The history of the Seven Wonders is a complex one. Many different lists by different people have reached us today, but the traditional Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are credited to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (484-425BCE) and Callimachus of Cyrene (305-240BCE).
The Pyramids of Giza from the Southwest by Francis FrithThe J. Paul Getty Museum
The wonders were listed in guidebooks and poems written for ancient tourists travelling throughout the Mediterranean, an area that encompassed the former empires of Egypt, Persia, and Babylonia - but for Greeks, this was the entire known world.
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The wonders were chosen for their ingenuity and monumentality. Even today, many think it remarkable that these structures were built. With that in mind, let's discover the wonders!
The Pyramids in Egypt by Antonio TempestaLos Angeles County Museum of Art
The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid is the oldest monument on the list, and the only to survive to the present day. It was ancient even to the ancient Greeks, having been built around 2560 BC, and attracted many tourists from across the Hellenic world. Click and drag to explore.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Perhaps the most elusive of all the wonders. The location, age, appearance, and even the existence of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are speculated. If, as many artists and poets want to believe, they existed, they may have stood at either the city of Hillah or Nineveh, in Iraq.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Philip GalleMuseum Plantin-Moretus
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was the last of the wonders to be built and the first to be destroyed. It fell down in the earthquake of 226BCE, and lay in ruins for another 800 years. It may once have stood here, at the entrance to the ancient harbour, now the Greek Fort of St Nicholas
The Temple of Artemis
Barely anything remains of the Temple of Artemis, near Selçuk in modern-day Turkey, but this isn't a new development. The temple had been destroyed twice in antiquity, by a flood and by arson, before it was listed as a wonder. It finally fell to vandalism and stone robbing.
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus was the enormous central icon of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, home of the gods. The chryselephantine statue was built by the famous Greek sculptor Phidias, and made from ivory, gold, and precious stones.
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The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
This structure is where the word mausoleum actually originated. It was built between 353-350BCE as the tomb of Mausolus, a governor of the Achaemenid Empire. It was the last of the lost wonders to be destroyed, due to a series of earthquakes between the 12-15th Centuries.
Mausoleum van Halicarnassus by Philips Galle, Hadrianus JuniusRijksmuseum
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
At the very tip of this spit of land stood the Lighthouse of Alexandria, its flame guiding ships safely to harbour. For centuries, it was one of the tallest structures built by humans. It fell to ruins, and its stones were used in the construction of the present-day fortress.