The 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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People have often debated what the 7 wonders of the world were: pyramids, temples, mausoleums ...
And how many times, in trying to list them, one is always missing? A classic, I would say. But are we sure that those listed are actually among the 7 wonders of the world? But I would go even further: are we sure that the 7 wonders of the world are only 7?
No, it's not like asking "what color was Napoleon's white horse" (which then everyone answers "black", who knows why ...), but it's a question of disambiguation, to put it to Wikipedia: because in fact the wonders of the world are 21, that is 7 x 3.
There are 3 categories into which the 7 wonders of the world have been divided, so to speak: those of the ancient world, those of the modern world, also called "the new 7 wonders", e those of the natural world. What is it about? These are works of such great beauty that they were considered, by Greeks and Romans, the most beautiful works of all humanity.
All built more than 2.000 years ago, only one survives; the others were destroyed as a result of various causes. Let's go and discover the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World!


  1. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  2. The Colossus of Rhodes
  3. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  4. Temple of Artemis
  5. Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt
  6. Zeus statue in Olympia
  7. Pyramid of Cheops
  8. User questions and comments

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

  • Construction started: 605 BC
  • Dimensions: unknown
  • Destroyed by: Earthquake
  • Architect: Nebuchadnezzar II

One of the most controversial works, not for merit but for historical certainty: even today many scholars question the real existence of these hanging gardens in ancient Babylon, near the present Baghdad, built by King Nebuchadnezzar II in 590 BC
Another controversy concerns the ownership of the building, which many attribute to Assyrian queen Semiramis, the de facto protagonist of the largest number of works (literary, lyrical and pictorial) concerning the gardens.
A very interesting interpretative key concerns the very meaning of the word "gardens" in Mesopotamian culture, very close to the very meaning of "Paradise".
According to legend, it seems that Queen Semiramis found fresh roses every morning in these gardens, despite the arid climate of the place.

The Colossus of Rhodes

  • Construction started: 292 BC
  • Dimensions: 32 m high
  • Destroyed by: Earthquake
  • Architect: Carete di Lindo

Dating back to the third century. to. C., is the statue of God Helios built by the Rhodians to celebrate the extraordinary victory in the battle against Demetrio I Poliorcete.
The construction was entrusted to Caletus, a pupil of the famous master Lisippo. 32 meters high, the construction took 12 years and lasted 56, when an earthquake destroyed it.
For 800 years the statue remained on the bottom of the sea, until the conquering Arabs, in 672, did not tear it to pieces to remove it.

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

  • Construction started: approximately 353 BC
  • Dimensions: 45 m high
  • Destroyed by: Earthquake
  • Architects: Artemisia II, Pythius of Priene, Satyros

A work of extraordinary grandeur: it is the tomb of Mausolus, Satrap of Caria, built by his sister and married (yes, sister and bride) Artemisia.
The tomb was so impressive that since then the term Mausoleum has been used to define all the great ones monumental tombs.
Some remains are visible in the present Bodrum, in Turkey, and in British Museum in London.

Temple of Artemis

  • Construction started: around 560 BC
  • Dimensions: 18 m high
  • Destroyed by: Fire
  • Architects: Chersiphron, Metagenes

A story of birth and death, of glory and destruction: the Ionic temple was built in Ephesus in honor of the goddess Artemis, around 560 BC, and was one of the most impressive constructions of classical civilization.
It was destroyed by a fire by the shepherd Erostrato, driven by the sole desire to go down in history.
History tells us that he was born on the same night Alexander the Great, and the goddess Artemis herself was too busy guarding and blessing this birth that she could not protect her Temple.
Rebuilt 2 more times, was destroyed again first by the Goths in 262, then by the Christians in 401.

Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt

  • Construction started: 280 BC
  • Dimensions: 8,50 m in length and 134 in height
  • Destroyed by: earthquake
  • Architect: Substratum of Chios

Built on the island of Pharos, facing the port of Alexandria of Egypt, is one of the greatest Hellenistic engineering masterpieces.
Completed around 300 BC, with its height of 134 meters it had the task of ensuring the safety of maritime traffic.
It is estimated that the lighthouse was visible up to 48 km away.
It was destroyed by two earthquakes that followed one another in 1303 and 1323.

Zeus statue in Olympia

  • Opening date: 436 BC
  • Height: 13 m
  • Destroyed by: Fire
  • Architect: Phidias

Built by the great sculptor Phidias in 436 BC to complete the Temple of Zeus in Olympia.
Chryselephantine sculpture, i.e. made of gold and ivory, had a base of 6 meters and a height of 13. The proportions were such that the head of the sculpture, which represented the father of the Gods seated on a throne, touched the ceiling of the temple, so much so that, he said Strabo, if he had stood up he would have uncovered the Temple.

Pyramid of Cheops

  • Construction started: 2584 BC
  • Dimensions: 139 m high
  • Destroyed by: -
  • Architects: Cheops, Hemiunu, Imhotep

Also called "The Great Pyramid", is located in Giza and owes its name to Pharaoh Cheops who had it erected as his funeral monument.
The construction work began in 2584 BC (almost 5000 years ago!), and originally it was 146,6 meters high; the course of time and the wind have brought it to 139 meters to date.

It covers an area of ​​5 hectares, has an extraordinary and impressive accuracy in proportions not only for those times, but also for ours.
Its total weight is estimated to be around 7 million tons, considering that limestone stones weighing from 800 kg to 4 tons were used for the cladding, and granite blocks weighing 20 to 80 tons for the internal chambers.
Some studies on its proportions have revealed shocking data:

  • the ratio between the base perimeter and double its height gives the value PI Greek;
  • measuring the perimeter of the pyramid in inches gives the number 36524, that is one hundred times the number of days in a calendar year (365,24);
  • its measures and proportions represent a model of the terrestrial northern hemisphere, in scale 1: 43.200.

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