In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans were fond of making lists of structures man had built, structures so big or so unusual that any traveler visiting a particular country would have to see them. The following seven structures, or wonders, are what these ancient people considered the biggest or most unusual in their time.
The Pyramids of Egypt are the oldest of the seven ancient wonders, 4,500 years old! Even though the Greeks and Romans thought these pyramids were foolish spending by Egyptian kings, they nevertheless marveled at their size and construction. The Pyramid of Cheops reached a height of 481 feet and contained more than 2 million stone blocks!
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in what is today the country of Iraq, were 75-foottall terraced gardens that from afar seemed to be floating in the air. They were built about 600 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife, a mountain princess, so that in his desert country of Babylonia she wouldn’t be lonesome for her woodland home. Water to irrigate the flowers and trees and to supply the fountains and waterfalls was raised by slaves through lifts to a tank at the top of the gardens.
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, in what is now Turkey, was built about 550 B.C. and was one of the largest temples of ancient times. It was dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis, who in Greek mythology protected all living things. The temple was made entirely of marble, with 106 columns, 40 feet high, enclosing an area larger than a modern football field.
The Statue of Zeus at Oympia, Greece, shows the King of the Gods on his throne. This 40-foot-high statue was covered all over with ivory, gold, and precious gems, and is probably the most famous statue of the ancient world. It was sculpted by Phideas about 435 B.C.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria stood on a stone platform 440 feet high above an island in the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt. Built in 270 B.C., it stood for 1,000 years with a fire burning at the top, guiding ships safely into the harbor, until it was destroyed by an earthquake.
The Mausoleum, or decorated tomb, of King Mausolus in Halicarnassus, Turkey, stood 135 feet high and was designed and sculpted in 353 B.C. by the six most famous Greek sculptors and architects. A statue of the king in his chariot is believed to have stood atop the huge marble pyramid on the building.
The Colossus of Rhodes, a huge bronze statue of the sun god Helios, stood in the harbor of the island of Rhodes, near Turkey. This 120-foot-tall statue, as tall as the Statue of Liberty, took twelve years to complete. In 224 B.C., soon after it was completed, it was destroyed by an earth- quake.
The oldest of these wonders, the Pyramids of Egypt, are the only wonders still standing. The others were either completely destroyed or stand today in ruins!