The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" that remains standing and, weirdly enough, it’s also the oldest. Although the six other spectacles are now just rubble and ruins, these before-and-after images reveal what these ancient sites might look like today if they were lucky enough to survive the centuries.
The recent work, commissioned by Budget Direct, has seen a team of researchers gather information about each "wonder", including its location, historical descriptions, relevant building materials, and measurements, etc. The findings were then passed on to two architectural designers who created 3D renderings of the structures with their present-day setting as a backdrop.
The Seven Wonders of the World denotes seven sculptural or architectural structures across the Mediterranean and Middle East that were compiled by the 2nd-century BCE writer Antipater of Sidon. There have been many renditions of the list since Antipater of Sidon, but here’s what his original line-up looked like:
- Colossus of Rhodes
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- Lighthouse of Alexandria
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was a 32-meter (105-foot) bronze statue built on top of two 15-meter (49-foot) tall pedestals at the harbor of Rhodes in commemoration of the siege of Rhodes (305–304 BCE). By some accounts, the statue actually stood astride the harbor so ships could sail between his legs, although most historians now argue that this was actually a myth propagated in the Middle Ages. It finally met its fate thanks to the 226 BCE Rhodes earthquake.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the most mysterious of the wonders since no one is certain where they once stood. There are no Babylonian texts that mention the gardens, nor any definitive archaeological evidence. This had led some to argue they were just the figment of an ancient travel writer’s imagination. However, others suggest it might have been found somewhere in present-day Iraq and once featured a series of garden-covered stone terraces, designed to imitate mountains.
Great Pyramid of Giza
Over 4,500 years on, this structure remains one of the world’s greatest sights. After construction finished around 2560 BCE, the Great Pyramid was the tallest human-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years until the completion of Lincoln Cathedral in 1311 CE. The monument still inspires wonder today, existing more or less in its original form, just as it stood in 2560 BCE.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Built sometime between 284 and 246 BCE, ruins of the lighthouse were first discovered in 1904 in Alexandria's Eastern Harbour in Egypt. Estimates vary, but it might have been as tall as 135 meters (443 feet), meaning it was also one of the tallest human-made structures in the world for centuries.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built for Mausolus, the governor of the province for the First Persian Empire, so fancy it gave us the word mausoleum. Influenced by Greek, Near Eastern, and Egyptian architecture, the grand mausoleum was eventually reduced to rubble thanks to successive earthquakes from the 12th to the 15th century.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Is there anything more epic than the thought of a 13-meter (43-foot) gold and ivory-plated statue of Zeus? The colossal statue was erected at the Temple of Zeus by the Eleans, who were best known for starting the Olympic Games, in the latter half of the fifth century BCE. By 426 CE, the statue and temple perished in a fire.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was built and destroyed three times over a period of seven centuries. In its first destruction, it was burnt down by Herostratus, an arsonist who sought notoriety by destroying the Temple of Artemis. It was then reconstructed, only to be destroyed by the Goths during a raid of the city. It was then destroyed for the final time by Christians, who left built nothing but foundations and a single column, which can still be seen today.