By Olga Dimitrakopoulou and Olga Kalogeri (A Class)
The seven Wonders of the Ancient World are marvelous monuments that were enlisted as masterpieces of the ancient times until the Christian Age. Inspirator of this list is considered to be Antipatros the Sidonian, a writer who visited every monument to verify if they were worthy to be in the catalog. This catalog consists of 7 unique buildings all around the Mediterranean Sea.
1. The Great Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are the oldest survivors of the seven wonders of the ancient world and are the most famous pyramids in the world. They are in Egypt. Their construction dates back to 2580 BC and are located in the Giza Necropolis. The ancient Necropolis of Giza includes: The Pyramid of Cheops, also known as the «Great Pyramid», the slightly smaller Pyramid of Heaven and the relatively moderate Pyramid of Mycenaeus. Necropolis is home to the famous Great Sphinx.
The largest and most famous is the pyramid of Cheops, while the other two are smaller and are some meters farther from the pyramid of Cheops. It has a height of 146,60 m and a perfect square base with a side of 230,35 m. It gives the impression to modern researchers about the data of the time of its construction. It has a volume of 2,521,000 cubic meters, covers an area of 54,000 square meters and it its weight reaches 6.5 million tons. For its completion, it took 30 years of work from 100,000 slave workers.The monument today puzzles modern experts about how they managed to solve their mechanical and static problems with their ancient colleagues.
2. The Grand Babylonian Gardens
8th-6th century B.C.
They were supposed to be located in ancient Babylon, where Iraq is found today. Specialists speculate that they were built approximately at 600 B.C. as a gift to Queen Amytis from her husband, King Nebuchadnezzar II because she missed the green hills and valleys of her homeland, Media. The Gardens were rumored to be in the shape of square, be more than 80ft high and have several vaulted crypts in cubic foundations, where one could visit thanks to a ladder. The plants were either grown in a votanic garden or came from every corner of the world; the roots of the treeswere placed in one of the rooftops instead of the earth. The whole structure was supported by huge stone pillars and streams of water were flooding from lifted springs that kept flora always alive and green; it is often described as a pensile paradise by many historians who had visited them. The luxurious hanging Gardens were said to be destroyed completely after an earthquake in 100 B.C. and although they are enlisted among The Wonders of The Ancient World, their actual existance is debatable by many people even today.
3. The Colossus of Rhodes
A huge statue of the God of Helios (Sun) that was located at the pier of the ancient port of the Greek island of Rhodes and was 35 meters high. In the Hellenistic years, Rhodes became famous in the Mediterranean for the huge building that was not actually built so that the ships could pass under its feet, as it is believed (and as depicted in the above figure), but stood at the side of the harbor. The Colossus was the example of Rhodes” gratitude to the god Helios (Sun), who protected them from the Macedonian general Dimitrios. The height of the bronze statue was 33 meters high and its reputation spread in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, in the blink of an eye – 56 years – it quit its post as it fell because of an earthquake. After its fall – according to Pliny – «few people managed to join their hands, embracing their thumbs» – so large is its size. No one knows what the statue looked like – only hypothetical plans can be attempted.
4. The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Greeks, Ptolemian Dynasty
The lighthouse was 135 meters high and was among the tallest structures on earth for many centuries. He was in Alexandria, Egypt, and was built by Sostratius the Knidius and Alexander the Great. Built on the ancient island of Faros, next to Alexandria, from where it was named, this building was built in the 3rd century BC. It was the only «Miracle» that had practical use beyond architectural grandeur. For seafarers, it meant safety on their journeys to the «Grand Harbor». For architects, it was one of the tallest buildings in the world. For scientists, it was a mysterious play using the mirror. The lighthouse mirror was such that the reflected light could be seen 50 kilometers away. The Lighthouse was the last of the six «miracles» that were destroyed – which is depicted in its marble façade, the statue of Poseidon at its peak and the delicate work of Socrates of Knidus who had undertaken its construction. It was destroyed in the 14th century due to an earthquake.
5. The Statue of Jupiter Olympus
It was created by the famous sculptor Pheidias in antiquity, was located in Olympia and reached 12 meters hight. The famous sculptor Phidias undertook in 435 BC to build a huge statue in honor of the god who was closely associated with the Olympic Games. During the Olympic Truce, every war stopped, and from Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and Sicily, pilgrims arrived to honor the statue. The golden-haired Zeus was made so tall that it touched the ceiling of the building that hosted it, and visitors had the impression that if it rose, it would break the roof. Its sandals and mantle were carved in gold and the other decorative elements were made of the most precious metals of antiquity. For centuries, it was one of the spectacles that every mortal had to see before dying, while during the Roman period, Caligula ordered to take it to Rome and change its face, something that never happened because the boater that would carry it got hit by… lightning and burned before loading. The twelve-meter statue was destroyed in the 6th century AD due to a large fire.
6. TheTemple of Artemis at Ephesus
It was a pledge to the goddess Artemis and its construction lasted for 120 years. It was located in today’s Ephesus, in Turkey. When the temple was completed, the known world was talking about “the most beautiful monument ever made by a human hand”. Antipatros himself noted that not even the Sun had seen something more marvelous except Olympus. Initially, the building was burnt to the ground by Hirostratos, who wanted to make his name ‘immortal’. The same night, according to a legend, Alexander the Great was born, who later rebuilt the temple just to be destroyed again in 262 AD by some Goths. Antipatros chose it for his list because it was a sample of the greatness of the Ancient Greek Civilization but also a legacy of Alexander’s empire.
7. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Greeks, Persians, Carians
Built between 353 B.C. and 350 B.C. by famous Greek and Persian architects of the time, this tomb was for Mausolus, a Persian satrap (a provincial governor) that was buried there in the 4th century B.C. It is said that the mausoleum was a request from Mausoleus’s wife, Artemisia, as a symbol of love and honor after his sudden death. The tomb was located at Halicarnassus, in Turkey and was unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake and an invasion from Crusaders at the 15th century A.C. Its Great Room had supposedly Mausoleus’s sarcophagus and was decorated everywhere with golden elements; the roof had the shape of a pyramid and sculptures all around it. The mausoleum had height up to 45 meters and was surrounded by 36 columns. The monument was enhanced with white marble and had an amazing view of the hills and the crystal-like sea. Since its construction, the word “mausoleum” has come to represent any above-ground tomb.
Did you know?
The only “Wonder” that managed to be preserved until today is the Pyramid of Cheops. The one with the smallest date of life is the Colossus of Rode as it was destroyed only 58 years after its construction due to a catastrophic earthquake on the island…