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Wonders of the world

  1. Answer the following questions:

  • How can you explain the phrase “wonders of the world”?

  • Do you know any wonders of the world?

  • Where can we find wonders of the world?

  • Can you give any classification to wonders of the world? (according to different aspects).

  • Do you have your own favorite wonder of the world? What can you tell about it?

  1. Read and translate the following text. Express your opinion about it.

7 Ancient wonders of the world

The Great Pyramids

The Great Pyramids were built between 2650-2500. It is said that they were a tomb of Khufu. They are located in Giza, Egypt. The largest pyramid is 756 feet long on each side and 450 feet high. It is made up of 2,300,000 blocks, which weigh two and a half tons. It took 20 years for 100,000 slaves to build it. It required 112 men to lift each separate block.

Men that were great thieves wanted to get the hidden treasure that was hidden in the tomb. They found a small square room called the Queen's Chamber. It is a passageway. The Grand Gallery is another passageway to the King's Chamber. It is 34 feet long, 17 feet wide, and 19 feet tall. After not finding the treasure, the men got angry and tried to destroy the tomb but stopped after taking out 30 feet of stone.

No one knows what happened to King Khufu and his treasure.

Some people think that it was just an observatory, but we can't be quite sure because when people stated that, it was already over 2,000 years old. An astronomer observed a descending passageway above the Grand Gallery that could have been used for mapping the sky.

Now, except for parts of the Mausoleum and the Temple of Artemis, the Great Pyramids are the only things left standing of the 7 Ancient Wonders.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

In some stories, people say that the Hanging Gardens went hundreds of feet into the air, but through archaeological explorations people now think were probably weren't that big. The ancient city of Babylon, which was under King Nebuchadnezzar II, must have been a wonder to travelers. In 450 B.C., a historian named Herodotus wrote, "In addition to its size, Babylon surpasses any city in the known world." Herodotus said the outer walls were 80 feet thick, 320 feet high, and 56 miles in length. He said that it was wide enough for a four-horse chariot to turn. Fortresses and temples containing immense statues of solid gold were inside the inner walls.

Above the city was the famous tower of Babel, which was a temple to the God Marduk. It looked like it reached the heavens.

Archaeological examination has found that some of Herodotus's claims (the outer walls seem to be only 10 miles long and not nearly as high) might not be true. But his story does tell us how cool the features of the city appeared to those who visited it.

Accounts indicate that King Nebuchadnezzar built the garden. He ruled the city for 43 years starting in 605 B.C. According to accounts, the Gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzer to cheer up his homesick wife. Where she came from, there was green grass and mountainous plains. She found the dry, flat ground of Mesopotamia depressing. The King wanted to recreate her homeland.

Babylon rarely got rain and for the gardens to survive, it would have to have been irrigated by using water from the Euphrates River. People would have probably had to lift water very far into the air at each level. A chain pump was probably used to help. A chain pump is two large wheels on top of each other. Buckets are hung on a chain that connects the wheels. The bucket goes into the water then comes up and goes into a new pool. The empty buckets go back into the water to be refilled. The water at the top is then emptied through into a channel gate that is like a artificial stream to water the gardens.

Construction of the garden wasn't only complicated by getting water to the top, but also by having to avoid having the water wreck the foundation once it was released. Stone was difficult to get in Mesopotamian. Most of the buildings in Babel used brick.

The Temple of Zeus

The Olympic Games were made in honor of the God Zeus. They were held in the shrine to Zeus located near the west edge of Greece in a city called Peloponnesus. The statue was simple at first, but as the games became more popular everyone could tell that they would need a new, larger temple that was worthy to the king of the Gods. Between 470 B.C. and 460 B.C. a new temple was started. The maker was Libon of Elis and the masterpiece he created, The Temple of Zeus, was finished in 456 B.C. It was built on a raised rectangular platform. The sides were supported by 13 large columns and six on each end.

Though the temple was considered great, many thought that it wasn't good enough for the King of Gods.

Inside they placed a statue of Zeus, created of ivory and gold over wooden frame. The statue was 22 feet by 40 feet tall. Zeus, placed on a throne, almost touched the ceiling.

None but a few pieces of the statue remain today. They are on display at a museum.

So with everything that I have talked about, the magnificence of the temple was so great it became a landmark, therefore making it so magnificent that it became what it is known to us as one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.

T he Colossus of Rhodes

It is sometimes called "Modern Colossus," but more often called the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is somewhat like Colossus. Both were built as a celebration of freedom.

Originally, Colossus stood over 2,000 years ago at the Islands of Rhodes. It is located off of the southwestern tip is Asia Minor, where the Agean Sea meets the Mediterranean Sea. The capitol city, Rhodes, was built in 408 B.C.

In 357 B.C the island which was conquered by Mausolus of Halicarnassus (one of the other seven wonders) fell to the Persians in 340 B.C. and was finally captured by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.

The Statue of Liberty, which is the same size as Colossus, weighs 225 tons! Colossus weighed a little more. Inside the statue were several stone columns, which acted as the main supports.

In the 7th century (A.D.) the Arabs conquered Rhodes and broke up Colossus, and sold it as scrap metal. It took 900 camels to take away the statue. It was a sad ending for what was a majestic work of art.

When Alexander died at an early age people could not decide who would reign. Three people: Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigous divided the kingdom between themselves. Antigous sent his son Semetrious to capture and punish Rhodes. The war was very long and painful. The city was protected by a strong wall. The attackers were forced to use siege towers and try to climb over it. Diameters had a second tower built. The second tower stood 150 feet high and 70 feet square at the base. It carried water tanks that were used to fight fires. The tower was mounted on iron wheels, and could be rolled. When Demetrious attacked the city, defenders stopped the machine by flooding a ditch outside the wall and moving the heavy machine in the mud.

To celebrate their freedom, the Rhodians built a giant statue of their patriot God Helious. Colossus was a Latin word, meaning any statue that is larger than life size.

They spelled it "Colossos" but then changed it to "Colossus." Colossus was built in 304 B.C. and it took twelve years to build it. The statue was 110 feet high and stood on the pedestal. Colossus was posed in a traditional Greek manner: nude, wearing a spiky crown, with his eyes shaded from the bright sun with his right hand while holding a cloak over his left hand.

Colossus stood shining in the sun for 56 years. Sadly, an earthquake hit Rhodes, and the statue collapsed. Huge pieces lay in the harbor for a long time. An Egyptian king decided to pay for reconstruction, but the people of Rhodes refused. They had feared that somehow, they had offended Helious who had used the earthquake to tear it down. Out of all of the wonders, Colossus was the one that stood the least amount of time. It stood for only 56 years, but in brief time won fame throughout the entire civilized world.

T he Lighthouse of Alexandria

Alexander the Great had seventeen cities named after him. Most of them are no longer around except for Alexandria, Egypt. This city is where the Lighthouse of Alexandria stood. Alexander died in 323 B. C. The city was completed by Ptolemy Soter, the new ruler of Egypt. The city soon became rich. The city needed a symbol and a mechanism to guide the trade ships into its harbor. Ptolemy started building the lighthouse in 290 B.C. It was completed 20 years later and was the first lighthouse of the world. It was also the tallest building with the exception of the Great Pyramid.

A man named Sostrates of Knidos designed the lighthouse. He thought it needed to have his name carved in the foundation. But Ptollemy II, who ruled after his father, refused and wanted his own name carved in. Sostrates, being a clever man, had this inscription put on the lighthouse: SOSTRATES SON OF DEXIPHANES OF KNIDOS ON BEHALF OF ALL MARINERS TO THE SAVIOR GODS. Then he covered it with plaster. Then they put Ptolemy's name into the plaster. As years passed, the plaster chipped away, leaving Sostrates declaration.

The lighthouse was built on the island of Pharos. 'Pharos' became the word 'lighthouse' in French, Italian, Spanish, and Romanian languages.

In the 10th century A.D., the lighthouse stood about 300 cubits high. That means that the lighthouse stood between 450 to 600 feet high. Wow!

This lighthouse was designed differently than modern lighthouses. It was more like a 20th century sky scraper. There were three stages which were piled on top of each other. The lowest level was about 200 feet square and was shaped like a huge box. The blocks on which the lighthouse was built were marble. There was a staircase in the lighthouse that led the keepers to the beacon chamber. In there, was a curved mirror. It was used to project a fire's light into a beam. Ships could detect the beam from the tower at night or the smoke from it could be seen during the day from up to 100 miles away.

I bet you're wondering what happened to the world's first lighthouse. Most accounts say that, like other ancient buildings, it was probably the victim of an earthquake. It stood for 1,500 years but was damaged by tremors in 365 and 1303 A.D. The final collapse came in 1326.

The Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis was one of Seven of the Wonders of the ancient world. It was so big that it took 120 years to make the temple. It's hard to believe but it was one of the largest temples built in the ancient times.

The temple was built in 550 B.C. Its foundation measured at 377 by 40 feet. It stood in the Greek city of Aphasias, on the west coast which we all know as Turkey. The whole temple was entirely marble except for its tile covered wooden roof. It was built as a dedication to the Greek Goddess Artemis.

The architects who made this temple were known as Chersiphron and his son Metagenes.

This temple didn't last long. In 550 B.C. King Cruesus of Lydia conquered Ephesus and other Greek cites of Asia Minor. During the fight, the temple was destroyed. Another temple was built in place of the first one. Then a man named Croesus Ephesian wanted to have his name in history. He managed to do exactly this by burning the temple to ashes. The citizens of Ephesus were so appalled that they said anyone who spoke of Herostratus would be put to death.

The temple also held many works of art. Four bronze statues of Amazon women are held in the Temple of Artemis. The length of this temple was 425 feet and the width was 225 feet. It has a sum of 127 columns, 60 feet in height that supported the roof.

Today the site of this temple is a marshy field. A single column has been erected to remind visitors that there once stood a Wonder of the Ancient World.

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

In 377 B.C the city of Halicarnassus was the capitol of a small kingdom along the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor. It was that year that Hecatomnus of Mylasa, died and left control of his kingdom to his son Mausolus. Mausolus in his life extended the territory even further so that it finally included most of Asia Minor. Mausolus, with his queen Artimisia, ruled over Halicarnassus and the surrounding territory for 24 years. Mausolus, though he was descending from the local people, spoke Greek and admired the Greek government and their ways of life. He founded many cities of Greek design along the coast and encouraged Greek democratic traditions.

Then in 353 B.C, Mausolus died, leaving Artimisia brokenhearted. As a tribute to him, she decided to build him a splendid tomb. It became a structure so famous that Mausolus's name is now associated with all tombs throughout our modern world - "mausoleum." The building was so beautiful and unique it became one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the world!

Artemisia then decided that no money was to be spared on this wondrous tomb. She sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artist of their time. The man who supervised the building of the temple was Scopas. Other famous artists who

helped were, Braxis, Leochares, and Timotheus joined him as well as several hundred others. The tomb was built on a hill overlooking the city. The whole structure sat in an enclosed courtyard. At the center of the courtyard was a stone platform on which the tomb sat. The staircase was flanked by stone lions to the top of the platform. Along the outer wall of the temple there were many statues of gods and goddesses. At each corner were statues of warriors mounted on horseback, guarding the tomb.

At the center of the platform was the tomb itself. Made mostly of marble, it formed a square block which tapered to about 1/3 of the size of the mausoleums 140 foot height. This section was covered with relief sculptures showing action scenes from Greek myth/history. One statue showed the Greeks in combat with the Amazons, a race of the Warrior Women.

On top of this section of the tomb were 36 slim columns, nine per side, that rose another 1/3 of the height. Standing between each column was another statue. Behind the columns was a solid block that carried the weight of the tombs ceiling. The ceiling, which made up most of the final 1/3 of the height, was in the form of a stepped pyramid. Perched on top was the tomb's most important work of art. There were four massive horses pulling a chariot in which images of Mausolus and his queen Artimisia rode.

Soon after construction of the tomb started, Artimisia found herself in crisis.

Rhodes (an island in the Aegean sea) had been conquered by Mausolus and when they heard of Mausolus's death the Rhodians sent a fleet of ships to capture the city of Halicarnassus. Artimisia knew the Rhodians plan and she hid a fleet of her own ships at a secret location on the east end of the city's harbor. After the troops from Rhodes got off the ship to attack, Artimisia's fleet made a surprise raid, and captured the Rhodians fleet and towed them out to sea.

Artimisia put her own soldiers on the invading ship and sent it back to Rhodes. Fooled into thinking it was their own ship, the Rhodians where tricked into thinking the ship was coming back from Halicarnassus with victory. Surprisingly the soldiers on the ship where people from Halicarnassus and the Rhodians didn't put up defenses against the soldiers from Halicarnassus.

So Rhodes was easily captured again.

Artimisia lived only two years longer than Mausolus, both would be buried in the finished temple. According to the historian Pliny, the craftsman decided to stay and finish the tomb even after their leaders' deaths.

The tomb overlooked the city for many centuries, and was untouched until about 1404 A.D. It was ruined from a series of earthquakes. All that could be recognized as the Mausoleum was the large stone base.

Crusaders used the left over parts of the tomb to finish their castle.

One night a party of knights entered the tomb and found a huge coffin. It was too late to open it so they came back the next day to take any treasures that were there. The next day they were surprised to see the bodies missing. So the knights blamed the incident on the Moslem Village.

Today most of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus can be seen in the mausoleum room at the British Museum. There, the images of Mausolus and Artimisia watch over the beautiful tomb Artimisia built for Mausolus.

(Additional material on http://www.unmuseum.org/wonders.htm).

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