The story

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - The Lighthouse of Alexandria


Alexandria Lighthouse

The Alexandria Lighthouse was built at the behest of Ptolemy in 280 BC by the Greek architect and engineer Socrate of Cnidus. It was a marble tower situated on the island of Faros (so "Lighthouse"), near the port of Alexandria, Egypt.

With three overlapping stages - the first, square; the second is octagonal; and the third, cylindrical - had mechanisms that signaled the passage of the sun, the direction of the winds and the hours. A spiral ramp reached the top, where at night a flame was burning that mirrored up to 50 km away through mirrors to guide the navigators.

Legend has it that Sostratus sought a material resistant to seawater and so the tower would have been built on giant blocks of glass. But there is no hint of it.

With the exception of the Giza pyramids, it lasted the longest among other wonders in the world, being destroyed by an earthquake in 1375. Its ruins were found in 1994 by divers, which was later confirmed by satellite imagery.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon


Six artificial mountains

The third wonder is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built around 600 BC, on the banks of the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia - in present-day southern Iraq. Of all the wonders, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are the least known. since to date there are few reports and no archaeological site was found with any trace of the monument. The only one that can be considered "suspicious" is a non-standard well thought to have been used to pump water.

The gardens, in fact, were six artificial mountains made of baked clay bricks, with overlapping terraces where trees and flowers were planted. It is estimated that they were supported by columns ranging in height from 25 to 100 meters. To reach the terraces one climbed a marble staircase; among the foliage were tables and fountains. The gardens were close to the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar II, who was said to have built them in honor of his wife, Amitis, homesick for the mountains of his birthplace.

The Temple of Artemis


200 years of construction

The fourth wonder of the ancient world is the temple of Artemis (Diana, to the Romans) in Ephesus, built for the Greek hunting goddess and wildlife protector, it was the largest temple in the ancient world. Located in Ephesus, present-day Turkey, the temple was built in 550 BC by Cretan architect Quersiphan and his son Metagenes. The temple was 90 meters high, like the statue of liberty in New York - and 45 wide, the temple was decorated with magnificent works of art and Artemis has been carved from ebony, gold, silver and black stone.

Once completed, the temple became a tourist attraction with visitors from various places delivering offerings, and was destroyed in 356 BC by Eróstrato, who believed that destroying the temple of Artemis would have his name spread all over the world. Knowing this, the inhabitants of the city did not reveal his name, only known thanks to the historian Strabo. Alexander (Link to Alexander) offered to restore the temple, but it began to be rebuilt only in 323 BC, the year of the Macedonian death. Even so, in 262 AD, he was again destroyed, this time by a Goth attack. With the conversion of the citizens of the region and the world to Christianity, the temple was losing importance and came down in 401 AD; and today there is only one pillar of the original building in its ruins.


Ruins of Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey