The 7 Wonders of the Ancient World was a list of must-see sites for Ancient Greek tourists. Compiled by Antipater of Sidon, a poet in 2nd-century-BCE Greece, with later contributions by figures such as the mathematician Philon of Byzantium, the list remains an important piece of intangible heritage today.
Even though most of the wonders have fallen into disrepair, they continued to inspire masterful artists to use their imagination and turn the intangible relicts of Earth’s early civilizations to life. Budget Direct decided to give the modern culture-lovers a chance to visit the majestic ancient structures through a series of photo-realistic 3D renderings. After in-depth research, the exceptional work of architectural design duo Keremcan Kirilmaz and Erdem Batirbek, under the guidance of NeoMam’s art director, and motion graphic artists at Fractal Motion, lifelike recreations depict how the seven wonders would have looked in their heyday.
Colossus of Rhodes
The 108ft Colossus stood astride Mandraki Harbor, its feet firmly planted on 49ft pedestals so that boats could pass between its legs. It was certainly one way to let outsiders know who was boss: in fact, this giant statue of the sun god Helios was sculpted from the melted-down weapons and shields of the Cypriot army, whom Rhodes had recently vanquished. The Colossus itself was toppled by an earthquake just half a century later. It remained in recline for visitors to wonder at for a further 800 years, until Muslim caliph Muawiyah I melted the statue down and sold it for scrap.
Great Pyramid of Giza
Built over 4,500 years ago from stones weighing 2.5 to 15 tons each, the Great Pyramid remained the world’s tallest man made structure for nearly four thousand years. Nearby excavations have revealed it’s likely that up to 100,000 skilled and well-fed workers came from all over the country to live in a temporary city as they built the otherworldly pyramids of this region.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Did the Hanging Gardens ever actually exist? They’re the only wonder on the list that may have been a figment of an ancient travel writer’s imagination. The native writers of Babylon – which was 50 miles south of what is now Baghdad in Iraq – made no mention of the garden. But if it did exist, it seems to have been a remarkable engineering feat, with complex machinery drawing water to built terraces up to 65ft high.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
The lighthouse by which all subsequent lighthouses would be judged, this structure by Sostratus of Cnidus featured a burning fire atop a cylindrical tower, atop an octagonal middle, atop a square base. A spiral staircase led to the business-end, where there may also have been a statue of Helios. The building fell into disrepair sometime between the 12th century and late 15th century, when Mamlūk sultan Qāʾit Bāy built a fort on the lighthouse’s ruins.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The tomb built for Mausolus, ruler of Caria, an ancient region of Asia Minor, was so impressive that the late king’s name became the generic word for large funeral monuments. Mausolus commissioned many great temples and civic buildings in his life, and planned the Mausoleum himself. The structure was a mixture of Greek, Near Eastern, and Egyptian design principles set in Anatolian and Pentelic marble. When the tomb was excavated, sacrificial remains of oxen, sheep, and birds were taken to be the leftovers of a ‘send-off’ feast for the Mausoleum’s permanent tenant.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
This 40ft gold and ivory-plated statue was erected at the Temple of Zeus by the Eleans in an attempt to outshine the Athenians. Unfortunately, the framework and throne were made of wood. Although it seems to have lasted a few hundred years, the statue likely perished either when the temple was destroyed in 426CE or a few years later in a fire at Constantinople.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Ancient Greeks, 3rd century Goths, and early Christians alike seem to have been provoked by this enormous temple to the Greek goddess of chastity, hunting, wild animals, forests, and fertility: the building was built and destroyed three times. The first to demolish it was Herostratus, who burned it down just to get famous. Next came the Goths, who wrecked the city while passing through on the run from the Romans. Finally, a Christian mob tore it apart in 401 CE, leaving just the foundations and a single column – which can still be seen today.