February 11, 2007

One Wonder

There is only one of the Seven Wonders of the World left, and even it is potentially facing the utter indignity of being voted off the one-wonder list as web users cast their vote for a new list of seven wonders.

The remaining ancient wonder of the world is Egypt's Pyramids at Giza.

The largest and oldest of the three, the Great Pyramid, was built for the pharaoh Khufu (called Cheops by the Greeks) in the 26th century BC. That makes it 2,000 years older than any other wonder on the list. The Great Pyramid climbs more than 450 feet (138 meters) into the sky. It was the tallest structure on Earth for almost 4,000 years, until European cathedrals started reaching for heaven. It's made up of about 2.3 million massive blocks of stone, weighing perhaps 6 million tons all told. Some have described it as the most colossal single building ever erected on the planet.

The six lost wonders of the world were:

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Bible readers know Nebuchadnezzar II as the king who, in 587 BC, destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem and forced the Jews into exile in Babylonia. But ancient tourists knew him as the man behind Babylon's Hanging Gardens. Built around 600 BC, the gardens grew on the roof of a terraced structure within his palace walls, irrigated by pumps that drew water up from the Euphrates. Today, Babylon is a ruin near Baghdad, and no definitive trace of the gardens has ever been found.

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The Ephesians erected their great temple for Apollo's twin sister Artemis around 550 BC. They built it a second time in 356 BC, after a terrorist bent on fame set it ablaze. Located in today's Turkey, across the Aegean Sea from Athens, the temple drew many Greeks bearing gifts. They marveled at its size, about the size of a football field surrounded by marble, with the inside filled with art. Little remains of the temple today, just fragments at the site and in museums.

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

In 435 BC, the famed Greek sculptor Phidias was pounding the last plates of gold and ivory into place on a 40-foot (12-meter) statue of Zeus, seated on a cedarwood throne. No one knows what became of the thunder god's likeness, but the workshop Phidias used to make it was found.

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

South of Ephesus, at Halicarnassus, ruled Mausolus, a Persian satrap who admired the Greek way of life. When Mausolus died in 353 BC, his sister-widow-queen, Artemisia, built him the most opulent Greek tomb around. It was 135 feet (40 meters) tall, adorned on every side with sculpture, and capped with a pyramidal roof. An earthquake brought the tomb down in medieval times, and Mausolus's memory now survives mainly in the word mausoleum.

Colossus of Rhodes

On the Greek island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean Sea an army had besieged the island's capital. Rhodes resisted for a year, and the army left. So the Rhodians reforged the army's abandoned bronze and iron weapons and sold its siege equipment to make a colossus: a 110-foot (34-meter) statue of the sun god Helios. By 280 BC, it stood tall on a marble pedestal near the harbor, until an earthquake toppled it just 56 years later.

Lighthouse of Alexandria

In Alexandria's harbor, on a small island named Pharos, stood the original lighthouse. It was made around the same time as Rhodes's statue, but dwarfed it. It stood 384 feet (117 meters) high, or more. Fires burned at the top at night, and bronze mirrors reflected sunlight during the day. It stood until the 14th century, when earthquakes ruined it, too.

Cast your vote for a new, and we presume temporary, Seven Wonders of the World, from the list of 21 nominees.

No hurry though, you have another 146 days before voting closes.


  1. Anonymous8:59 PM

    I wonder .. Yes I wonder!

    How J.W.H. has lasted so long.

    Certainly he qualifies eh Caz?

    Wonders will never cease eh?

  2. In some regards it's a bloody wonder, but the flip side is that the Australian electorate give Howard 100% credit for the health of the global economy, which, in turn, has seen our own unprecedented uninterrupted prosperity grow like diddly-oh.

    The fact that Howard has no control over the global economy, and doesn't even have control over the local interest rate (which is solely the preserve of the Reserve Bank), kinda makes you wonder about the intelligence of our electorate.

    On the other hand, the Federal ALP, at the last election, and subsequently, have shown themselves to be bereft of any decent policies, and an indecent inclination to introduce unfair, wasteful and stupid economic policies. They look set to establish the same with regard to climate change. Unfortunately, far too many will believe them.

    I just want Howard to retire. I’m bored.

  3. Anonymous9:49 PM

    "I'm bored."

    You and me both!!

  4. Anonymous11:13 PM

    An amazing real time 3d fly ove around Khufu and Giza on www.3ds.com/khufu