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The Wonders of the Ancient World




Acropolis - provided a place of refuge for townspeople during times of war.
Location: Athens, Greece

Colosseum - original name: Flavian Amphitheatre. Purpose: concerts, plays, chariot races and gladiatorial combats.
Location: Rome, Italy

Pyramids of Egypt - tombs for the Egyptian pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. Built during Egypt's 4th dynasty
Location: near Cairo, Egypt

Great Wall Of China - Built for defense purposes, the Great wall of China is over 6,000 kilometers in length (about 4000 miles), 7.5 meters tall (25 ft)and 4.5 to 9 meters (15-30 feet)
Location: China

Sphinx - Viewed as protectors and guardians, the lesser sphinxes are often seen at temple entrances.
Location: near Cairo, Egypt

Stonehenge - The world's first analog computer, used for calculating eclipses, as an almanac and as a calendar.
Location: near London, UK

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon - built by Nebuchadnezzar II, 8th–6th century BC, in what is now Iraq. Questions have arisen on authenticity of existence.

The Statue of Zeus - at Olympia, carved by the Greek sculptor Phidias, 430 BC, moved to Constantinople where it was lost to a fire.

The Temple of Artemis - 440 BC, at Ephesus, in what is now Turkey. It took 120 years to build, and was started by King Croesus of Lydia. The temple of Artemis at Ephesus was destroyed in 356 BC in an act of arson committed by Herostratus.

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus - tomb of Mausolus, the Persian satrap of Caria, built between 353 and 351 BC in what is now Turkey. For 16 centuries, the Mausoleum remained in good condition until an earthquake caused some damage to the roof and colonnade. In the early fifteenth century, the Knights of St John of Malta invaded the region and built a massive crusader castle. When they decided to fortify it in 1494, they used the stones of the Mausoleum.

The Colossus of Rhodes - a huge statue of Helios, built 282-226 BC, located at the entrance of the harbor of the Mediterranean island of Rhodes in Greece. The construction of the Colossus took 12 years. A strong earthquake hit Rhodes about 226 BC and broke the Colossus at its weakest point -the knee. The Rhodians received an immediate offer from Ptolemy III Eurgetes of Egypt to cover all restoration costs for the monument. However, Ptolemy's offer was declined.

The Parthenon - The Parthenon is of Pentelic marble, of a purity of texture and color which astonishes all visitors. No photographs and no descriptions can prepare one for the unique golden glow of the Parthenon's columns..
Location: Athens, Greece

The Pharos of Alexandria _ lighthouse built 280 BC on the island of Pharos off Alexandria, by Sostratus of Cnidus, in what is now Egypt. Accounts indicate that the lighthouse was the victim of earthquakes. It stood for 1,500 years but was damaged by tremors in 365 and 1303 A.D. From what we can tell, the final collapse came in 1326.

The Taj Mahal Located at the city of Agra in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful masterpieces of architecture in the world. Agra, situated about 200 km south of New Delhi. During the reign of Shah Jehan, Shah Jehan ordered the building of the Taj, in honor of his wife, Arjumand Banu.

Petra-City carved in the pink sandstone of Wadi Araba in Jordan, the structure is 40 m high and about 30x30 m wide. Its architecture has been certainly strongly influenced by the Romans, which suggests it was built around the First century AD. The city includes other fascinating monuments and structures, such as Urn Tomb and the Royal Tombs, the Colonnade Street, the Temples of Dushara and Al-Uzza, and the High Place of Sacrifice.

The Mayan Temples The Maya ruins of Tikal are hidden deep in the rainforests of Guatemala. Tikal was home to perhaps 100,000 people. The Maya world had thrived for nearly 2000 years. Without the use of the cartwheel or metal tools, the Maya had built massive stone structures. They were accomplished scientists. No one knows the reason of their collapse.

Aztec Temple-After the temple was finished, a great event was thrown. Even though the number of visitors and the number of sacrificed people are exagerated, there is no doubt this was the most lucid event in the history of the Aztecs. The celebrations lasted four days, in which time all the prisoners that had been captured in four years of wars (according to the Aztecs, four towns were sacrificed) were sacrificed at the top of the temple. The prisoners were made to stand in lines to wait for their death. So many were the persons sacrificed that the people could not eat all the flesh that they were given.There is nothing left standing of what the temple was; except for a few ruins.

Abu Simbel Temple in Egypt-dedicated to the glory of pharao Ramses II. Though the temple is officially dedicated to the triad Amon-Ra, Ptah and Ra-Harakhte, its front is dominated by four gigantic statues of the great pharaoh himself. The central entrance leads into a large hall with massive pillars fronted by Osiris figures of the king. The temple's orientation is arranged in such a way that twice every year on 22 February and 22 October the earliest sun-rays shine on the back wall of the innermost chamber, thus illuminating the statues of the four gods seated there.

Angkor Wat-Angkor Wat, one of the most beautiful and mysterious historical sites in the world. Located over 192 miles to the North-West of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, Angkor has been "protected" from tourism, and the customs and the cultures of the people living there have not changed much. It is now known that Angkor, was the great capital city of the Khmer empire from the city's founding in about AD 880 until about 1225. The compound at Angkor Wat covers an area of 1,500 by 1,300 m (4,920 by 4,265 ft) and is surrounded by a vast moat 180 m (590 ft) wide.

Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France-Legend has it that, in 708, the Bishop of Avranche was visited three times in his sleep by the archangel Saint Michael, who implored him to build a sanctuary in his honor on the Mont Tombe, a small, rocky islet near the coast of Normandy. The Bishop obeyed by having a crypt excavated and a chapel erected on the mountain’s summit, thus transforming the Mont Tombe (a mysterious spot once used as a cemetary or a druidic place of worship) into the Mont Saint Michel, light of Christendom.

The Moai Statues in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile -Easter Island is over 2,000 miles from the nearest population center, (Tahiti and Chile), making it one of the most isolated places on Earth. A triangle of volcanic rock in the South Pacific - it is best known for the giant stone monoliths, known as Moai, that dot the coastline. The early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). Admiral Roggeveen, who came upon the island on Easter Day in 1722, named it Easter Island. Today, the land, people and language are all referred to locally as Rapa Nu.

The Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines - Located north of Manila in the Philippines, Ifugao province is famous for the handiwork of its people, who increased cultivable lands by carving gigantic rice terraces from the sides of mountains. For over 2,000 years, the people of Batad have built these terraces, one stone at a time. This growing, living stairway stretches far beyond what the eye can see. Taking an estimated 2,000 years to build, the still-productive rice terraces rise from the valley floor to heights of up to 3,000 feet, a feat of engineering so substantial that some call them the eighth wonder of the world. The only man made wonder which was literally sculpted from the earth. A scarcity of water has led to some rice patties drying up.

The Borobudur Temple in Indonesia -Based on the inscription dated 842 AD, Casparis suggested that Borobudur was one time a place for praying. Borobudur was built by Sanmaratungga in the 8th century, and belongs to Buddha Mahayana. Borobudur was revealed by Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles in 1814. The temple was found in ruined condition and was buried. The overall height was 42 meters, but was only 34.5 meters after restoration, and had the dimension of 123 x 123 meters (15,129 square meters). There were 10 floors. The first floor up to the sixth floor was square form, the seventh to the tenth floor were round form.

The Throne of Persepolis-Founded in the Sixth Century BC by the Kings of the First Persian Empire (the Achaemenids), Persepolis is located 60 km northeast of Shiraz in Iran. The present-day Persian name, Takht-e-Jamshid, means "Throne of Jamshid", a legendary Iranian King. However, the ancient name of the city was Parsa, or Pars' City, hence the Greek name Persepolis.

The Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque, Mexico-Surrounded by dense forests dominated by mahogany, cedar and sapodilla trees, frequently shrouded in fog, the ruins are among the most aesthetically impressive in Mesoamerica. Information obtained from inscriptions on the structures relates their construction to the rulers of Palenque.

The Suez Canal-In 1859, Egyptian workers started working on the construction of the Canal in conditions described by historians as slave labor, and the project was completed around 1867. Since then, the Canal, which stretches 167 kms across the Egyptian desert, has been widened twice. Today, approximately 100 ships cross the canal daily, and, with the threat of war long gone, the cities and beaches along the Bitter Lakes and the Canal serve as a summer resort for tourists.

The Red Fort in India -The largest of old Delhi's monuments is the Lal Quila, or the Red Fort, the thick red sandstone walls of which, bulging with turrets and bastions, have withstood the vagaries of time, and nature. The Lal Quila rises above a wide dry moat, in the northeast corner of the original city of Shahjahanabad. Its walls extend up to two kilometers, and vary in height from 18 meters on the river side to 33 meters on the city side.

The Red Fort in India -The largest of old Delhi's monuments is the Lal Quila, or the Red Fort, the thick red sandstone walls of which, bulging with turrets and bastions, have withstood the vagaries of time, and nature. The Lal Quila rises above a wide dry moat, in the northeast corner of the original city of Shahjahanabad. Its walls extend up to two kilometers, and vary in height from 18 meters on the river side to 33 meters on the city side.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy -The tower was intended to stand vertically, to serve as a bell tower, but began leaning soon after construction started in August of 1173. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure in Pisa's Campo dei Miracoli (field of Miracles). The height of the tower is 55.86 m from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m and at the top 2.48 m. Its weight is estimated at 14,500 tonnes. The tower has 294 steps.

The Inca city of Machu Picchu, Peru -Machu Picchu (sometimes called the "Lost City of the Incas") is a well-preserved pre-Columbian Inca ruin located on a high mountain ridge, at an elevation of about 2,350 m (7,710 ft).


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