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7 Classic Wonders of the World

7 Classic Wonders of the World

Have you ever heard of the ‘seven wonders of the ancient world’? It concerns seven remarkable constructions built during classical antiquity. Then you have to think of construction and works of art. Then why seven? The number seven had a magical meaning for the Greeks. They knew seven days of the week, seven planets and seven colours. Therefore no top 10, but a top 7. Below you will find an overview of the seven classic wonders of the worldAll but two of these were built by Greeks.

Pyramid of Cheops – 2584-2561 BC

photo: Nina Aldin Thune / Wikicommons

Unique to the Pyramid of Cheops is that we can still see this wonder of the world. If you know that this is the oldest building of the wonders of the world, it makes it very special that this pyramid is still standing. Originally the Pyramid of Cheops was part of a complex consisting of three large and six small pyramids. Unfortunately, the distinctive outer layer of white Tura limestone has been lost over the years. 

According to the stories, the three great pyramids were intended as tombs for the kings Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus. Although most pharaohs were buried with impressive treasures, no reference to a funerary monument has ever been found in the Pyramid of Cheops. A so-called sunbark has been found just outside the pyramid. This may have been the boat in which Cheops’ body was transported to his grave. 

The latter is sometimes mentioned as the originator of this pyramid. That explains the name of this classic wonder of the world. In total, it took 20 years to complete the Pyramid of Cheops. The pyramid is about 147 meters high and 230 meters wide. It is estimated that 2,300 came.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon – circa 600 BC

babylon gardens

According to the stories, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon once bloomed in the place we refer to today as the city of Baghdad in Iraq. It would be a series of terraces surrounded by walls – on which trees, shrubs and plants grew – complete with towers. These terraces were built in such a way that the gardens appeared to hang over the banks of the Euphrates River. The trees, shrubs and plants were supplied with water via an ingenious irrigation system consisting of underground channels. 

Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had really spared no expense to please his wife Amytes! Amytes felt a little depressed every now and then. Her husband suspected that she missed her old environment – ​​in which there was a lot of greenery. What all the wonders of the world have in common, is that they are described quite extensively by various writers of antiquity. For example, we read of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the works of Strabo and Diodorus Siculus respectively. Incidentally, it ends with these descriptions; Furthermore there are little concrete evidence has been found for the existence of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon .

Temple of Artemis in Ephesus – circa 550 BC


The Temple of Artemis – also called Artemision – is known as the largest temple building of antiquity. Construction was completed around 550 BC. The Temple of Artemis was intended to honor the virgin hunting, fertility and moon goddess Artemis (Diana). She was considered very important to the Greeks. Unfortunately, the building was unable to survive. For example, in 356 BC the temple was set on fire by Herostratos. His main concern was to tear down one of the wonders of the world. This act would earn him an entry in the history books. 

Nearly 30 years later, the people of Ephesus decided to rebuild their temple. Unfortunately, their renovation work was destroyed by the Goths in 262 BC. Again the Ephesians rebuilt the temple of Artemis. Around 400 this people converted to Christianity. Many – known as pagan – temples were then closed. To reinforce this fact even more, the temple of Artemis was (again) demolished. The Christians used the stones for the construction of other buildings. You will also find eight of the approximately 18 meters high, green pillars in the Aya Sofia. Only a single column remains of the original Temple of Artemis.

Statue of Zeus at Olympia – 466 to 435 BC

statue of zeus

The statue of Zeus was part of a complex consisting of a temple and several statues. The temple was built in the period 466 to 456 BC. In 435 BC the statues followed. Of all the statues, that of Zeus – literally and figuratively – stood out the most. This statue was no less than nine meters high. The temple of Zeus was built around the image; the statue was, as it were, trapped between the internal columns of the temple. The statue of Zeus was created by the Athenian sculptor Phidias. He used materials such as gold and ivory. The eyes were formed by precious stones. 

More concretely, the statue represented the supreme god Zeus enthroned on Mount Olympus. According to Greek mythology – based on works by the poet Homer – this mountain was the home of the gods. They would stay there in great luxury! Every now and then the supreme god Zeus fired his thunderbolts downwards. When the Greeks converted to Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries AD, the worship of Zeus at Olympia came to an end. The statue was transferred to Constantinople, where it was lost in a fire in 475.

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