Thousands of years ago, people built elaborate pyramids, temples and structures without the equipment builders use today. Many of these structures have been destroyed, but a few remain.
Over time, people developed a list of some of the most fantastic man-made structures in the ancient world. This list all about the seven wonders of the ancient world include the following:
- The Great Pyramid of Egypt was originally 480 feet high. It remained the tallest building in the world for over 4,000 years. Built around 2560 B.C., it was created as a burial place for the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. Researchers believe it took about 20 years to build and as many as 360,000 men worked on it. The Great Pyramid is the largest of three pyramids in Giza, which is now part of Cairo. Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid is the only one still standing.
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Imagine a great garden built on tiers supported by pillars – a garden in the sky. Although some researchers question whether the gardens actually existed, they would have been a marvelous sight if real. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have been built by King Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 B.C. Legend has it that the gardens were destroyed by an earthquake around 100 B.C. The site where the gardens would have been is in Al-Hillah, Iraq.
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. In modern Turkey once sat a large temple built for Artemis, the Goddess of the hunt. Built in about 550 B.C., the temple was three times the size of the Parthenon with 127 60-foot high columns. The temple was made of marble. It was destroyed by fire in 356 B.C.
- The Statue of Zeus. Remember the large statue of Zeus in the Disney movie, Hercules? This statue really existed. Built in Olympia, Greece in 450 B.C., the statue was 40 feet tall. Zeus was seated on a wooden throne lined with jewels. In one hand, he held a statue of Nike – the goddess of victory. In the other hand, he held a scepter with an eagle on top. Scholars are not sure how it was destroyed, but they believe it was destroyed in the 5th century.
- The Tomb of Maussollos at Halicarnassus. Queen Artemisia was filled with sadness after her husband, Mausolus, King of Carnia of Asia Minor died in 353 B.C. She hired two Greek architects to build a huge tomb made of marble for her husband. The tomb sat on a hill outside the city and was made of marble. It had many statues around it and was over 135 feet tall. The word, “mausoleum,” which means any building built as a tomb for the dead, comes from King Maussollos. The tomb was destroyed by earthquakes in the 14th century.
- Colossus at Rhodes. Standing over 100 feet tall, the Colossus at Rhodes was a huge statue of Helios, the patron god of the island. The people defended their island from an invasion in 304 B.C. and built the statue in celebration, although an earthquake destroyed it only 50 years later. The statue was placed at the entrance to the island for all to see – similar to the Statue of Liberty, which sits on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall.
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria. Built around 270 B.C., the Lighthouse of Alexandria sat on the small island of Pharos, hear the city of Alexandria in Egypt. The role of the lighthouse was to guide boats safely along the Nile River and in and out of the harbor around Alexandria. The lighthouse was probably about 380 feet tall. It was made of light colored stone so it could be easily seen during the day. A mirror at the top of the lighthouse reflected sunlight while fires guarded sailors at night. It was slowly destroyed by earthquakes and some of its remains have been discovered in the Nile River. Archeologists have also found coins with pictures of the lighthouse.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Facts
- You know the guide or map you can pick up when you go to an amusement park? Something like that is how the list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World started.
- The original listing of the seven greatest wonders has changed over the years, though many of the versions still only listed seven entries.
- Of the original list only the Great Pyramid of Giza is still standing.
- The ancient Greeks didn’t use the word for “wonders” when they ventured out in search of these famous sights. They called them “theamata” which translates to “things to be seen”.
- The first known listing of the world’s wonders was done around 140 BC.
- All of the Seven Wonders only existed together for about 60 years before the Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed by an earthquake, reducing the still standing number of wonders to six.
- Items on this list are only found with the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions because that was the known world to the Greeks that made the list.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Vocabulary
- Elaborate: Detailed or sophisticated; Fancy
- Pharaoh: Supreme ruler of ancient Egypt
- Temple: Place of worship
- Version: Form or variation of something
- Reduce: Lower the amount, size or value of something
- Guide: Book that offers information or instruction
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Video for Kids
This is the best video we found for kids to learn all about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World:
A video all about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world covering the sculptures and architectural monuments of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Q&A
Question: Why only seven places on the list?
Answer: Seven was considered a magical number with a special meaning. A little like the opposite of the number 13 today and how it is avoided because it is thought of as unlucky.
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