Thursday Thirteen

Ok I just came back from Faculty (I had exam and it was OK) which is the reason why i wasn’t be active on my blog last week. Anyhow I’m back and I guess I’m catching the last train for this week’s TT. Therefore I’m going to post my link on TT Site right now (while is still open for new posts) and then I’ll write something. SO if you’re coming in the meanwhile please do come back later and check my new TT. Thanks 🙂

It seems I’m too late after all … now I’ve lost enthusiasm … 😦

Well, As you probably know as of last Saturday we have new Seven Wonders of the World. Indeed it was kind of Miss of the world internet election but even so it was interesting. I did vote and I’m happy to say that almost all my candidates have won, sadly not all but …
Anyway, these new Wonders reminded me of the old ones so I asked my friends do they know all Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was so unpleasantly surprised with the results. No one couldn’t name all Wonders and their places. And I’m talking about highly educated people… Indeed we didn’t learn about that in school but I guess I was thinking it is basic culture. Obviously it’s not (and I’m NOT adequate to talk about “basic” anything). So I decided to write about old Seven Wonders before I mention the fresh ones.
The list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was originally compiled around the second century BC and we’ll begin with the only one that still stands:

1. Great PyramidGreat Pyramid of Giza 2650-2500 BC
Here it is important to say that ONLY Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is listed as one of the Wonder and not all three. The monument was built by the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around the year 2560 BC to serve as a tomb when he dies.
When it was
built, the Great pyramid was 145.75 m (481 ft) high. Over the years, it lost 10 m (30 ft) off its top. It ranked as the tallest structure on Earth for more than 43 centuries, only to be surpassed in height in the nineteenth century AD. It was covered with a casing of stones to smooth its surface.
New theories concerning
the origin and purpose of the Pyramids of Giza have been proposed… Astronomic observatories… Places of cult worship… Geometric structures constructed by a long-gone civilization… Even extraterrestrial-related theories have been proposed with little evidence in support… The overwhelming scientific and historic evidence still supports the conclusion that, like many smaller pyramids in the region, the Great Pyramids were built by the great Ancient Egyptian civilization off the West bank of the Nile as tombs for their magnificent Kings… Tombs where Khufu, Khefre, and Menkaure could start their mystic journey to the afterlife.

2.Hanging Gardens of Semiramis in Babylon 600 BC
Hanging Gardens Fruits and flowers… Waterfalls… Gardens hanging from the palace terraces… Exotic animals… This is the picture of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in most people’s minds. It may be surprising to know that they might have never existed except in the minds of Greek poets and historians! Sadly we’ll never know that for sure. While the most descriptive accounts of the Gardens come from Greek historians such as Berossus and Diodorus Siculus, Babylonian records stay silent on the matter. Tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar do not have a single reference to the Hanging Gardens, although descriptions of his palace, the city of Babylon, and the walls are found. Even the historians who give detailed descriptions of the Hanging Gardens never saw them. Modern historians argue that when Alexander’s soldiers reached the fertile land of Mesopotamia and saw Babylon, they were impressed. When they later returned to their rugged homeland, they had stories to tell about the amazing gardens and palm trees at Mesopotamia.. About the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.. About the Tower of Babel and the ziggurats. And it was the imagination of poets and ancient historians that blended all these elements together to produce one of the World Wonders.

3.Temple of Artemis at Ephesus 550 BC
Temple of Artemis Although the foundation of the temple dates back to the seventh century BC, the structure that earned a spot in the list of Wonders was built around 550 BC. Referred to as the great marble temple, or temple D. The temple served as both a marketplace and a religious institution. For years, the sanctuary was visited by merchants, tourists, artisans, and kings who paid homage to the goddess by sharing their profits with her. Recent archeological excavations at the site revealed gifts from pilgrims including statuettes of Artemis made of gold and ivory… earrings, bracelets, and necklaces… artifacts from as far as Persia and India.
On the night of 21 July 356 BC, a man named Herostratus burned the temple to ground in an attempt to immortalize his name, which he did indeed. Oddly enough, Alexander the Great was born the same night. The historian Plutarch later wrote that the goddess was “too busy taking care of the birth of Alexander to send help to her threatened temple”. And when Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor, he offered to rebuild the destroyed temple, but the Temple was not restored until after his death in 323 BC.

4.Statue of Zeus at Olympia 435 BC
Zeus The ancient Greek calendar starts in 776 BC, for the Olympic games are believed to have started that year. The magnificent temple of Zeus was designed by the architect Libon and was built around 450 BC. Under the growing power of ancient Greece, the simple Doric-style temple seemed too mundane, and modifications were needed. The solution: the Athenian sculptor Pheidias was assigned for the “sacred” task.
Statue occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple that was built to house it, and was 40 feet (12 meters) tall. It has been 5th-6th centuries AD presumed destroyed by fire or earthquake.

5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus 351 BC
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus Similar to the Great Pyramid, we are now visiting the burial place of an ancient king. Yet the Mausoleum is different – so different from the Pyramid that it earned its reputation – and a spot within the list – for other reasons. Geographically, it is closer to the Temple of Artemis… And it was the beauty of the tomb rather than its size that fascinated its visitors for years.
It is located in the city of
Bodrum (f.k.a. Halicarnassus) on the Aegean Sea, in south-west Turkey. From 377 to 353 BC, king Mausollos of Caria reigned and moved his capital to Halicarnassus. Nothing is exciting about Maussollos life except the construction of his tomb. The project was conceived by his wife and sister Artemisia, and the construction might have started during the king’s lifetime. The Mausoleum was completed around 350 BC, three years after Maussollos death.
The word mausoleum has since come to be used generically for any grand tomb, though “Mausol – eion” originally meant “[building] dedicated to Mausolus

6. Colossus of Rhodes 292-280 BC
colossus From its building to its destruction lies a time span of merely 56 years. Yet the colossus earned a place in the famous list of Wonders. “But even lying on the ground, it is a marvel”, said Pliny the Elder. The Colossus of Rhodes was not only a gigantic statue. It was rather a symbol of unity of the people who inhabited that beautiful Mediterranean island — Rhodes.
The construction of the Colossus took 12 years and was finished in 282 BC. For years, the statue stood at the harbor entrance, until a strong earthquake
hit Rhodes about 226 BC. The city was badly damaged, and the Colossus was broken at its weakest point — the knee. The Rhodians received an immediate offer from Ptolemy III Eurgetes of Egypt to cover all restoration costs for the toppled monument. However, an oracle was consulted and forbade the re-erection. Ptolemy’s offer was declined.

7. Lighthouse of Alexandria 3rd century BC
Lighthouse of Alexandria Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one had a practical use in addition to its architectural elegance: The Lighthouse of Alexandria. For sailors, it ensured a safe return to the Great Harbor. For architects, it meant even more: it was the tallest building on Earth. And for scientists, it was the mysterious mirror that fascinated them most… The mirror which reflection could be seen more than 50 km (35 miles) off-shore. The project was conceived and initiated by Ptolemy Soter around 290 BC, but was completed after his death. For centuries, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (occasionally referred to as the Pharos Lighthouse) was used to mark the harbor, using fire at night and reflecting sun rays during the day. It was even shown on Roman coins, just as famous monuments are depicted on currency today.
When the Arabs conquered Egypt, they admired Alexandria and its wealth. The Lighthouse continues to be mentioned in their writings and travelers accounts. But the new rulers moved their capital to Cairo since they had no ties to the Mediterranean. When the mirror was brought down mistakenly, they did not restore it back into place. In AD 956, an earthquake shook Alexandria, and caused little damage to the Lighthouse. It was later in 1303 and in 1323 that two stronger earthquake
s left a significant impression on the structure.

And that would be Seven Wonders of Ancient World.
Now we’ll continue the list with the New Seven Wonders

8. (1.) Chichen Itza, Yucatán, Mexico
Chichen Itza Chichen Itza was a major regional center in the northern Maya lowlands. The Maya name “Chich’en Itza” means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza “. Chichén Itzá, the most famous Mayan temple city, served as the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization. Its various structures – the pyramid of Kukulkan, the Temple of Chac Mool, the Hall of the Thousand Pillars, and the Playing Field of the Prisoners – can still be seen today and are demonstrative of an extraordinary commitment to architectural space and composition. The pyramid itself was the last, and arguably the greatest, of all Mayan temples.

9. (2.) Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
ChristLocated atop the Corcovado Mountain at a height of 710 meters, the statue of Christ the Redeemer is certainly one of the world’s best known and most visited monuments. The statue represents Jesus standing with outstretched, welcoming arms and is one of the most famous symbols of this lively city.
The entire monument is 38m high with the statue accounting for 30m, the span from finger tip to fingertip is 28m and there is a small chapel housed in the base. As a vantage point it offers superb views of downtown Rio de Janeiro, the bay, Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. The monument was inaugurated on the day of Our Lady of Aparecida, 12 Oct 1931 by then President Getúlio Vargas and cardinal Dom Sebastião Leme .
The original design was done by a Brazilian, named Heitor da Silva Costa. He was also the engineer in charge of the construction. He shared the project with French sculptor Paul Landowski. It was built from 1926 to 1931, with funds raised from donations. There’s a chapel for 150 people on the base of the statue.

10. (3.) Great Wall, China

The Great Wall of China is a Chinese fortification built from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 17th century, in order to protect the various dynasties from raids by Hunnic, Mongol, Turkic and other nomadic tribes coming from areas in modern-day Mongolia and Manchuria. Several walls were built since the 3rd century BC, the most famous being the Great Wall of China built between 220 BC and 200 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. The Great Wall is the world’s longest man-made structure, stretching over a formidable 6,352 kilometer, from Shanghai Pass on the Bohai Sea in the east, at the limit between “China proper” and Manchuria (Northeast China), to Lop Nur in the southeastern portion of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Along most of its arc, it roughly delineates the border between North China and Inner Mongolia.
Mao Zedong had a saying: “You’re not a real man if you haven’t climbed the Great Wall”.
(you should read Binu by Su Tong and his version of the myth how the wall was erected)

11. (4.) Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Perú
Machu PichuThe legendary ‘Lost City of Machu Picchu’ is without a doubt the most important tourist attraction in Peru and one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites. Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450, at the height of the Inca empire, and was abandoned less than 100 years later, as the empire collapsed under Spanish conquest. Although the citadel is located only about 50 miles from Cusco, the Inca capital, it was never found and destroyed by the Spanish, as were many other Inca sites. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew to enshroud the site, and few knew of its existence. In 1911, Yale historian and explorer Hiram Bingham brought the “lost” city to the world’s attention. Bingham and others hypothesized that the citadel was the traditional birthplace of the Inca people or the spiritual center of the “virgins of the sun,” while curators of a recent exhibit have speculated that Machu Picchu was a royal retreat.
t is thought that the site was chosen for its unique location and geological features. It is said that the silhouette of the mountain range behind Machu Picchu represents the face of the Inca looking upward towards the sky, with the largest peak, Huayna Picchu (meaning Young Peak), representing his pierced nose.
I’ve mention Virgins of the Sun, I shall write about one of my favourite Virgin of the Sun, Yma Sumac.

12. (5.) Petra, Jordan
Petra Petra is considered the most famous and gorgeous site in Jordan located about 262 km south of Amman and 133 km north of Aqaba. It is the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels. The approach through a kilometer long, cool, and gloom chasm (or Siq) a long narrow gorge whose steeply rising sides all but obliterate the sun, provides a dramatic contrast with the magic to come. Suddenly the gorge opens into a natural square dominated by Petra’s most famous monument, The Treasury (El-Khazneh), whose intricately carved facade glows in the dazzling sun.
The Petra basin boasts over 800 individual monuments, including buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, and colonnaded streets, that were mostly carved from the kaleidoscopic sandstone by the technical and artistic genius of its inhabitants.
Petra sights are at their best in early morning and late afternoon, when the sun warms the multicolored stones, you can view the majesty of Petra as it was seen first when discovered in 1812 after being lost by the 16th century for almost 300 years!

13. (6.) Roman Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum The Colosseum, which stands near the center of present-day Rome, is perhaps the finest surviving example of ancient Roman architectural engineering. One of the most famous ruins in the world, thousands of tourists visit it every year.
The Colosseum is shaped like a modern football stadium and could seat 45,000 spectators. The four-story facility is 161 feet high, about 600 feet long and 500 feet wide. Events such as fights between gladiators and between men and wild animals were held there. Awnings could be hung from the walls to protect spectators from the sun.
The oval-shaped, sand-covered floor of the arena originally could be flooded for water spectacles. Later, however, cages for people and animals were installed beneath the arena. A wall separated the arena from spectators whose seats rested on sloping concrete supports as in many stadiums today.
Construction of the Colosseum started during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, who ruled from A.D. 69 to 79. Construction was completed in A.D. 80.

bonus (7.) Taj Mahal, Agra India

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal stands on the bank of River Yamuna, which otherwise serves as a wide moat defending the Great Red Fort of Agra, the center of the Mughal emperors until they moved their capital to Delhi in 1637. It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess. She died while accompanying her husband in Burhanpur in a campaign to crush a rebellion after giving birth to their 14th child. The death so crushed the emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white in a few months.
When Mumtaz Mahal was still alive, she extracted four promises from the emperor: first, that he build the Taj; second, that he should marry again; third, that he be kind to their children; and fourth, that he visit the tomb on her death anniversary. He kept the first and second promises. Construction began in 1631 and was completed in 22 years. Twenty thousand people were deployed to work on it. The material was brought in from all over India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport it to the site. It was designed by the Iranian architect Ustad Isa and it is best appreciated when the architecture and its adornments are linked to the passion that inspired it. It is a “symbol of eternal love”.

bonus#2 (8.) The Pyramids of Giza
Three Pyramids of Giza as the only remaining Wonder Of Ancient World are Honorary Candidate and has been removed from voting. This is the only right decision because it sounds absolutely absurd to even consider any doubts about them as one of the most amazing monument of human civilization. Or imagine that Statue of Liberty in NYC or Opera in Sidney win over Pyramids of Giza. That would be true embarrassment of our generations. Of course many will say that this whole voting is absurd but lets look this from brighter side: there are so many people who will (sadly) hear about these amazing places for the first time.