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The Seven Wonders: New Style or Classic?

As Andy noted yesterday, we've all been so wrapped up in plotting out the next edition of the World Almanac that we haven't had much spare time for blogging. We're hoping to return to a regular (if somewhat lighter) posting schedule next week, so keep coming back!

7wonders.jpgFirst up on my personal list of blog-worthy events from recent months: the votes are in, and the NewOpenWorld Foundation has named The New Seven Wonders of the World (announced, naturally, on 7/7/07):

  • Chichen Itza (Yucatán, Mexico)
  • Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Great Wall of China (China)
  • Machu Picchu (Cuzco, Perú)
  • Petra (Jordan)
  • Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  • Taj Mahal (Agra, India)

Take the results with a grain of salt, since people could cast as many votes as they liked—and there is no connection with UNESCO's preservation-oriented World Heritage program. But the new list is an interesting collection, nevertheless. Surprised by any of the "winners," or by the conspicuous absence of other famous landmarks? Talk it up in the comments... and hit the jump for a little extra information on the "classic" Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, straight from The World Almanac.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

These ancient works of art and architecture were considered awe-inspiring by the Greek and Roman world of the first few centuries BCE. Later classical writers disagreed as to which works belonged, but the following were usually included:

The Pyramids of Egypt: The only surviving ancient Wonder, these monumental structures of masonry, located at Giza on the W bank of the Nile R above Cairo, were built from c. 2700 to 2500 BCE as royal tombs. Three—Khufu (Cheops), Khafra (Chephren), and Menkaura (Mycerimus)—were often grouped as the first Wonder of the World. The largest, the Great Pyramid of Khufu covers 13 acres. It is estimated to contain 2.3 million blocks of stone, the stones themselves averaging 2½ tons and some weighing 30 tons. Its construction reputedly took 100,000 laborers 20 years.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon: These gardens were laid out on a brick terrace 400 ft square and 75 ft above the ground. To irrigate the plants, screws were turned to lift water from the Euphrates R. The gardens were probably built by King Nebuchadnezzar II about 600 BCE. The Walls of Babylon, long, thick, and made of colorfully glazed brick, were also considered by some among the Seven Wonders.

The Pharos (Lighthouse) of Alexandria: This structure was designed about 270 BCE, during the reign of Ptolemy II, by the Greek architect Sostratos. Estimates of its height range from 200 to 600 ft.

The Colossus of Rhodes: A bronze statue of the sun god Helios, the Colossus was worked on for 12 years in the third cent. BCE by the sculptor Chares. It was probably 120 ft high. A symbol of the city of Rhodes at its height, the statue stood on a promontory overlooking the harbor.

The Temple of Artemis (Diana) at Ephesus: This largest and most complex temple of ancient times was built about 550 BCE and was made of marble except for its tile-covered wooden roof. It was begun in honor of a non-Hellenic goddess who later became identified with the Greek goddess of the same name. Ephesus was one of the greatest of the Ionian cities.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus: The source of our word mausoleum, this marble tomb was built in what is now SE Turkey by Artemisia for her husband Mausolus, king of Caria in Asia Minor, who died in 353 BCE. About 135 ft high, the tomb was adorned with the works of 4 sculptors.

The Statue of Zeus (Jupiter) at Olympia: This statue showed Zeus seated on a throne. His flesh was made of ivory, his robe and ornaments of gold. Reputedly 40 ft high, the statue was made by Phidias and was placed in the great temple of Zeus in the sacred grove of Olympia about 457 BCE.


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