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7 Wonders of the World

     Seven Wonders of the World, works of art and architecture regarded by ancient Greek and Roman observers as the most extraordinary structures of antiquity.

     Ancient Greeks and Romans agreed that people had created seven great wonders in the world. Since these observers never traveled to India, China or America, their list included only the wonders of their own "world"-the lands on or near the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. But in that region there were many remarkable masterpieces of sculpture and engineering. These monuments were listed as the top seven by the ancients:

(1) The Pyramids of Egypt, built at Giza during the 4th Dynasty (circa 2680-c. 2544 BC) are the oldest of the seven wonders and the only ones remaining intact today (see Pyramids).
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(2) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, perhaps built by King Nebuchadnezzar II about 600 BC, were a mountainlike series of planted terraces.
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(3) The 12-m (40-ft) Statue of Zeus (mid-5th century BC) by the Greek sculptor Phidias was the central feature of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece.
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(4) The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Greece (356 BC), which combined great size with elaborate ornamentation, was destroyed by the Goths in AD 262.
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(5) The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (circa 353 BC) was a monumental marble tomb, decorated by the leading sculptor of the age, for King Mausolus of Caria in Asia Minor; only fragments remain.
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(6) The Colossus of Rhodes was a 30-m (100-ft) bronze statue of the Greek sun god Helios, erected about 280 BC to guard the entrance to the harbor at Rhodes; it was destroyed about 55 years later.
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(7) The Pharos of Alexandria (circa 280 BC), located on an island in the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt, was a famous ancient lighthouse standing more than 134 m (440 ft) tall; it was destroyed in the 14th century.
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    Most of the ancient wonders have not stood the test of time. The Temple of Artemis was destroyed in AD 262 by Goths, and the Statue of Zeus was destroyed two centuries later. The Colossus of Rhodes fell down in an earthquake after standing barely half a century-the remains were sold for scrap by Arabs in 653 AD. The Pharos of Alexandria fared better, lasting until about the 14th century AD. Time reduced the gardens of Babylon to rubble. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was most likely destroyed by an earthquake sometime between 1100 and 1500 AD. Broken parts of the tomb were used in local buildings, and only a few fragments survive, preserved at the British Museum in London. The demise of these monuments makes the surviving wonder, the great pyramids, all the more wondrous.

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