FAQ of the seven wonders of the world



What are the 7 wonders of the ancient world?

They were all built between the third millennium and the third century. In the order of construction, there are:

The Pyramid of Cheops

The Hanging gardens of Babylon

The Statue of Zeus

The Temple of Artémis

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

The Colossus of Rhodes

The Lighthouse of Alexandria

In the initial list, written by Philo of Bystism in the 3rd century BC, there was not the lighthouse of Alexandria, which was not yet built, but in its place there were the Remparts of Babylon, which are more a part of it.

Why were the ramparts of Babylon removed from the list?

We do not know! it is not known when and why they were replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria. However, we know why this lighthouse came into the list, it is simply because it was built after the establishment of this list. This lighthouse so subdued people at the time that it was also considered one of the wonders. It should be noted that the lighthouse had a role of propaganda, it had to symbolize the power of Egypt and the fact that it is at the entrance of the main port of the country (if one can speak of country at that time) it was seen by most travelers in the world, so its popularity was rapid. The ramparts of Babylon, meanwhile, were gradually forgotten after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

Learn more about the ramparts of Babylon.

Where are the 7 wonders of the world?

They are all in Mediterranean Europe or Asia Minor. Currently 2 are in Egypt, 2 are in Greece, 2 in Turkey, 1 in Iraq. Of course, at the time they were in different civilizations, depending on the time when they were built.

The pyramid of Kheops was built in ancient Egypt, while the lighthouse of Alexandria was built in ancient Egypt. The statue of Zeus was built in ancient Greece, as was the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, in Caria, under Persian rule.

Learn more about the location of the 7 wonders.

Who wrote the list?

It is unknown, but it is attributed to Philo of Byzantium, a Greek author of the third century BC, who quoted earlier authors. His list was based on several other lists which he would have compiled. This document is known because there is a copy kept at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

Lear more about: The document of Philon of Bysance.

What is the document of Philo of Byzantium?

It is a booklet of 7 pages written in Punic, a language lost today. He began with an introduction and then wrote a paragraph of about twenty lines for each wonder. Unfortunately the last page is lost, we do not have the description of the last monument inscribed, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

Lear more about: The document of Philon of Bysance.

What are the 7 wonders of the modern world?

In 2007 a list of seven new wonders of the world was given. It was about :

The great wall (China)

The city of Petra (Jordania)

Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)

The Machu Picchu (Peru)

Chichen Itza (Mexico)

The Colosseum (Roma)

Taj Mahal (India)

Learn more about the seven moderns wonders.

What role has UNESCO played in the choice?

Absolutely none. UNESCO, which is responsible for inventorying and promoting and protecting World Heritage, has had absolutely no role whatsoever. The establishment of this new list was a private decision of a Swiss businessman, Bernard Weber, who set up a foundation, the "New Seven Wonders Foundation" to launch this great international competition. But neither the sites presented nor the final choice was made in agreement with UNESCO, which rather had to defend itself of any partisan interest in this project.

Learn more about the seven moderns wonders.

How were the sites chosen?

They were chosen democratically, since everyone on Earth could vote for one of the 21 sites chosen. But the system was misled because the sites actually selected were the ones that received the most votes, but some countries have multiplied the calls to vote with their population, which has not been done by others. In addition to the introduction of automatic systems or reimbursement of calls by the governments of the said countries. The result is a choice oriented, but which nevertheless corresponds to a reality, that of a list of monuments that all could claim to be on this list.

Learn more about the seven moderns wonders.

Where is the pyramid of Cheops?

It is found in Egypt, more exactly in Cairo, the capital. The site is a large necropolis dominated by six pyramids, three of large size, all at the gates of the city.

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What size does the pyramid of Cheops?

It is really gigantic! It is a pyramid with square base of 230m of side, for 138m of height at the highest point. But initially it was even bigger: 146m. It is erosion that has reduced it, the erosion of time, quite simply. Otherwise it must be known that it occupies a ground surface of more than 5 hectares, and that its perimeter is 922m. You have a lot more numbers on the page below.

Learn more about the dimensions of the great pyramid.

What if I want accurate numbers?

You have them here: Numbers on the pyramid. There are all the detailed measurements, including angle measurements, volumes, surfaces, orientation, etc.

Where is the hanging gardens of Babylon?

It is a great mythical building that is supposed to be in the city of Babylon, in Mesopotamia, currently 100km south of Baghdad, Iraq. But the fact that this monument is the only one of the seven whose archaeological finds have not been found causes us to doubt their sites or even their existences. A recent thesis places the gardens in the city of Nineveh, formerly in Assyria.

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What did the hanging gardens of Babylon look like?

As it is the most enigmatic of the seven wonders, it is difficult to make a precise description of it, especially since the rare testimonies of the time were lost. Nowadays we have only texts containing these testimonies, they have necessarily been modified. Still, the gardens seem to have been a succession of terraces raised by heavy pillars forming a vault. On these terraces were different species of plants, which gave the impression of a garden in the sky. But most of the drawings of this period are too rudimentary for reliance, and subsequent representations are merely artistic views, without any scientific notion.

Here you have a full description:Description of the hanging gardens.

Where was the statue of Zeus?

This statue was in the temple of Zeus of Olympia, a city of the Peloponnesus. This city was particularly known in Antiquity because it was there that the Olympic Games were organized, every 4 years.

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Who built the statue of Zeus?

It is a certain Phidias, sculptor of the V century, mainly known for having conceived and manufactured this marvel of the World. But he was not at his first attempt, he had already worked on another gigantic statue (9m high "only"), the goddess Athena, an order of the city of Plataea.

Learn more about Phidias.

Where was the temple of Artemis?

The temple of Artemis was in the ancient city of Ephesus, a city that is now extinct near Selcuk, Turkey. It is nowadays an archeological site at 5Kms inland while it was at the time by the sea. It is the alluvial deposit of the local river that caused this shift of the littoral.

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What is the relationship between the temple of Artemis and Artemisia?

It's just the same thing. We talk about one or the other without distinction.

What was the materials?

The materials used were marble and wood. The marble was innovative for the time: Heavy stone and difficult to cut, it was necessary that the manufacturers invent new methods of transport to transport the stones on the site of the site. The lifting methods were also innovative because it was impossible for the time to lift loads so heavy at a height of 20m.

Learn more about the construction of Artemision.

Where was the mausoleum of Halicarnassus?

The mausoleum was in the ancient city of Halicarnassus, nowadays Bodrum, a seaside resort on the Aegean. The archaeological excavations at the end of the 19th century have made it possible to locate it precisely, the ruins lie to the north of the port, in the middle of the city. Nowadays they are visitable, it is also one of the tourist attractions of the city.

Lear more about the location of the 7 wonders.

Can we visit it?

Yes, quite, the site of the mausoleum is visitable. This is even one of Bodrum's tourist attractions. On the other hand, it is quite far from the big tourist structures, here it is relatively small and there is little to see. The site itself is littered with pieces of broken columns, and there are some rooms where one can see the pieces of the mausoleum still on the spot. There is also a film presenting the site and reconstructing the monument. Unfortunately, the finest pieces are exhibited at the British Museum in London, and it was this museum that funded excavations in the 19th century.

Lear more about archeological site.

How was the mausoleum?

It was rather large, it was a monolithic block of 38.4m by 32.5m by 53m high, divided into 3 parts: A large room downstairs, a colonnade going around the monument on the floor, and a roof to degree above. It was in the center of a large rectangular courtyard.

Read the description of the mausoleum.

For whom was it built?

Simply for King Mausole. Mausole was king of Caria, an area of the Turkish coast, formerly under Persian rule but so remote that it was relatively autonomous. Married to Artemis II (Nothing to do with the temple of Artemis), it was she who had her tomb built in her capital, Halicarnassus, now Bodrum. This funerary monument was so beautiful that not only was it incorporated in the list of the 7 wonders of the world but that this type of monument took its name: a mausoleum.

Learn more about the king Mausole.

Where was the Colossus of Rhodes?

It was on the port of the city of Rhodes, on the island of the same name. Contrary to the usual representations, this gigantic statue did not cross the entrance of the port, it would not have been possible. It is more likely that it was a little removed from the entrance of the port, clearly visible but not blocking the passage of maritime traffic.

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Who build it?

The author of the statue was Chares de Lindos. Lindos was one of the 3 cities on the island of Rhodes. This sculptor of the 3rd century BC was master in the use of realistic style, his statue wanted as real as possible. He supervised the work and it was under his responsibility that it was built.

Learn more about Charès of Lindos.

Where was the lighthouse of Alexandria?

The lighthouse of Alexandria is perfectly identified, it was at the eastern end of the island of Pharos, a small island near Alexandria to which it was connected by a dike. On both sides of the dike there were two ports, the eastern one was illuminated by this splendid lighthouse.

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Who ordered it?

It was the satrap of Egypt Ptolemy I who was at the initiative of the construction of the lighthouse of Alexandria. A satrap is a provincial governor. At the death of Alexander the Great, who had founded an empire over Eastern Europe and Asia Minor, his generals divided the empire. Ptolemy I received Egypt and made it a powerful territory. To mark this power he ordered the construction of a lighthouse, an innovative building for the time, at the entrance to the port of the main coastal city: Alexandria.

Learn more about context of the construction of the lighthouse.

Are there copies of the lighthouse?

Yes, some of the most faithful are in amusement parks where we present the monuments of the world in small formats. But real lighthouses exist, with some resemblances, and some are still used today!

Learn more about replicas of the lighthouse.

Have the ruins of the lighthouse been found?

Yes, thanks to several campaigns of underwater excavations organized by the French. It was Jean-Yves Empereur who was able to undertake explorations under the direction of the French Institute of Eastern Archeology. Thanks to this work the lighthouse was partially reconstructed, and many pieces were identified.

Learn more about the underwater excavations.

When was it destroyed?

There is no precise date as may be the case for the temple of Artemis for example. The lighthouse of Alexandria was abandoned rather quickly, the building gradually fell into ruin. Damaged by inclement weather, the earthquakes of the 14th century were the most important. It is generally considered that the one of 1303 was the one who abates the building, some ruins still standing a few decades.

Learn more about the history of the lighthouse.

Have a look at the list of the 7 wonders of the world: Discover the list.

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