Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World
SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD
1) The Pyramids of Egypt
The Egyptian pyramids are the oldest and only surviving member of the ancient world. Of the ten pyramids at Giza, the first threes are held in the highest regard. The first, and largest, was erected for the Pharoah Khufu. Kown as the Great Pyramid, it rises above 450 feet (having lost about 30 feet off the top over the years) and covers 13 acres.
It is believed to have taken 100,000 laborers about 20 years to build the mammoth Khufu Pyramid, using an estimated 2.3 million blocks. By one theory, crew dragged or pushed limestone’s blocks up mud-slicked to construct the royal’s tombs.
Many scholar think they pyramid shape was an important religious statement for the Egyptians, perhaps symbolizing the slating rays of the sun. Some speculate the sloping sides were intended to help the soul of the king climb to the sky and join the gods.
2) The Pharos (lighthouse of Alexandria)
Upon its completion, the Alexandria lighthouse – commonly estimated to have been about 400 feet high – was one of the tallest structures on Earth. The Greek architect Sostratus designed it during the reign of King Ptolemy II. The Pharos guided sailors into the city harbor for 1,500 years and was the last if the six lost wonders to disappear. Earthquakers toppled it in the 14th century A.D.
An Arab traveler made notes in 1166 that provide intricate details on the structure. From his writings, archeologists have deduced that the lighthouse was constructed in three stages. As the top, a mirror reflected sunlight during the day, and a fire guided sailors at night.
The structure was so famous that the word “pharos” came to mean lighthouse in French, Italian and Spanish.
In November 1996, a team of divers searching the Mediterranean Sea claimed to have found the ruins of the fabled Lighthouse of Pharos.
3) The hanging gardens of Babylon
These gardens – which may be only fable – are said to have been laid out on a brick terrace by King Nebuchadnezzar II for one of his wives.
According to the writings of a Babylonian priest, they were approximately 400 feet square and 75 feet above the ground. His account says slaves working in shifts turned screws to lift water from the nearby Euphrates River to irrigate the trees shrubs and flowers.
4) The Temple of Artemis (Diana) at Epheus
The great Ionian city of Epheus was chosen as the site for one of the largest and most complex temples built in ancient times. The Temple of Artemis (Diana) had a marble sanctuary and a tile-covered wooden roof.
Conceived by architect Chersiphron and his son, Metagenes, the temple´s inner featured a double row of at least 106 columns, each believed to be 40 to 60 feet high. The foundation was approximately 200 feet by 400 feet.
The original temple burned in 356 B.C. and was rebuilt on the same foundation. Fire devastated the second temple in 262 A.D., but its foundation and some debris have survived. The British Museum in London counts some if the second temple’s sculpture among its treasures.
5) The Statue of Zeus
In about 450 B.C., the city of Olympus – where the first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. – built a temple n honor of the god Zeus.
Many considered the Doric – style temple too simple, so a lavish 40 foot statue of Zeus was commissioned for inside. Athenian sculptor Phidias created an ivory Zeus seated on a throne, draped in a gold robe. Zeus had a wreath around his head and held a figure of his messenger Nike in his right hand and a scepter in his left.
Eventually, wealthy Greeks decided to move the statue to a palace in Constantinople (present day Istanbul, Turkey). Their effort prolonged its life, as fire later devastated the Olympia temple. However, the new location couldn’t keep Zeus eternally safe; a severe fire destroyed the statue in 462 A.D.
All that remain in Olympia are the temple’s fallen columns and the foundation of the buildings.
6) The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
This enormous white marble tomb was built to hold the remains of Mausolus (Mausollos), a provincial king in the Persian Empire, and his wife, Artemisia. Greek architects Satyrus and Pythias designed the approximately 135 foot high tomb, and four famous Grecian sculptors added an ornamental frieze (decorated band) around its exterior.
Word of the grandeur of the finished structure spread through the ancient world and the world mausoleum came to represent any large tomb.
The monument was damaged by an earthquake in the 15th century and eventually disassembled. Only the foundation and some pieces remain. The British Museum in London has several of the Mausoleum’s sculptures.
7) The Colossus of Rhodes
The Greek sculptor Chares and his shop worked 12 years to build a giant bronze statue in honor of the sun god Helios. The statue, celebrating the unity of Rhode’s three city-states, is believed to have stood on a promontory overlooking the water.
At approximately 120 feet, the bronze Colossus stood almost as high as the Statue of Liberty in the United States. Interior stone blocks and iron bars supported the hollow statue. Just 56 years after it was built, a strong earthquake destroyed it.
MODERN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
1) Channel tunnel – le tunnel sous la Manche
The Channel Tunnel is a 50 km. long (31 miles) rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Straits of Dover, connecting England with northern France. A long standing and very expensive project that saw several false stars, it was finally completed in 1994. It is a second longest rail tunnel in the world, surpassed only by the Seikan Tunnel in Japan. Before and during construction it was widely known by the nickname Chunnel, but today it is normally known simply as the Channel Tunnel.
2) CN Tower
The CN Tower at 555.33 meters (1,815 feet, 5 inches) is the world’s tallest freestanding structure on land. It is located in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and attacks close to two million visitors annually. Guinness World Records has listed the CN tower as the worlds tallest for 30 years.
CN originally refereed to the Canadian National Railway, but in 1995 the CN Tower was transferred to the Canada Lands Company. Since the citizens of Toronto wished to retain the name CN Tower, the abbreviation CN now officially stands for Canada’s National rather than the original Canada National.
3) Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102 story contemporary Art Deco style building in New York City, declared by the ASCE to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, it was finished in 1931. The Tower takes its name from the nickname of New York State. Since the September 11th attacks, it is again the tallest building in New York City.
The building belongs to the World’s Federation of Great Towers.
4) Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate. It connects the city of San Francisco and Marin County near Sausalito, California. The entire bridge (including the approach) spans 1.7 miles (2.7 km) long; the distance between the towers (main span) is 4,200 feet (1,280 m), and the clearance below the bridge is 220ft. (67 m) at mean high water. The diameter of the main suspension cables is 1 yard (0.91 m).
The Golden Gate Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1937 and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco. It is currently the second longest in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City.
5) Itaipu Dam
Itaipu is a dam of the Parana River that includes a hydroelectric power plant located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The name Itaipu was taken from an isle that existed near the construction site. Itaipu from the Guarani Language means singing stones.
Itaipu Binacional it company that runs the larges operacional hydroelectric power plant in the world. It is a binational company run by Brazil and Paraguay at the Parana River. It supplies 95% of the energy consumed by Paraguay and 24% of that consumed by Brazil.
6) Netherlands tidal Defenses – Delta Works
In 1953, the North Sea Flood broke the dikes and seawalls in the Netherlands, killing 1835 people and forcing the evacuation of 70,000 more. 10,000 animals drowned and 4,500 building were destroyed. To prevent such as tragedy happening again, an ambitious flood defense system was installed, called the Delta Works.
Because more than one third of the land lies below sea level, this was no simple task. The most sophisticated and famous of these dams allows it to be opened and closed to keep the sea at bay while preserving the wildlife and fishing industry.
7) The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a major ship canal at the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The construction of the canal was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. It has had an enormous impact on shipping, as ships no longer have to travel the long and treacherous route via Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco, via the canal travels 9,500 kms. (6000 mi.), versus 22,500 km. (14,000 mi.) if it went around Cape Horn.
Although the concept of a canal in Panama dates back to the early 16th century, the first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership. After this attempt collapsed, the work was finally completed by the United States and the Canal opened in 1914. The building if the canal was plagued by problems, including disease (particularly malaria and yellow fever). As many as 27,500 workers are estimated to have died during construction of the canal.
Since opening, the canal has been enormously successful, and continues to be a key conduit for international shipping. Each year the canal accommodates the passage of more than 14,000 ships, carrying more than 203 million tons of cargo.
___________.WEBSCOLAR. Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World. http://www.webscolar.com/wonders-of-the-ancient-and-modern-world. Fecha de consulta: 2 de marzo de 2019.