Ancient Building Marvels: The 7 Wonders of the World
People have built many amazing things, from skyscrapers to mansions to statues. But some of the most incredible things ever built were made back in ancient times, many hundreds of years ago. Sadly, most of these impressive creations don't exist anymore. However, writers back then left behind records that tell us about how they looked when they existed and how they were built, and archaeologists have been able to dig up the remains of some of these sites. These amazing creations are called the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Great Pyramid of Giza
At Giza, Egypt, north of Cairo, stand three giant pyramids known as the Great Pyramids. These towering stone creations were built between 2700 and 2500 B.C. to be tombs for pharaohs, great Egyptian leaders. The largest of these is the pyramid built for Khufu, known by itself as the Great Pyramid, which was the tallest building in the world for 4,000 years. These three buildings are still standing today, and thousands of people visit them every year.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were said to have been built in what is now Iraq around 600 B.C. The gardens were built so that they were above the ground, so you could walk underneath them. The gardens are said to have been destroyed by earthquakes. Many ancient Greek and Roman writers mentioned this amazing site, but there aren't any records of Babylonians writing about it, which makes some people think that this ancient wonder might not have existed at all. Some modern researchers have found signs that the hanging gardens may have existed after all, but instead of Babylon, they were in Nineveh, in nearby Assyria.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Greek sculptor Phidias created a statue of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, to be placed in a temple dedicated to Zeus in the middle of the fifth century B.C. The statue was 40 feet tall, so tall that its head almost touched the roof of the temple! The statue showed Zeus sitting on a throne, and it was decorated with ivory and gold. The statue stood in the temple for more than 800 years, until Christians convinced the Roman emperor to close the temple. The statue of Zeus was moved to a temple in Turkey, where it was destroyed in a fire in the year 462.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The city of Ephesus, which is in present-day Turkey, was the home of a series of temples built on the same site in honor of Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting. The most impressive temple was the last version built, which was said to be four times larger than the Parthenon in Athens. The roof was held up by 127 columns, and the construction of this building was paid for by King Croesus of Lydia, who was famously rich. The temple was destroyed by invaders in the year 262.
- The Temple of Artemis (VIDEO): Watch this video clip to learn more about the Temple of Artemis.
- Exploring Ancient Ephesus: The city of Ephesus has a rich history.
- Ephesus: Enough artifacts have survived from the early life of this Turkish site to tell us a lot about how people lived there in ancient times.
- The Temple of Artemis: Pieces of this ancient wonder have been dug up by researchers.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
In 353 B.C., Mausolus, the king of Carnia, which was in what is now southeastern Turkey, died. His wife, Artemisia, was so sad that she ordered the construction of a giant tomb as a tribute to him. The building is said to have been around 135 feet high and was made of white marble. The building was destroyed in an earthquake in the 13th century. However, one thing remains: the name of King Mausolus and the legend of the building made for his tomb gave us the word "mausoleum," which is a building used as a tomb.
Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus was an enormous statue of the Greek sun god Helios that was built on the island of Rhodes. The statue was made of bronze and was said to be around 110 feet high. Its construction was finished in 282 B.C. The Colossus stood for 60 years until it was toppled in an earthquake. The story of this impressive statue is said to have inspired the creator of the Statue of Liberty.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
On the Egyptian coast at Alexandria, the world's first known lighthouse was built. Its construction was ordered by Ptolemy II, and it was completed around 270 B.C. The lighthouse is believed to have been around 380 feet tall, making it the second-tallest structure that had been built in the world at the time; only the Great Pyramid at Giza was taller. The lighthouse stood until around 1300, when it was felled by a series of earthquakes. The ruins of the lighthouse were found in the 1990s by divers in the Alexandria harbor.
Alan Bernau Jr