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Pyramids of Giza:
|We have all heard about
piramids. Watched any Piramid movie recently? These are royal tombs which housed the dead
Pharaohs of Egypt are about seventy in number and lie on the western side of the
river Nile in Egypt. These monuments of unique shape and huge size extend from Giza,
opposite Cairo, to the south for some 100 km or so. These are stone monuments built on the
tomb of the Pharaohs, as the ancient Egyptians would call their kings.
Zoser was the first of the pharaohs to
have one built on the banks of the Nile at Sakkara. It is called the Step Pyramid. This
200 ft monument, built by an architect called Imhotep, is standing even after 5000 years.
Since then so many pyramids had been built. The largest and the most famous was the Great
Pyramid at Giza. It was built for the King Khufu in approximately 2500 BC. This was made
of more than two-and -a quarter million cut stone blocks, each with an average weight of
two-and-a-half tons. Some of the bigger blocks over the inside burial chamber weigh as
much as fifty tons.
The pharaohs mummified in the pyramids had many of their possessions with them, treasure
chests of priceless jewels and metals, fine potteries and elaborate clothing. These
represent 1200 years of Egyptian history. Though most of these treasures have been taken
away by grave robbers, the resting chamber of Tutankhamen, the boy-pharaoh, still bears
the most amazing riches one can imagine.
|It is here in the
valley of pyramids, lies the Sphinx.
Indeed a wonder, it is a great wingless crouching lion hewn out of solid rock. Sphinx
measures 52.6 m long and 20.1 m high. Between the two extended paws is a granite altar
with inscriptions. These inscriptions or writing on the stones apparently indicate that it
was built during the time of the Fourth Dynasty (since Menes, the founder king), around
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon:
The gardens were built within the walls of the royal palace at Babylon, the capital of
Babylonia, now in southern Iraq. Built by the side of the Euphrates River it is some 100
km away from the present city of Baghdad. This is also not far away from the present
border of the Syrian Desert of Northern Arabia. Though they did not actually
"hang" but were instead "up in the air". In fact, they were roof
gardens laid out on a series of terraces along the near-20- Km long wall. The terraces
were roofed with stone balconies on which were layered various materials, such as reeds,
bitumen, and lead, so that the irrigation water would not seep through the terraces.
Strange though, the gardens were watered by pumps from the Euphrates River.
The wonder gardens were believed to be the work, either of the semi legendary Queen
Sammu-ramat, or, King Nebuchadrezzar II. Sammu-ramat, or, Semiramis in Greek, was the
mother of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III, who reigned from 810 to 783 BC. Meanwhile,
the King Nebuchadnazzer who reigned during BC 605-561, built them to console his
wife, Amytis, For, she missed the mountains and greenery of her homeland. Though not much
of the Gardens is left in the present day ruins, descriptions are found in the narratives
of ancient writers.
Temple of Artemis(Diana):
|The Temple is
situated at Smyrna in Asia Minor at Ephesus, an ancient but now vanished city. It was
built in the fifth century B.C. during Croesus, king of Lydia, and was rebuilt after being
burned by a madman named Herostratus in 356 BC. It was created as a monument from the
plans drawn by the famous Greek architect Ctesiphon. Its size was over 350 by 180 feet.
The Artemesium was famous for its size as well as magnificent artistic works. The temple
was destroyed by invading Goths in AD 262 and was never rebuilt. Little remains of the
temple have been preserved in the British Museum.
Copies survive of the famous statue of
an un-Greek representation of a mummy-like goddess, standing stiffly straight, with her
hands extended outward. The original statue was made of gold, ebony, silver, and black
stone, the legs and hips covered by a garment decorated with reliefs of animals and bees
and the top of the body festooned with breasts; her head was adorned with a high-pillared
The Tomb of Mausolus:
The tomb is one of the Seven Wonders
of the World. The monument was the tomb of Mausolus, the tyrant of Caria in southwestern
Asia Minor. The Tomb is situated in his capital at Halicarnassus on the Eastern side of
the Aegean Sea. It was built between BC 353 and 351 by Mausolus' widow, Artemisia. The
architect was Pythius (or Pytheos). Four leading Greek artists: Scopas, Bryaxis,
Leochares, and Timotheus adorned the monument with decorations.
The mausoleum was probably destroyed by an earthquake between the 11th and the 15th
century AD, and the stones were reused in local buildings. The base of the monument was
411 feet (125 m). Its top formed a 24-step pyramid surmounted by a four-horse marble
chariot. Fragments of the mausoleum's sculpture that are preserved in the British Museum
include a frieze of battling Greeks and Amazons and a statue 10 feet (3 m) long, probably
Colossus at Rhodes:
The huge statue of the Greek sun god Helios was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It
stood in the ancient Greek city of Rhodes beside Mandrákion harbor on the Mediterranean
Sea. Created by Chares of Lyndus, the famous sculptor, the colossus was a bronze statue of
the Greek sun god Helios. It took 12 years (BC 294-282) for the statue to be complete
It was created to mark the raising of the long seizure of Rhodes in 305 BC by Demetrius I
Poliorcetes. Made of bronze and reinforced with iron, it was 105 feet[32 meters] high. and
The statue was toppled by an earthquake about 225/226 BC. The fallen Colossus was left in
place until AD 654. Then Arabian forces raided Rhodes and had the statue broken up and the
bronze sold for scrap.
Statue of Zeus:
|The statue, built
by the famous Greek sculptor Pheidias, is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of ancient
world was situated inside a temple dedicated to Zeus, the king of Greek gods. The temple
was in the valley of Olympia, in the province of Elis, 20 km or so inland from the west
coast of the southern peninsula of Greece. The statue, almost 12 m (40 feet) high and
plated with gold and ivory, featured the god sitting on an elaborate cedarwood throne
ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold, and precious stones. On his outstretched right hand
was a statue of Nike (Victory), and in the god's left hand was a sceptre on which an eagle
was perched. The statue, which took eight years to construct, was noted for the divine
majesty and goodness it expressed.
The discovery in the 1950s of the
remains of Phidias' workshop at Olympia confirmed the statue's date of about 430 BC. The
temple was destroyed in AD 426, and the statue, of which no accurate copies survive, may
have been destroyed then or in a fire at Constantinople (now Istanbul) about 50 years
Pharaos of Alexandra :
It is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous lighthouse in
antiquity. It is basically a white marble lighthouse or watch tower on the island of
Pharos. Situated in the port of Alexandria, Egypt, the lighthouse was destroyed by an
earthquake in the 1300s. It was built by Sostratus of Cnidus, perhaps for the king Ptolemy
I Soter of Egypt, But it was finished during the reign of Soter's son Ptolemy II in
about 280 BC. The whole of the sculptor was completed by the king Ptolemy
The lighthouse is said to have been more than 350 feet (110 metres) high. The only taller
man-made structure at the time would have been the pyramids of Giza. According to the
ancient sources, the lighthouse was built in three stages, all sloping slightly inward
from the base. A broad spiral staircase led to the top, where a fire burned at night.
Some descriptions report that the lighthouse was topped by a huge statue, possibly
representing either Alexander the Great or Ptolemy I Soter in the form of the Greek sun
god Helios. In the Middle Ages sultan Ahmed ibn Touloun replaced the beacon with a
small mosque. The Pharos was still standing in the 12th century, but by AD 1477 the Mamluk
sultan Qa'it Bay built a fort from its ruins.