history

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt

About 2551 b.c., Pharaoh (king) Khufu ordered workers to construct the Great Pyramid for his burial tomb. The tomb was built with 2.3 million blocks, most weighing 2.5 tons each. Its base is the size of 10 football fields. The Great Pyramid is the oldest and only ancient wonder still standing.

The Colossus of Rhodes

The gigantic, 110-foot tall bronze Colossus statue welcomed visitors into the Madraki Harbor on the Mediterranean island of Rhodes. Colossus was built in 282 b.c. to honor Helios, the Greek sun god.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria

In 290 b.c., the world’s first lighthouse guided ships into the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt. The lighthouse was lit by fire at night. Egyptians created the first mirror to reflect sunlight during the day. The lighthouse’s three levels stood nearly 40 stories tall.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Imagine lush gardens in the middle of the desert. King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon (now Iraq) built the gardens to cheer up his homesick wife. Historians believe that the gardens were built on terraces inside the palace.

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Travelers in 300 b.c. were astounded by the 15-story marble tomb. It was built for King Mausolus, ruler of the Greek city of Halicarnassus. A gleaming gold chariot drawn by four horses adorned the roof. Today, we call a large tomb a “mausoleum,” after King Mausolus.

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Zeus was the greatest of ancient Greek gods. Greeks worshipped him with the athletic festival, the Olympics, at the sanctuary in Olympia. Around 450 b.c., the sculptor Phidias of Athens built a massive 40-foot tall statue of Zeus for a new temple at Olympia.

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Ancient writers declared the temple the greatest wonder for its beauty as a noble sanctuary. The temple seemed to float into the clouds. Built in 550 b.c. as a shrine to Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt and childbirth, the marble temple was the largest of its time.

About author

Fraya Bolton is a veteran journalist who has spent the last 20 years working with newspapers, magazines and websites covering marketing, business, technology, financial services and a variety of other topics.
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