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Monday, July 10, 2017
Last week we looked at the seven wonders of the modern world. Today let's look at a trickier topic; The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It's trickier because only one of the ancient wonders is still standing.
For the rest we have to rely on historical descriptions and speculation.
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Today's Random Fact:
1. Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.
It is the one and only Wonder which does not require a description by early historians and poets. It is the one and only Wonder that does not need speculations concerning its appearance, size, and shape. It is the oldest, yet it is the only surviving of the Seven Ancient Wonders. It is the Great Pyramid of Giza.
2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon just outside of modern day Baghdad, Iraq.
Fruits and flowers... Waterfalls... Gardens hanging from the palace terraces... Exotic animals... This is the picture of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in most people's minds. It may be surprising to know that they might have never existed except in the minds of Greek poets and historians!
3. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia on the west coast of modern Greece.
This is the statue of the god in whose honor the Ancient Olympic games were held. It was located on the land that gave its very name to the Olympics. At the time of the games, wars stopped, and athletes came from Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Sicily to celebrate the Olympics and to worship their king of gods: Zeus.
4. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus outside of Izmir in Turkey.
Is it simply a temple? How could it take its place among other unique structures such as the Pyramid, the Hanging Gardens, and the Colossus of Rhodes? For the people who actually visited it, the answer was simple. It was not just a temple... It was the most beautiful structure on earth... It was built in honor of the Greek goddess of hunting, wild nature, and fertility. That was the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in the city of Bodrum in Turkey.
Similar to the Great Pyramid, we are now visiting the burial place of an ancient king. Yet the Mausoleum is different - so different from the Pyramid that it earned its reputation - and a spot within the list - for other reasons. Geographically, it is closer to the Temple of Artemis... And it was the beauty of the tomb rather than its size that fascinated its visitors for years.
6. The Colossus of Rhodes at the entrance of the harbor of Rhodes in Greece.
From its building to its destruction lies a time span of merely 56 years. Yet the colossus earned a place in the famous list of Wonders. "But even lying on the ground, it is a marvel", said Pliny the Elder. The Colossus of Rhodes was not only a gigantic statue. It was rather a symbol of unity of the people who inhabited that beautiful Mediterranean island -- Rhodes.
7. The Lighthouse of Alexandria in the city of Alexandria in Egypt.
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one had a practical use in addition to its architectural elegance: The Lighthouse of Alexandria. For sailors, it ensured a safe return to the Great Harbor. For architects, it meant even more: it was the tallest building on Earth. And for scientists, it was the mysterious mirror that fascinated them most... The mirror which reflection could be seen more than 50 km (35 miles) off-shore.