Did You Know? – Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – Part 2

Joann Wolwowicz


We last left off on our trip through the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with three wonders left to learn about. The three remaining wonders include the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria.


The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus may not be a topic you know much about, but this tomb was a tomb like no other. Located in what is now southeastern Turkey, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built by Artemisia for her husband, Mausolus, the king of Carnia in Asia Minor. The mausoleum was made entirely of white marble and is thought to have been about 135 feet high. The building’s design consisted of three rectangular layers. The first layer was a 60-foot base of steps, followed by a middle layer of 36 Ionic columns and a stepped, pyramid-shaped roof. At the very top of the roof lay the tomb, decorated by the work of four sculptors and a 20-foot marble rendition of a four-horse chariot. The mausoleum was largely destroyed in an earthquake in the 13th century, but its remains were later used in the fortification of a castle.


The Colossus of Rhodes was an enormous bronze sculpture of the sun god Helios built by the Rhodians over 12 years in the third century B.C. The city was said to be the target of a Macedonian siege early in the fourth century B.C. and, according to legend, the Rhodians sold the tools and equipment left behind by the Macedonians to pay for the Colossus. The statue was, at 100 feet, the tallest of the ancient world. It was completed around 280 B.C. and stood for sixty years until it was toppled in an earthquake. Sadly, it was never rebuilt. Hundreds of years later, Arabs invaded Rhodes and sold the remains of the statue as scrap metal. Because of this, archeologists do not know much about the exact location of the statue or what it looked like.


The last wonder of the world was located on a small island called Pharos near the city of Alexandria. The Lighthouse of Alexandria was completed around 270 B.C. During the reign of Ptolemy II, the lighthouse helped to guide Nile River ships in and out of the city’s busy harbor. Ancient coins on which the lighthouse was depicted have helped archeologists deduce that the structure had three tiers: a square level at the bottom, an octagonal level in the middle, and a cylindrical top. Above that stood a 16-foot statue, most likely of Ptolemy II or Alexander the Great, for whom the city was named. Estimates of the lighthouse’s height have ranged from 200 to 600 feet, but most modern scholars believe it was about 380 feet tall. The lighthouse was gradually destroyed during a series of earthquakes from 956 to 1323. Some of its remains have been discovered at the bottom of the Nile.


And there you have it. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one in existence today, and many of them have very little proof that they even existed. Perhaps that is the reason that throughout the recent years, a project was attempted to update the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, by making a new list with modern wonders. The winners of the poll were announced in 2007 and included the following Seven Wonders of the Modern World: Chichen Itza, Christ the Redeemer, Colosseum, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Petra, and the Taj Majal.