The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World

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Seven Wonders of the World, works of art and architecture regarded by ancient Greek and Roman observers as the most extraordinary structures of antiquity. The listing of ancient wonders probably began in ancient Greece in around the 2nd century BC, but the Seven Wonders that were most commonly referred to were listed some time after that.

All built in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East area, some time from around 2600 BC up to about AD 476, the Wonders are: (1) The Pyramids of Egypt, at Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders and the only ones remaining intact today. (2) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, near Baghdad, were a mountain-like series of planted terraces. (3) The Statue of Zeus was the central feature of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece. (4) The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Greece was a huge, elaborate temple to the goddess Artemis. (5) The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, a monumental marble tomb in Asia Minor, exists only in fragmentary form today. (6) The Colossus of Rhodes was a bronze statue of the Greek sun god Helios erected at Rhodes harbour. (7) The Pharos of Alexandria, on an island off Alexandria, Egypt, was a famous ancient lighthouse.

THE PYRAMIDS
Pyramids of Egypt, pyramid complex at Giza, on the west bank of the Nile, Egypt, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is said to be the only pyramid regarded as one of the Seven Wonders, although some historians class all three famous large pyramids (of the ten pyramids at Giza) as the Wonder. Built some time during the 26th century bc, the pyramids are the oldest and only remaining Wonders to have survived almost completely intact today.

Large Egyptian pyramids were built (on a king's instructions) to protect tombs, each holding the mummified body of a king (see Embalming). It was believed that entombment in a pyramid would ensure a person's soul would live forever. A chamber at the heart of the pyramid, or underneath it, acted as the tomb and the Egyptians would fill this with gold and other treasures. Smaller pyramids were built alongside the larger structures to house the bodies of Egyptian queens.

The Great Pyramid was originally about 147 m (482 ft) high while the base covers around 5 hectares (12 acres) of land. Each of its sides extends to about 230 m (755 ft) in length. Built from almost 2.5 million blocks of stone, each weighing over 2 tonnes, it was constructed over a period of up to 20 years for King Khufu, an Egyptian pharaoh. The sarcophagus and chamber for the king's body are made from red granite. The second pyramid, built by King Khafre, son of Khufu, to the south of his father's pyramid, appears larger than this pyramid as it lies on higher ground. However, it is slightly smaller than the Great Pyramid at 143.5 m (471 ft) high. Khafre's son and successor, King Menkaure, subsequently built the third and smallest pyramid, which originally stood at about 66 m (215 ft) high.

The exact layout inside the Great Pyramid continues to be a mystery, as does the purpose of the many shafts. Investigations using a miniature robot have helped to map out some of the shafts and led to the discovery of tiny doorways inside, bringing scientists closer to solving some of the mysteries of the Pharaohs.

STATUE OF ZEUS
Statue of Zeus, huge statue built to honour the king of all gods, Zeus, and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was located in the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, home of the Olympian Games (which were held every four years to worship Zeus), in Greece. In about 435 bc, Phidias, an Athenian sculptor, was asked to create a statue to make the temple even grander. The ivory and gold statue (supported by an internal wooden frame) depicted Zeus sitting on a decorative wooden throne, and was about 12 m (40 ft) high and 7 m (22 ft) wide, while the base was an additional 6.5 m (20 ft) in height. At these proportions, the statue took up all the available space at the western end of the temple, making...
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