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The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Seven wonders of the Ancient World are an ancient tourist itinerary compiled in the second century B.C. They take in sights in Egypt, Greece, Asia [modern Turkey] and the Aegean Islands. Only one of them stands nowadays, the others having been destroyed by a combination of earthquakes, wars and human malpractice. This article provides an insight into the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Mediterranean World

The tourist industry in ancient times Tourism began to develop for rich people in the last few centuries. Soon, certain individuals were publishing guide books. Two writers, Antipater and Philon promoted the seven wonders. Though versions have varied, the accepted list is from these two writers. Egypt and the Greek Islands Two ancient wonders are found here. Visiting Egypt, you saw the Pharos of Alexandria, a magnificent lighthouse whose fire directed sailors to the safety of harbour. The second on this journey, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest wonder and the only one still standing was accessed by a boat journey along the Nile. Travelling north, travelers would arrive at Rhodes where they would see the Colossus. This was a man-shaped statue standing on two towers which functioned as a lighthouse. Asia What the Romans called Asia, moderns call Turkey. Here, we find two wonders. There is the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Mausolus was a satrap, an important official of the Persian empire which ruled the area before Greek and later Roman conquest. This was a spectacular building. However, at Ephesus, there was the temple of Artemis which was still a functioning temple. This goddess, known as Diana of the Ephesians was the centre of an enormously popular cult mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

Bbylon and Zus

Moving beyond Asia, tourists would visit the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This was an artificial mountain garden erected by a one-time Babylonian king to please his mountain-born queen. It was irrigated by a constant succession of slaves who took water from bottom to top. The final wonder was the enormous statue of the father of the gods, Zeus at Olympia, the foot of mount Olympus. This was at that time in a functioning temple. Only the great pyramid survives. Both the Pharos and the Colossus were damaged in earthquakes, and though a version of the Colossus was reconstructed, it was again damaged by earthquake and ultimately destroyed by crusaders. Earthquakes destroyed the Hanging Gardens and the Mausoleum. The temple of Artemis was damaged by a Gothic raid in the third century and rebuilt. However in 401, it was destroyed by a mob in a riot. The statue of Zeus was destroyed but historians are unclear as to how and when.

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