Seven Wonders of the Ancient World for kids – makemegenius.com
The Great Pyramid at Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is about 4,500 years old and is the only ancient wonder still standing.
Until the early 1800s, the Great Pyramid at Giza was the tallest building in the world!
The Great Pyramid was made by hand! It is nearly 800 feet long, 450 feet high. It was built with over two million blocks of stone.
The average weight of each stone is about 2,500 pounds – around the same weight as a car!
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
There was little argument that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon would be included as a world wonder. It was on nearly everyone’s list.
The thought of a huge and magnificent garden, towering 300 feet above the desert sands, appealed to the Greeks sense of the incredible.
The Hanging Gardens were supposedly built around 600 BCE, along the banks of the Euphrates River in Babylon.
Constructed inside the palace walls, the gardens were built in a series of platforms, or terraces, that created a structure 400 feet long, 400 feet wide, and 380 feet high!
Wandering paths and a series of steps connected the various levels. The gardens were a wonderland of greenery, flowering plants, and waterfalls.
That alone would have greatly impressed the ancient Greeks. But a love story was attached to the gardens that made them even more interesting.
It was rumoured that King King Nebuchadnezzar, ordered the gardens built to honour his queen.
The queen was homesick for her land in the mountains. The gardens were designed by the king to make his queen feel loved and welcomed in her new land of Babylon.
No one knows if the love story behind the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is true, or if the gardens ever really existed.
But it was a great story, and the Greeks loved stories, especially stories about war and love.
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
There was absolutely no argument about the Statue of Zeus. It was a world wonder – everyone knew that!
Zeus was the king of the ancient Greek gods. Olympia was the city that hosted the Ancient Greek Olympic Games. The statue could have been the size of a peanut, and still, the Ancient Greeks would have selected it. But it truly was a magnificent structure.
The Temple of Zeus was completed in 456 BCE.
It was built in Olympia to honour Zeus and the Greek Olympic Games.
Like the Parthenon and the Temple of Artemis, Doric columns were used to support the structure.
Today, little remains of the temple or the once magnificent Statue of Zeus within it. But the spirit of the Olympic Games lives on!
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis was first built around 800 BCE in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, on the coast of what is now modern-day Turkey.
The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Each time, it was rebuilt more impressively than the temple before it.
The first temple was destroyed around 550 BCE in a war. Years later, the temple was burnt down by a man who wanted to be remembered forever. (The town created a law that said anyone who mentioned his name would be put to death immediately.)
The temple was under construction (again) when some years later Alexander the Great visited the town. Alexander had seen many beautiful buildings in his travels, but this temple was so beautiful that it impressed even Alexander the Great!
Alexander offered to give the town enough money to finish building it if the townspeople would put his name on it.
The town did not want to do that, but they did thank Alexander very nicely. (You would too if you were facing Alexander’s army!)
In Alexander’s time, the ornately decorated temple was 425 feet long, 225 feet wide, and 60 feet high. 127 columns supported the roof.
A constant stream of visitors came to see the temple. The townspeople built shops around the temple. Some shops sold little replicas of the temple for tourists to take home.
The city of Ephesus boomed for a while. But it did not last. The temple was destroyed (again) around 200 CE by the Goths.
This time, it was not rebuilt. Construction costs had increased considerably. There was not enough money in the town treasury to rebuild the temple to its former magnificence.
The remaining pieces slowly sunk in the marshy field until the ruin disappeared from sight altogether.
Hundreds of years later, in the 1800s, the British Museum sent a team to search for the fabled Temple of Artemis. No one had any idea where the temple used to stand. Short of digging up the whole town and the surrounding countryside, the first team found themselves rather stuck.
Another team, sent out a few years later, dug up the remains of 5 temples, one built on top of the other.
They believed they had found the Temple of Artemis!
Today, all that remains of this incredible structure is a single column in the middle of a marshy field that marks the spot where the Temple once stood.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
King Mausolus was a ruler of a small kingdom in Asia Minor. He was married to Artemisia, who loved him dearly.
When the king died, his wife decided to build her husband the most magnificent tomb in the world.
The tomb was called the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
It was so splendid that the Greeks selected the tomb to be one of the seven wonders of the world.
Today, there is nothing left of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus except a story about a queen who loved her husband dearly.
The Colossus of Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Once, it was part of ancient Greece.
Alexander the Great conquered Rhodes. When Alexander died, his generals fought for control of the island.
Rhodes was perfectly situated to be a crossroads of trade.
The people of Rhodes did support one of the generals. But that general won control of Egypt. Another general gained control of Rhodes. To punish the people for not supporting him, he sent his son to level Rhodes.
Help arrived from Egypt! The general they had supported sent troops from Egypt to help the people of Rhodes drive the son away.
With Egypt’s help, the people won! With joy, they melted down the bronze armour and war machinery left behind by the son and used it to build a giant statue of their patron god Helios, to thank Helios for helping them save their city.
The statue was 110 feet high and stood on a 50-foot base. Each morning, the sun glittered off the bronze plates that covered the statue. It was quite a sight!
Only 56 years after the statue was built, it was toppled by an earthquake. Many pieces fell into the harbour. Some pieces remained on land, including the statue’s thumb.
People travelled great distances to see the huge thumb. They tried to put their arms around it. The thumb was bigger than their arms could stretch.
The king of Egypt offered money to rebuild the statue. But the people of Rhodes said no. They believed their god Helios was unhappy with the statue and had tossed it down in a fit of anger. They left it alone.
Many years later, around 600 CE, Arab traders finally removed the remains of the Colossus to use as scrap metal. Legend says … it took 900 camels to ferry the pieces home.
Although the Colossus is no longer in existence, another famous work of art, inspired by the Colossus, is still standing.
It is called The Statue of Liberty!
The Lighthouse at Alexandria
Nearly all the Greeks agreed that the Lighthouse should be included as one of the wonders of the world.
It was built around 290 BCE on the island of Pharos in the harbour of Alexandria, Egypt.
It was a working lighthouse that helped ships find their way safely into harbour.
It was also a tourist attraction.
In ancient times, visitors could buy food at the observation platform on the first level.
Anyone who wished to do could climb nearly to the top.
There were not many places in the ancient world that visitors could climb a man-made structure, 300 feet up, to view the sea.
The Lighthouse at Alexandria stood for over 1500 years.
Scientists believe an earthquake topped the Lighthouse during the 12th century CE, about 250 years before Columbus discovered America!