Wonders of ancient world

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The Pyramids of Giza:
We have all heard about great piramids of Egypt. 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 2500 B.C.
 


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. 


The 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 headdress


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 of Mausolus. 


The 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 MandrĂ¡kion 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 stood . 
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. 

The 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 later.
 

The 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 Philadelphus. 
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.

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