Then, it was rebuilt on a grand scale after Alexander’s death but was destroyed by the Gothic invasion. It was built and eventually destroyed by the mob of Christ, led by St. Mary’s. Johannes Crusostom, in 401 AD.
5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
|Date of Construction:||351 BC|
|Builders:||Greeks, Persians, Carians|
|Date of Destruction:||12th–15th century AD|
|Cause of Destruction:||Earthquakes|
|Modern Location:||Bodrum, Turkey|
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is the tomb of the Satrap Mausoleum of Persia, built-in 51 BC. Morsels chose the capital Halicarnassus, and he and his beloved wife Artemisia did their best to make it a beautiful city. After Mausolus and his wife’s remains were buried in the tomb, Pliny the Elder recorded that the artisans continued to work on the building after his death. The tomb was over 41 meters high and decorated with elaborate designs. It was destroyed in 1494 AD by many earthquakes that struck and lasted for hundreds of years. St. John of Malta’s cavalry used it to build his castle in Bodrum (where ancient stones can stand, as you can see today). Here, the English word “mausoleum” comes from the Mausolus cemetery.
6. Colossus of Rhodes
|Date of Construction:||292–280 BC|
|Date of Destruction:||226 BC|
|Cause of Destruction:||226 BC Rhodes earthquake|
|Modern Location:||Rhodes, Greece|
Colossus of Rhodes is a statue of Helios (guardian of Rhodes), built between 292 and 280 BC. It is Standing 110 meters (slightly higher) more than 33 meters high, overlooking Rhodes harbor. The statue seemed to stand on it’s legs together as a base (much like the Statue of Liberty of New York City in the United States of America, which is modeled on the Colossus).
This statue was commissioned after the conquest of the invader Demetrius in 304 BC. Demetrius left most of the siege and weapons sold by Rodian to the 300 talents they had used (about $ 360 million). According to Strabo, the statue was erected in 226 BC. It had been an impressive site for over 800 years and still attracts tourists. Pliny the Elder had claimed that the statue’s fingerprints were larger than most statues of today’s time. According to historian Theophanes, Bronze remains were eventually sold to a “Jewish merchant of Edessa” in about AD 654, which 900 camels later carried at that time.
7. Lighthouse of Alexandria
|Date of Construction:||c. 280 BC|
|Builders:||Greeks, Ptolemaic Egyptians|
|Date of Destruction:||AD 1303–1480|
|Cause of Destruction:||1303 Crete earthquake|
|Modern Location:||Alexandria, Egypt|
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, built on Pharos’ island, was almost 134 m high and was commissioned by Ptolemy I Soter. Its construction began around 280 BC. It is the world’s third tallest structure (after the pyramids), and its light (the mirror that reflected the sun’s rays by day and fire at night) could be seen at a distance of 35 miles from the sea. The central octagonal section at the end rounded, and those who saw its glory argued that words were not enough to describe his beauty. In 1480 AD, the Egyptian fort Quaitbey stands today on Pharos, built with a few stones from the lighthouse’s ruins.
The Seven Wonders of the World comes out to be the most agreed names and the most impressive structures of their time. Still, they looked very much like a modern tourist brochure, informing travelers of what to see in their masterpieces. Above are the traditionally accepted “Wonders” as first described by Philo of Byzantium. Still, many of the writers who followed him disagreed about his mentioned Wonders as felt to be a passing interest. For example, he cites that the Egyptian maze is far more impressive than even the Giza pyramids. But still, the Pyramid of Giza is considered the most beautiful and ancient Wonder of the Ancient World.