Sadly only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World -the Pyramids of Giza - can still be visited today, but for a taste of these impressive man-made creations, we’ve collated some modern alternatives where you can experience the wonder for yourself.
Colossus of Rhodes
The original Colossus stood over 30m high and greeted arrivals in Rhodes harbour. It towered there for 54 years before being destroyed in an earthquake in 226BC. A new version, if the rebuild goes ahead, is planned to stand five times taller than the original, and will contain a museum and a beacon that can be seen from up to 34 miles away.
With the potential rebuild, you may be able to witness a modern take on this impressive statue. But there are other jaw dropping alternatives around the world. One of the most famous is the towering Statue of Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Considered to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the statue is more than 38m tall and has become an iconic feature of the Rio landscape, sitting on top of the Corcovado Mountain.
Stay at the Casa Amarela Bed and Breakfast in Rio. Situated at the base of Corcovado, this gorgeous property offers excellent access to this modern wonder without breaking the bank.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Maintaining, watering and growing towering gardens in the heart of the Middle East is no easy achievement, particularly in 600 BC. Yet the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were created and, according to reports from that time, flourished thanks to incredible engineering and creativity. The gardens became famous, but their exact location has been queried, as has their existence, with many believing them to be a myth.
Luckily, you don’t need to travel far to experience an alternative. A substitute for the Hanging Gardens exists right here in the UK at Kew Gardens. As part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, it offers the world’s largest collection of living plants, right in the centre of the capital. With a Treetop Walkway and a variety of spectacular glass houses, including the Waterlily House and Palm House, it’s a fantastic attraction for all seasons.
There are plenty of fantastic options available for accommodation in London. Premier Inn has a variety of hotels near Kew Gardens, offering a reasonably priced, reliable stay in the centre of the city.
Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids are the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to remain and they’re still an impressive sight. Built as a tomb in around 2560BC, the largest pyramid took 20 years to build and was the tallest man-made creation for 3,800 years. These undeniably majestic structures continue to be a source of mystery, as their construction continues to be the cause of debate. Whether the rocks were rolled, dragged or hoisted into place is unknown, but luckily they are sturdy enough to still exist today.
However, if you’re still seeking an alternative with a modern twist, head to the pyramid-shaped Louvre in Paris. Completed in 1989, it has swiftly become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. This glass and metal structure serves as the entrance to the Louvre museum and, although it is much smaller than the Pyramids of Giza, is still impressive to visit and see in person.
Just a short flight from the UK (for example, a flight from London City Airport to Paris Orly takes just one hour and 20 minutes) there are a wealth of places to stay in Paris for any budget. Try Hotel Fabric for a colourful, boutique offering with a gorgeous spa.
Temple of Artemis
Dedicated to the goddess Artemis (the ‘Mistress of Animals’), this huge Greek temple once stood in Ephesus, which is modern day Turkey. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt many times, but was named a Wonder of the World in 4th century BC due to its imposing size and extraordinary decoration. With gilded columns, great artworks and famous sculptures inside, it truly was an inspiring sight for visitors at the time. By 263AD the temple had been plundered and destroyed by the Goths and fell to ruin until its rediscovery in 1869.
Today, there are still some fantastic examples of Greek temples that, although still ruins, show a clear idea of the how the Temple of Artemis may have looked. The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily is home to the Temple of Concordia, which is considered one of the best preserved Greek temples still available to see today.
Enjoy a stay in a private villa within easy driving distance of the Valley of the Temples with a stay at Masseria Alicata. With a private pool and gardens this is an ideal base for making the most of a stay in Sicily.
Statue of Zeus
Once located in a vast temple in Olympia, the Statue of Zeus was a shrine to the ruler of the Olympian gods. Created around 432 BC, this intricate creation showed the god seated on a lavish throne, soaring 12 metres high. The statue was surrounded by an impressive temple, supported by large columns on either side. Despite surviving earthquakes, landslides and floods, the statue was eventually moved to a palace in Constantinople where it was destroyed by a fire in 425 AD.
Although not as large as the Statue of Zeus, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in the USA could be seen as a modern equivalent. The seated statue of the American president is encased by a Greek temple-style exterior with white columns similar to those in Olympia. At nearly eight metres high, it’s still an impressive sight and well worth a visit during a trip to the capital.
The State Plaza Hotel is located within walking distance of the Lincoln Memorial and is well-located for exploring the city.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Towering 247m tall, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was built in Egypt and constructed of limestone blocks with stairs leading to the beacon chamber. Unfortunately, the lighthouse was damaged over the course of three earthquakes and fell to ruin. However, as with the Colossus of Rhodes, Egypt has expressed plans to rebuild the monument.
The Lighthouse of Genoa in Italy is just a fraction of the size of Alexandria’s offering, but this 76m high structure is one of the tallest lighthouses on the planet. It’s survived shelling and lightning strikes, and has served as a prison alongside it’s duties as a beacon.
Hotel Veronese is located right on the port within easy walking distance of the lighthouse. This three star hotel is reasonably priced and perfect for a long weekend in Genoa.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The city of Halicarnassus, which is now Bodrum in Turkey, was home to the tomb of the ruler Mausolus, built by his widowed queen. The tomb was so impressive, it sparked the term mausoleum, which is now used to describe any stately, above ground tomb. This 45 metre-tall, marble creation was built around 350 BC and stood until it was damaged by earthquakes in the 13th century AD and its final complete destruction by Crusaders in 1522.
There are many existing mausoleums that can be visited today, but arguable one of the most impressive is the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, more commonly known as the Terracotta Army/Warriors. The tomb of Qin Shi Huang in Lintong District in China is guarded by an estimated 8,000 terracotta statues of soldiers, along with 130 chariots and 670 horses. It’s truly a spectacle, with many more statues still to be unearthed.
One day tours to the Teracotta Warriors can be booked from nearby Xi’an and include transport and full tours with a guide. Try Xian Tour Booking who offer private and group tours.
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