The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were a collection of remarkable constructions listed by various Greek authors, including Antipater of Sidon and Philo of Byzantium. The classic list featured seven wonders located in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Great Pyramid of Giza
Built between 2584 BC and 2561 BC, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the only surviving ancient wonder. It is 230.4 metres wide at its base and 146.5 metres tall, and is the largest of three that sit beside the city of Giza, around 12 miles from Cairo. It was the tallest man-made structure for more than 3,800 years, until the completion of Lincoln Cathedral around the year 1300.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis was reckoned by Antipater of Sidon, the Greek poet, to be the finest of the ancient wonders. He wrote: “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’.” After being destroyed twice, by floods and arson, the third – and greatest – incarnation began in 323BC. It survived until 268AD, when it was damaged or destroyed during a Goth raid. The site of the temple was rediscovered in 1869, and fragments of it can be found in the British Museum.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
This is the only ancient wonder whose exact location has not been established. While some believe they were purely mythical, other sources suggest they were built by King Nebuchadnezzer II around 600BC. The site may have comprised an ascending series of tiered gardens which resembled a large green mountain rising from the centre of ancient Babylon, near present-day Hillah in Iraq. If the gardens did exist at all, they were destroyed soon after the first century AD.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280BC and 247BC, the Lighthouse of Alexandria measured up to 137 metres in height, making it one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for centuries. It was damaged by three earthquakes between 956 and 1323, surviving as a ruin until 1480, when the last of its stones was used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay, which still stands on the site.
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