Top Ten Wonders of the Ancient World

Top Ten Wonders of the Ancient World

Ziggurat of Ur1The Pyramids of Giza and the SphinxThe Hanging Gardens of Babylon

  1. The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, Egypt


            One of the most mysterious cultures of all time, Egypt holds some of the premier creations of art and architecture in the world. The centerpiece of the Egyptian landscape, including the three pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, are the most recognizable and powerful symbols of the ancient world today and remarkably enough are the only wonders of the ancient world that still exist; a tribute to the builders and architects of these great monuments. Many have speculated on the building of these massive monuments and have even alluded to extraterrestrial builders, but whatever the case may be, the site of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx remain as the most powerful and mystical place on Earth.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Pyramids, Top Ten Pyramids, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramids_of_Giza,
  2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Iraq (600 BC)
    The Hanging Gardens of BabylonThe Hanging Gardens of Babylon1The Hanging Gardens of Babylon3
            The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, near present-day Al Hillah, Babil in Iraq, are considered to be one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They were built by the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his sick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland Persia. The gardens were destroyed by several earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.
    Links: Top Ten Iraqi Attractions, Relieves and Petroglyphs, Top Ten Gardens, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_Gardens_of_Babylon,
  3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Greece (550 BC)
    Temple of Artemis at EphesusTemple of Artemis at Ephesus1Temple of Artemis at Ephesus2Temple of Artemis at Ephesus3
           The Temple of Artemis, also known less precisely as Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to Artemis completed, in its most famous phase, around 550 BC at Ephesus (in present-day Turkey). Though the monument was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only foundations and sculptural fragments of the temple remain. There were previous temples on its site, where evidence of a sanctuary dates as early as the Bronze Age. The whole temple was made of marble except for the roof. The new temple antedated the Ionic immigration by many years. Callimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, attributed the origin of the temenos at Ephesus to the Amazons, whose worship he imagines already centered upon an image. In the seventh century the old temple was destroyed by a flood. The construction of the “new” temple, which was to become known as one of the wonders of the ancient world, began around 550 BC. It was a 120-year project, initially designed and built by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes, at the expense of Croesus of Lydia. It was described by Antipater of Sidon, who compiled the list of the Seven Wonders: I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labor of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, “Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.”
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top Ten Sculptures by Scopas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Artemis,
  4. Ziggurat of Ur, Iraq
    Ziggurat of UrZiggurat of Ur1Ziggurat of Ur2
            The Ziggurat of Ur (É.TEMEN.NÍ.GÙR meaning “house whose foundation creates terror”) is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat which was located in the city of Ur near Nasiriyah in the present-day Dhi Qar Province, Iraq. The Middle Bronze Age (21st century BC) structure had crumbled by Neo-Babylonian times (6th century BC) and a restoration of the ziggurat was built under king Nabonidus. Its remains were excavated in the 1920’s to 1930’s by Sir Leonard Woolley. They were encased by a partial reconstruction of the facade and the monumental staircase by Saddam Hussein during the 1980’s.
    Links: Top Ten Zigguratshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat_of_Ur,
  5. Baalbeck, Lebanon
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            The greatest of the three temples was sacred to Jupiter Baal, (“Heliopolitan Zeus”), identified here with the sun, and was constructed during the first century AD. At the time it was the largest temple in the empire. With it were associated a temple to Venus and a lesser temple in honor of Bacchus (though it was traditionally referred to as the “Temple of the Sun” by Neoclassical visitors, who saw it as the best preserved Roman temple in the world, it is surrounded by 42 columns nearly 20 meters in height). Thus three Eastern deities were worshiped in Roman guise: thundering Jove, the god of storms, stood in for Baal-Hadad, Venus for ‘Ashtart (known in English as Astarte) and Bacchus for Anatolian Dionysus. The original number of Jupiter columns was 54 columns. In the early 20th century an earthquake reduced the 9 remaining columns to 6. The architrave blocks weigh up to 60 tons each, and the corner blocks over 100 tons, all of them raised to a height of ca. 19 m (62.34 ft.) above the ground. This was thought to have been done using Roman cranes. Roman cranes were not capable of lifting stones this heavy; however, by combining multiple cranes they may have been able to lift them to this height. If necessary they may have used the cranes to lever one side up a little at a time and use shims to hold it while they did the other side.
    Links: Top Ten Lebanese Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top Ten European Temples, Top Ten Greek Temples, Top Ten Megaliths, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baalbeck,
  6. Statue of Zeus at Olympia (432 BC)
    Statue of Zeus at OlympiaStatue of Zeus at Olympia1
           The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was made by the Greek sculptor Phidias on the site where it was erected in the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Top Ten Greek Gods, Sculptures, Top 100 Sculptures, Top Ten Sculptures by Phidias, Top Ten Sculptures that No Longer Existhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Zeus_at_Olympia,
  7. Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, Turkey (353 – 350 BC)
    Mausoleum of Maussollos at HalicarnassusMausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus1
            The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, his wife and sister. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythis. It stood approximately 45 meters (135 ft) in height, and each of the four sides was adorned with sculptural reliefs created by each one of four Greek sculptors, Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus. The finished structure was considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that Antipater of Sidon identified it as one of his Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The word mausoleum has since come to be used generically for any grand tomb.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, Top Ten Mausoleumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mausoleum_of_Maussollos,
  8. Colossus of Rhodes, Greece (292 – 280 BC)
    Colossus of RhodesColossus of Rhodes1Colossus of Rhodes2Colossus of Rhodes3
           The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos between 292 and 280 BC. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Before its destruction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 m (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Sculptures, Top Ten Sculptures that No Longer Existhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_of_Rhodes,
  9. Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt (280 – 247 BC)
    Lighthouse of AlexandriaLighthouse of Alexandria2Lighthouse of Alexandria3
           The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was a tower built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos at Alexandria, Egypt. Its purpose was to guide sailors into the harbor at night time. With a height variously estimated at between 393 and 450 ft (120 and 140 m), it was for many centuries among the tallest manmade structures on Earth.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Lighthouses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighthouse_of_Alexandria,
  10. Stonehenge, England (3,100 – 2,200 BC)
    StonehengeStonehenge1Stonehenge2
           Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 km (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 km (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the center of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2,500 BC, as described in the chronology below. One recent theory, however, has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2,400-2,200 BC, whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3,000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3,100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury Henge monument. It is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust. Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate burials from as early as 3,000 BC, when the initial ditch and bank were first dug. Burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions, Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehendge,
  11. Ishtar Gate, Babylon, Iraq (575 BC)
    Ishtar GateIshtar Gate1Ishtar Gate2Ishtar Gate3
           The Ishtar Gate was the 8th gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the Gate was constructed of blue glazed tiles with alternating rows of bas-relief sirrush (dragons) and aurochs. The roof and doors of the gate were of cedar, according to the dedication plaque. Through the gate ran the Processional Way which was lined with walls covered in lions on glazed bricks (about 120 of them). Statues of the deities were paraded through the gate and down the Processional Way each year during the New Year’s celebration.
    Links: Top Ten Iraqi Attractions, Top Ten Gates, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar_Gate,
  12. Makomati, South Africa
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            These mysterious ancient ruins consist of dwellings, forts, temples roads, irrigation systems and agricultural terraces that cover thousands of square km. It is our estimate that more stone went into building these features than went into building all of the Egyptian pyramids. It is an archaeologist’s dream that will unveil even greater and more mysterious secrets in years to come. There is an overwhelming consensus by scholars, academics and even mystics that southern Africa is the cradle of humankind and that this is where the first humans walked the Earth before migrating to the distant corners of our planet. Through the study of mitochondrial DNA in females, geneticists found evidence that points to a time when the first humans suddenly appeared on Earth, reigniting the ongoing debate about the ‘missing link’. Their calculation show that the common ancestor to all humans appeared somewhere between 180,000 and 360,000 years ago. She was affectionately called Mitochondrial Eve. But the first signs of human intelligence and consciousness only appeared around 75,000 years ago, when the Khoisan people of southern Africa, sometimes also referred to as Bushmen, started leaving behind an array of spectacular cave paintings all over this part of the continent. Finely crafted beads and bracelet fragments found in a cave at Blombos in the Western Cape, South Africa, show that these early humans had already developed a feel for the arts and crafts around 80,000 years ago. Until recently, this was the only real link we had to the cradle of humankind in southern Africa and its earliest inhabitants.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments, http://www.makomati.org/,
  13. Links: Top Ten Wonders of Space, Top Ten Medieval Wonders, Top Ten Modern Wonders, Top Ten Natural Wonders,