The Seven Wonders of the World is a list of remarkable constructions of classical antiquity given by various authors in guidebooks or poems popular among ancient Hellenic tourists. Although the list, in its current form, did not stabilize until the Renaissance, the first such lists of seven wonders date from the 2nd to 1st century B.C.
Unfortunately, only one of those ancient wonders is still standing (the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt). So Australian travel insurance company Budget Direct decided to recreate these ancient attractions for modern culture-lovers.
Designers and 3D-modelers have done extensive research, making sure they got the background, the architecture, and the measurements just right.
The results are truly amazing:
1. Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name, by Chares of Lindos in 280 B.C. It was constructed to celebrate its successful defense against Demetrius Poliorcetes, who had besieged it for a year with a large army and navy.
According to most contemporary descriptions, the Colossus stood approximately 70 cubits, or 33 meters (108 feet) high—the approximate height of the modern Statue of Liberty from feet to crown—making it the tallest statue of the ancient world. It collapsed during the earthquake of 226 B.C., although parts of it were preserved.
2. Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops, is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt. Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10- to 20-year period concluding around 2560 B.C.
Initially standing at 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest manmade structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 A.D. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by limestone casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure.
3. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were described as a remarkable feat of engineering with an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, resembling a large green mountain constructed of mudbricks. It was said to have been built in the ancient city of Babylon, near present-day Hillah, Iraq.
According to one legend, the Hanging Gardens were built alongside a grand palace known as the Marvel of Mankind, by King Nebuchadnezzar II (who ruled between 605 and 562 B.C), for his Median wife Queen Amytis, because she missed the green hills and valleys of her homeland. The construction of the Hanging Gardens has also been attributed to the legendary queen Semiramis, who supposedly ruled Babylon in the 9th century B.C.
4. Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, sometimes called the Pharos of Alexandria, was a lighthouse built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom, during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (280–247 B.C.). It has been estimated to be at least 100 meters (330 ft.) in overall height. For many centuries it was one of the tallest manmade structures in the world.
The lighthouse was severely damaged by three earthquakes between A.D. 956 and 1323 and became an abandoned ruin. It was the third longest surviving ancient wonder (after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Great Pyramid of Giza), surviving in part until A.D. 1480, when the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site.
5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 B.C. in Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Achaemenid Empire, and his sister-wife Artemisia II of Caria. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene. Its elevated tomb structure is derived from the tombs of neighboring Lycia, a territory Mausolus had invaded and annexed circa 360 B.C..
The Mausoleum was approximately 45 meters (148 ft.) in height, and the four sides were adorned with sculptural reliefs, each created by a different renowned Greek sculptor. It was destroyed by successive earthquakes from the 12th to the 15th century, the last surviving of the six destroyed wonders.
6. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a giant seated figure, about 12.4 meters (41 ft.) tall, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 B.C. at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus there. A chryselephantine sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels on a wooden framework, it represented the god Zeus on a cedarwood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold, and precious stones.
The statue was lost and destroyed during the 5th century A.D.; details of its form are known only from ancient Greek descriptions and representations on coins.
7. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis was a Greek temple dedicated to an ancient, local form of the hunter goddess Artemis. It was located in Ephesus (near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey). It was completely rebuilt twice, once after a devastating flood and 300 years later after an act of arson.
The latest and greatest version was built in 323 B.C. By 401 A.D. it had been ruined or destroyed. Only foundations and fragments of the last temple remain at the site.