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Album: The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World

The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt

(Image credit: Photo Credit: Dreamstime)

The Great Pyramid at Giza is both the oldest ancient wonder and the only one still standing today. It was built as a mausoleum for the pharaoh Khufu around 2650 BC and for over 4,000 years remained the world's tallest structure.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Iraq

(Image credit: Photo Credit: A 16th century depiction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (by Martin Heemskerck))

According to legend, 6th-century Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had a colossal maze of waterfalls and dense vegetation planted across his palace for a wife, who missed her lush homeland. Archaeologists still debate the garden's existence.

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece

(Image credit: Photo Credit: Ancient artwork depicting the Statue of Zeus in Olympia (by Martin Heemskerck))

Built around 450 BC and 40 feet tall, the seated figure of Greece's Olympic deity was the country's most revered piece of art. Zeus was so impressive that games' visitors routinely wept at its sight and the Roman emperor Caligula tried to steal it.

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Turkey

(Image credit: Photo Credit: Fantastic reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, depicted here in a hand-colored engraving (by Martin Heemskerck))

Even the ancient historians who saw and compiled the list of wonders couldn't believe the immense beauty of the marble Temple of Artemis, built in 550 BC by a local king. It was set ablaze a few centuries later by a man seeking fame.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Turkey

(Image credit: Photo Credit: A fanciful interpretation of the Mausoleum of Maussollos, from a 1572 engraving by Martin Heemskerck )

Built for a king of little note, this glorified headstone made the list for its incredible marble and gold details, reportedly awe-inspiring to any who saw it. The 4th-century BC monument was eventually dismantled and its stones used in other local building.

The Colossus of Rhodes, Greece

(Image credit: Photo Credit: The Colossus of Rhodes, depicted in this hand-colored engraving by Martin Heemskerck, was built about 280 B.C.)

This statue of the God Helios presided for just 60 years over the harbor entrance on Rhodes, but that was long enough to create a legend. People came to see its 100 feet of ruins for years after it was felled by an earthquake in 226 BC.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, Greece

(Image credit: Photo Credit: The Pharos of Alexandria, an ancient lighthouse, is depicted in this hand-colored engraving by Martin Heemskerck.)

Both practical and beautiful, the 400-foot lighthouse at the mouth of Alexandria harbor started guiding sailors home around 250 BC. A fire made the lighthouse glow at night and a mirror reflected sun rays during the day, some say up to 35 miles away.