The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were:
- the Great Pyramidat Giza, Egypt
- the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece
- the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- the Colossus of Rhodes
- the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt
The Seven Wonders were first defined as themata by Philo of Byzantium in 225 BCE, in his work On The Seven Wonders. Other writers on the Seven Wonders of the world include Herodotus, Callimachus of Cyrene, and Antipater of Sidon. Of the original seven, only the Great Pyramid remains in existence today.
- Great Pyramid at Giza
The Great Pyramid at Giza was constructed between 2584 and 2561 BCE for the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu, and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for almost 4,000 years. Excavations of the interior of the pyramid were only initiated in earnest in the late 18th and early 19th centuries CE, and so the intricacies of the interior which so intrigue modern people were unknown to the ancient writers. The pyramid continues to awe and inspire visitors today. It is one of the most visited locations in the world each year.
● Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, if they existed as described, were built by Nebuchadnezzar II between 605-562 BCE as a gift to his wife. They are described by the ancient writer Diodorus Siculus as being self-watering planes of exotic flora and fauna reaching a height of over 75 feet (23 metres) through a series of climbing terraces. Diodorus wrote that Nebuchadnezzar’s wife, Amytis of Media, missed the mountains and flowers of her homeland and so the king commanded that a mountain be created for her in Babylon.
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was created by the great Greek sculptor Phidias (known as the finest sculptor of the ancient world in the 5th century BCE, he also worked on the Parthenon and the statue of Athena there in Athens). The statue depicted the god Zeus seated on his throne, his skin of ivory and robes of hammered gold, and was 40 feet (12 m) tall, designed to inspire awe in the worshippers who came to the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.
● Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Lighthouse at Alexandria, built on the island of Pharos, stood close to 440 feet in height and was commissioned by Ptolemy I Soter. Construction was completed sometime around 280 BCE. The lighthouse was the third tallest human-made structure in the world, and its light could be seen as far as 35 miles out to sea. Pieces of the lighthouse have been said to still lay on the bottom of the sea. There are ongoing archaeological explorations going right now to identify and mark this location.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were, by no means, a comprehensive agreed-upon list of the most impressive structures of the day. Rather, the list was very much like a modern-day tourist pamphlet informing travelers on what to see on their trip.