Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Journey back with moi

Think about the lives that people used to live when these wonders were undergoing construction... And remember, this was back when technology didn't exist so just imagine how long it took for each of these to get built! Unfortunately, there is only one that remains standing till today... Continue reading on to find out...

Let's start then, shall we?

  1. Ahh.. the first wonder, The Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, I'm sure you all know by now that this is one of the places that I want to go to so I can engrave my name somewhere there (without anyone looking, of course) so that for the years and maybe even centuries to come, my name will remain marked on this Earth along with all the Pharaohs of our time. Oh, and yes, this is actually the only wonder of the Ancient World that still stands today. What I find really intriguing about these pyramids is that they contain secret passageways as well as hidden rooms, and they even have decoy chambers because of the fact that thieves used to try to steal the treasures that were buried along with the royals. I would LOVE to have a whole day to myself and discover the mysteries that lie inside these pyramids! Imagine how much fun it would be to pull a 'Lara Croft' and have nothing on you except a knife (instead of guns, MAKE PEACE NOT WAR! In order to engrave your name on the wall) and a flashlight and just explore this terrain, maybe make sure that you've got a couple of Bacardi Breezers with you to keep you cool? But obviously, I wouldn't do it alone... You never know if it's haunted!
This landmark consists of three large pyramids known as: the Great Pyramid of Khufu (which is the largest), the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure (the smallest). And these were built around 200 B.C. It is estimated that there were around 20,000 to 30,000 workers who built these pyramids over the course of 80 years! However, according to National Geographic, most of the people that worked to do these were not slaves, they were actually Egyptians that lived in villages and were governed by the Pharaoh's supervisors. (So don't believe what you see in the movie, The Mummy, it's all bull) 

      2.  Second up, we have the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which is the second of the oldest wonders and was built around 600 B.C. Former Babylon is now located close to the present-day city of Baghdad in Iraq. The mystery that revolves around these 'Hanging Gardens' were the irrigation system and how they were watered in the first place; some scholars say it could have been from the River Euphrates since it was built on its' banks. It was founded to be a wonder by the Greeks. Legend tells us that this monument was built by King Nebuchadnezzar in order to please his wife, the Queen, by surrounding her with a lovely view of these Hanging Gardens. (HOW SWEET! I think all men should look up to this guy instead of that UFC fighter, Georges St Pierre...)

     3.  Next, the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was located in Alexandria, Egypt. The pharaonic period was so impressive that it gained titles to not one, but TWO, wonders of the world. I seriously wish, sometimes, that I had been born during the Ancient Egyptian era, maybe as Queen Cleopatra herself? (Ok... I went a bit overboard over there, didn't I?) It finished construction during the reign of King Ptolemy II, around 283 B.C., and is one of the only wonders that was built for practicality and safety reasons (they used a mirror to guide ships away during the daytime and during the night they had a bonfire lit at the top at all times since they still didn't have technology then) It was made out of stone and finished with white marble and legend tells us that there was originally a statue of the Greek mythology god, Poseidon, on the crown of the lighthouse. Unfortunately, we'll never know because this marvelous wonder was destroyed by an earthquake. It's tragic that we'll never be able to encounter this magnificent historical structure. However, there is a modern replica of it located in Egypt. But, of course, nothing is better than an original. It's like having a fake Louis Vuitton purse... In your heart, you will always know it's not authentic.

     4.   Ok, so this next one is going to be pretty interesting... Well, at least for me it was since I'm really into Greek mythology. And any myths for that matter. I like to live in my own world sometimes and imagine that magic (the good kind) really does exist and that's exactly why I'm a HUGE fan of Harry Potter. Because I feel that no other books allow you to use your imagination to its' fullest capacity other than the Harry Potter books. Ok, I went pretty off-topic there, but yes, for our next wonder: The Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

The building where this statue was located was 4-stories tall and Zeus' head reached the ceiling. And you really want to know what the statue was made of? IVORY! (I'm sure you all know how expensive that is, and ivory is made out of elephant tusks, by the way) The Greeks used ivory for all the statues of the gods to represent their appreciation for them.  The throne which Zeus sits upon was inlaid with gold and jewels! Zeus held a scepter with an eagle on top of it in his right hand. The eagle represents Zeus' messenger which was ready to do the god's bidding at any given moment. In his left hand, he held a statue of the goddess, Nike (who was the goddess of victory) It was destroyed by an accidental fire.

   5.   Fifth up, we've got the Colossus of Rhodes. I know what you're thinking... That doesn't ring a bell? Well, at least that's what I thought, I've never heard of this in my life actually until now. Built around 292 B.C. in one of the Greek islands, Rhodes. This statue represents the Greek god, Helios (known to be the personification of the sun) The reason it was built was because of Rhodes' victory over the ruler of Cyprus. The one thing I found really interesting is that the Statue of Liberty's design, posture and dimensions were based on how this statue was depicted! We know this because the plaque found inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty has a sonnet that contains a reference of the Colossus. And like the Pharaos Lighthouse of Alexandria, this statue was shattered by an earthquake...

   6.   The Temple of Artemis. This wonder kind of throws me off since Artemis was known as the Greek goddess of hunting, wilderness and animals. Why would someone want to build a temple around her? I guess that is the mysterious wonder behind it. Built around 550 B.C. in Euphesus, which is now known as the modern town of Selcuk in present-day Turkey. It was sometimes known as the Temple D or the Great Marble Temple (because the whole thing is made out of marble... DUH!) Now here is the weird part... The temple served as a marketplace as well as a religious institution... Imagine that! Buying your groceries and praying in the same place?! This temple was destroyed in an act of arson committed by a man named Herostratus, and his reason for doing it was to gain attention and fame. And supposedly that is where the term herostratic fame came from, meaning 'fame at any cost.' But, it was built again around 2nd century B.C. and AGAIN destroyed but this time by fire. Once that had happened, they reconstructed it and AGAIN crumbled to pieces because of an earthquake that had occurred. Wow... I guess mother nature was really rejecting the idea of having a building made out of pure marble on her turf. Either that, or God didn't approve of prayers and shopping at the same time... Hmm...

   7.   Finally, our journey through the 7 wonders comes to an end with the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Saying that out loud, I feel like I'm saying "Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" you know... That movie with Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Jude Law and Colin Farrell? There I go again... going off topic. Ok, so the Mausoleum was located at Halicarnassus which is present-day Bodrum in Turkey and was completed by, approximately, 350 B.C. It was also known as the Tomb of Mausolus, some foreshadowing for y'all. The construction of this monument was built by Mausolus and was conceived by his wife, Artemisia (who was also his sister, by the way, this was normal in Ancient times) What's sad about this story is that they had both passed away before the Mausoleum was finished. It was destroyed by Rhodian knights in 1522 (Jealous, maybe?)

And there you have it Ladies and Gents. The 7 wonders of the Ancient World. I definitely learnt A LOT from this, and I hope you all did too!

P.S. Which wonder did YOU like the most?

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