Zeus at Olympia

Lost Wonders We Wish We Could Have Seen

The ancient world remains a mysterious and alluring topic for so many thousands of travellers and tourists right across the globe. The ingenuity and execution of some of the wonders that showed off the majesty of such a world are made even more impressive when you consider the lack of technology behind them. Unlike some of the wonders today that remain visible such as the Colosseum in Rome or the Petra in Jordan, there are plenty of splendid wonders that have been lost to the ages, leaving only myths, legends and our imaginations to comprehend their true beauty.

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#1 Colossus of Rhodes

Erected on the picturesque and iconic island of Rhodes, the Colossus of Rhodes was the giant statue in tribute to the Greek sun-god Helios. Constructed in 280BC to commemorate Rhodes' victory over Macedonia, it collapsed following the Rhodes earthquake of 226BC, leaving very little remains. The mystique and might of the towering colossus however has left an imprint on the imagination of travellers for centuries, with the famous image of the giant god guarding the city's entrance with each of his feet imprinted on thousands of minds. 

#2 Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Shrouded in mystery and myth, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon remain the most elusive and awe-inspiring of all the world's lost wonders. With no definitive location ever found, or any real valid evidence of the gardens even existing, the Gardens have plucked at the wonder of millions of peoples' imaginations for centuries now. Presumably somewhere in the modern-day state of Iraq, it is reported that the masterfully engineered tiered gardens were built by the mighty Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife, who reportedly missed the green hills of her homeland. 

#3 Temple of Artemis

Built in present day Turkey by the Greeks, the Temple of Artemis was the finest construction built of its day, proven by the fact that it was rebuilt several times before its ultimate demise. Experiencing hardships ranging from arson to flooding, the temple had its first construction originally date all the way back to the bronze age. It attracted immigrants from all corners of the known world and led to an influx of worship towards the Greek god who would find a staple place in the venerations of both the Greeks and then later the Romans.  

#4 Statue of Zeus at Olympia

A tribute to the chief and most important god in the Greek culture and erected in one of the most magical and legendary points in their entire geography, the Statue of Zeus was wholly designed to flex the muscles of Greek majesty. Reportedly standing at a massive thirteen metres tall and constructed from luxury materials such as gold and ivory plates, it was designed to outdo the wonders found in Athens. The fate of the temple then fell into the myth books, with the most common fate being attributed to Turkish thieves who moved the statue to Constantinople, where it eventually burned down in 425 AD. 

#5 Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

So great was the Persian Satrap Mausolus that he decided that not even death would halt his majesty. Built between 353 and 350BC and standing at a mighty forty-five metres in height, this wonder proved to be so influential that it even lent its name to the act of above-ground burials. Fitted with all manner of sculpture reliefs that displayed the full majesty of the ruler, the Mausoleum was repeatedly damaged by severe earthquakes between the 12th and 15th century. Although it was eventually destroyed beyond repair, it was the last standing of the Lost Wonders of the Ancient World. 

#6 Lighthouse at Alexandria

Easily one of the tallest man made structures of the ancient world, and standing up tall against even some of the contemporary giants, the Lighthouse at Alexandria is reported to have punched just higher than a hundred metres at the end of its construction, sometime during the reign of Ptolemy II. Signalling the might and ingenuity of the Ptolemaic kingdom, it was damaged by otherwise withstood earthquakes that hit the region between 956 and 1323 AD. Ceasing operations in 1323, its final destruction was confirmed in 1480 when its remaining stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay also in Alexandria, Egypt. 

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Written by James Metcalfe

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