This is the most common list of the seven most impressive ancient monuments, also called "The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World".1
These are, in chronological order:
- The Great Pyramid of Giza
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- The Colossus of Rhodes
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Great Pyramid of Giza
In the town of Giza, once the necropolis of Memphis, today part of Cairo city, Egypt.
The Great Pyramid of pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) was built around the year 2560 BC to serve as his tomb.
It is believed that it took 20 years for 100,000 builders to construct the pyramid, using approximately 2 million blocks of stone, each weighing more than two tons.
The pyramid was originally 145.75 m (481 ft) high, and it ranked as the tallest sculpture on Earth for almost 40 centuries. The base of the building covers enough area to accommodate St Peter's in Rome, the cathedrals of Florence and Milan, and Westminster and St Paul's in London combined!
"Man fears Time, yet Time fears the Pyramids" (Arab proverb).
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only monument that has survived of the Seven Ancient Wonders.
For a more detailed description, visit The Great Pyramid, Giza, Egypt
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
On the east bank of the river Euphrates, about 50 km south of Baghdad, Iraq.
The gardens - which may be only a fable - are said to have been built by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) to please his wife Amytis, who "had been brought up in Media, and had a passion for mountain surroundings".
The gardens have been described in detail by, among others, the ancient Greek historians Strabo and Philo of Bysans:
"The garden is quadrangular, and each side is four plethra2 long. It consists of arched vaults which are located on checkered cube-like foundations..."
"...The whole mass is supported on stone columns... Streams of water... flow down sloping channels... the grass is permanently green and the leaves of trees grow firmly attached to supple branches... This is a work of art of royal luxury and its most striking feature is that the labour of cultivation is suspended above the heads of the spectators."
For a more detailed description, visit The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
In the ancient town of Olympia, on the west coast of Greece, about 150 km west of Athens.
The Olympic games were held in honour of the greek god Zeus, in the city that gave its very name to the Olympics.
Around 450 BC, a magnificent temple of Zeus was built, and the Athenian sculptor Pheidias was assigned to create a majestic statue of Zeus.
Pheidias had developed a technique to build enormous gold and ivory statues, by erecting a wooden frame on which sheets of metal and ivory were placed to provide the outer covering.
The base of the statue was about 6.5 m (20 ft) wide and 1.0 meter (3 ft) high. The height of the statue itself was 13 m (40 ft), equivalent to a modern 4-storey building.
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The ancient town of Ephesus near the modern town of Selcuk, about 50 km south of Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey.
The temple of Artemis (Diana) was built around 550 BC, and was sponsored by the Lydian king Croesus.
The building was made of marble, and the high terrace of the temple was approximately 80 m (260 ft) by 130 m (430 ft). There were 127 columns, 20 m (60 ft) high with Ionic capitals, aligned over the terrace.
The temple was decorated with many works of art, including four ancient bronze statues of Amazons. There is no record of any statue of the goddess herself, but there is no reason not to believe so.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The town of Bodrum (formerly Halicarnassus) on the Aegean Sea, in south-west Turkey.
The mausoleum was built as a tomb for king Mausollos of Caria around 350 BC.
It was a rectangular building, base dimension about 40 m (120 ft) by 30 m (100 ft). It had a podium decorated with statues, and on the podium were the burial chamber and the sarcophagus, made of white alabaster decorated with gold. Ionic columns surrounded the chamber, supporting a pyramid roof, also decorated with statues. The top of the tomb was adorned by a statue of a chariot pulled by four horses.
In 1856, most of the remains of the mausoleum were acquired by The British Museum
The Colossus of Rhodes
At the entrance of the harbour of the Mediterranean island of Rhodes, Greece.
The Rhodians decided to erect an enormous statue of their sun god Helios, which took 12 years and was finished in 282 BC, 33 m (110 ft) high.
The statue was built by the Rhodian sculptor Chares of Lindos. The base was made of white marble, the framework of iron and stone, and the outer skin parts of bronze.
The statue fell in a strong earthquake about 226 BC. Pliny the Elder wrote "But even lying on the ground, it is a marvel" and "few people can make their arms meet round the tumb".
This wonder has inspired modern artists such as the French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, best known by his famous work "The Statue of Liberty".
For a more detailed description, visit The Colossus of Rhodes
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
On the ancient island of Pharos, now a promontory within the town of Alexandria, Egypt.
The name of the island of Pharos is said to be a variation of Pharao's Island.
The project was initiated by Ptolemy Soter around 290 BC, but was not completed until after his death.
The total height of the building including foundation base was about 117 m (384 ft), equivalent to a 40-storey building.
At the top stage a mirror reflected sunlight during the day, tens of kilometers away, and a fire was used during the night. Legend says the mirror was also used to detect and burn enemy ships before they could reach the shore.