If you had to name your seven must-see human-made sights around the world today, what would you choose? Chances are there would be some brand-new architectural marvels in there, along with some places of historical interest. Perhaps some more natural but human-cultivated landscapes such as parks or gardens, too, particularly at this moment in history when our balance with nature has reached a critical point.
Writing the original list of the Wonders of the World over two thousand years ago, Antipater of Sidon didn’t have quite so much history to draw on, but he managed to find (and, he claimed, personally view) seven destinations in these categories that have left their mark on human culture today – even if there’s not much left to see.
In order to get a better insight into where we’re coming from and going-to, the folks at Budget Direct created seven new animations to show how those ancient wonders might look if rebuilt in their original situations today.
Colossus of Rhodes
Have you seen the scene in Jamon Jamon when Javier Bardem and Jordi Mollà duel over a woman using giant phallic legs of ham? Sometimes the history of architecture feels like that. It was certainly the case when the Rhodians erected a 100ft ‘Colossus’ over the Mandraki Harbor by way of letting the world know they had vanquished the Cypriots and weren’t about to accept any nonsense from anybody else.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The most wonderful pieces of built design have always been a combination of aesthetic simplicity and engineering sophistication. So it goes with the pyramids: Giza is the shape of a teabag with few frills to speak of, yet it remained the tallest building in the world for four millennia and was constructed from 15-ton stones that required great ingenuity to manipulate.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Somebody should remake the Hanging Gardens (if, in fact, they ever truly existed) today. A combination of stunning natural beauty and hydropunk engineering, it is said to have been built by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar for his nature-loving wife, Amytis – although there is scant archaeological evidence of the site’s existence today.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Falling, perhaps, into the category of ‘phallic leg of ham architecture,’ the Lighthouse of Alexandria was second in height only to Giza when it was constructed around 280 BCE. Today, ironically, much of the lighthouse is deep underwater since it was toppled by an earthquake in the 14th century.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Mausolus of Caria was something of a patron of the arts while he ruled over the Achaemenid Empire, constructing buildings of great taste inspired by Greek, Near Eastern, and Egyptian design. This included his mausoleum (the genre of building to which he gave his name), which was completed after his death by his wife (whispers: she was also his sister).
Statue of Zeus
The Doric Temple of Zeus at Olympia was the heart of an area of worship which would also become the seat of the Olympic Games. Pheidias’ statue of Zeus was an imposing structure whose head grazed the ceiling of the temple. His cloak and hair were made of gold, his hands, feet, and face were ivory (a nearby basin of olive oil kept it from drying out), but his throne and skeleton were made of wood. Thus, it seems it was fire that finally did for him around AD 420-430.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Apparently this one was Antipater’s favorite, the most wonderful of wonders: “when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds,” he wrote, “those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, “Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.”