Through the years there have been numerous lists of the Seven Wonders of the World, which included more modern wonders such as the Grand Canyon and the Empire State Building. However, the Seven Wonders of the World (also known as the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World) created by Greek historians during the classical age is considered the original Seven Wonders of the World. It included seven remarkable structures of the time. Those original seven wonders are:
1. The Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes stood 110 feet tall above the capital city of Rhodes, on a Greek island of the same name. It was erected after the people of Rhodes successfully defeated an attempt by Demetrius (son of the ruler of Cyprus) to conquer the island in 305 B.C. Demetrius’ army left in defeat, abandoning much of their military equipment. Around 304 B.C., the Rhodians sold this equipment in order to finance the statue project. Taking nearly 12 years to complete, the Colossus of Rhodes was built of bronze, marble, iron, and stone. It stood for about 56 years until an earthquake brought it down in 224 B.C.
2. The Great Pyramid of Giza
The only one of the original seven wonders that is still visible today, the Great Pyramid of Giza is part of a larger mortuary complex consisting of tombs and other pyramids. It was built around 2560 B.C. using more than 2,000,000 stone blocks weighing two tons each. The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Great Pyramid of Khufu, was built to house the sarcophagus of the Pharaoh Khufu.
3. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
There are two theories about who built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Queen Sammu-ramat, who ruled from 810 B.C. to 783 B.C., or King Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled from 605 B.C. to 562 B.C. Described as an artificial mountain with rooftop gardens, mystery still surrounds this ancient wonder as to whether it actually existed or was simply a poetic creation.
4. The Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Lighthouse of Alexandria stood on the island of Pharos near Alexandria, Egypt, assisted sailors in entering the harbor, which was quite difficult to navigate. The lighthouse was built around 280 B.C. and stood between 393 and 450 feet tall, constructed of three layers of large stone blocks. On top of these layers, a mirror reflected sunlight for more than 35 miles offshore during the day; at night, a fire lit the way.
5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
King Mausolus ruled Halicarnassus, an ancient city along the Mediterranean, from 377 B.C. until his death in 353 B.C. King Mausolus’ wife Artemisia had a tomb built for him on a hill overlooking the city. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus sat in the center of a courtyard on a stone platform and contained many large and elaborate sculptures. Artemisia died two years later, and both were buried in the tomb, though it had yet to be completed.
6. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was erected in the Temple of Zeus at the sanctuary of Olympia in 435 B.C. It was created by Greek sculptor Phidias and represented the god Zeus (god of the sky and weather) sitting on a throne. Standing nearly 43 feet tall, the statue was adorned with a sculpted crown of olive sprays, a golden robe and gold sandals. It carried a statue of Nike (the goddess of victory) in one hand and a scepter in the other. The throne was decorated in gold, precious stones, ebony and ivory.
7. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a structure dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of fertility. It was built in the city of Ephesus (in present-day Turkey) around 800 B.C. Having been first destroyed by floods around 600 B.C. and then by arson in 356 B.C., this temple had been completely built three times. It was permanently destroyed by the Goths in 262 A.D.