Seven Wonders of the Ancient World  

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The Great Sphinx by Maxime Du Camp, 1849, taken when he traveled in Egypt with Gustave Flaubert.
The Great Sphinx by Maxime Du Camp, 1849, taken when he traveled in Egypt with Gustave Flaubert.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Seven Wonders of the World (or the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) refers to remarkable constructions of classical antiquity listed by various authors in guidebooks popular among the ancient Hellenic tourists, particularly in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. The most prominent of these, the versions by Antipater of Sidon and an observer identified as Philo of Byzantium, comprise seven works located around the eastern Mediterranean rim. The original list inspired innumerable versions through the ages, often listing seven entries. Of the original Seven Wonders, only one—the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the ancient wonders—remains relatively intact.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The historian Herodotus (484 BC–ca. 425 BC), and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene (ca 305–240 BC) at the Museum of Alexandria, made early lists of "Seven wonders" but their writings have not survived, except as references. Their wonders included:

The Greek category was not "Wonders" but "theamata", which translates closer to "must-sees". The list that we know today was compiled in the Middle Ages—by which time many of the sites were no longer in existence. Today, the only ancient world wonder that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza.


Wonder Date of construction Builder Notable feature Date of destruction Cause of destruction Modern Location
Great Pyramid of Giza 2584-2561 BC Egyptians Believed to be built as the tomb of fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. Still Existent Still Existent Giza, Egypt
Hanging Gardens of Babylon 605-562 BC Babylonians Diodorus Siculus described multi-levelled gardens reaching 22 meters (75 feet) high, complete with machinery for circulating water. Large trees grew on the roof. Built by Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife Amytis of Media. After 1st century BC Earthquake Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq
Statue of Zeus at Olympia 466-456 BC (Temple) 435 BC (Statue) Greeks Occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple that was built to house it, and was 12 meters (40 feet) tall. 5th-6th centuries AD Fire Olympia, Greece
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus c. 550 BC Lydians, Persians, Greeks Dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis, it took 120 years to build. Herostratus burned it down to achieve lasting fame. Rebuilt by Alexander the Great only to be destroyed again by the Goths. It was rebuilt once again after, only to be closed in 391 and destroyed by a mob led by St John Chrysostom in 401. 356 BC (by Herostratus)
AD 262 (by the Goths)
AD 391 (by mob led by St John Chrysostom)
Arson by Herostratus, Plundering near Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus 351 BC Carians, Persians, Greeks Stood approximately 45 meters (135 feet) tall with each of the four sides adorned with sculptural reliefs. Origin of the word mausoleum, a tomb built for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire by AD 1494 The original structure was destroyed by flood. Then a new structure was built and was damaged by an earthquake and eventually disassembled by European Crusaders. Bodrum, Turkey
Colossus of Rhodes 292-280 BC Greeks A giant statue of the Greek god Helios, god of the sun, c. 35 m (110 ft) tall. 226 BC Earthquake Rhodes, Greece
Lighthouse of Alexandria c. 280 BC Hellenistic Egypt, (Greeks) Between 115 and 135 meters (383 – 440 ft) it was among the tallest structures on Earth for many centuries. The island that it was built on, Pharos, eventually spawned the Latin word for lighthouse, again Pharos. AD 1303-1480 Earthquake Alexandria, Egypt

See also

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