There has been a lot of discussion lately about the supposed Wonders of the World. A few years ago, after a worldwide voting process, the Seven NEW Wonders of the World were chosen. This in turn created a lot of renewed interest, spawned a TV show, An Idiot Abroad, and now the Wonders of the Natural World are being selected. While I’m always in favor of anything that gets people excited about traveling, I don’t agree with all of the winners of the New Seven Wonders of the World and instead, want to look back at what started it all, the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.
The Wonders refer to seven of the greatest feats of construction from antiquity, information of which has been handed down thanks to the preservation of the Ancient Greek’s version of travel guides. The Wonders are:
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
- Colossus of Rhodes
- Lighthouse of Alexandria
Of these, the only one still intact is the Great Pyramid at Giza, but there are remnants of some of the others. I have a deep love of ancient history; learning about the remarkable feats from antiquity has always fascinated me. That’s why when I learned that I had the chance to visit the site of one of the Ancient Wonders, I jumped at the opportunity.
Located near the ancient city of Ephesus and the modern port city of Kusadasi, Turkey, the remnants of the Temple of Artemis can still be seen today. We left Kusadasi early in the morning, and the first stop on our tour of the area was at the Temple. We hopped out of the van, walked down to a large, grassy area and were met with, not much.
All that remains of the once massive building are a few stones and a large pillar, one of the many that once held up this ancient edifice. According to lore, the Temple was destroyed by arson and what was once one of the most grand temples in the world was lost forever.
As I walked around, I marveled at the site, not for what was left, but for the fascination it has held for tourists for millennia. I was part of a long chain of tourists, dating back to ancient times, that made the arduous trek to this very site to witness the splendor contained within. Today, it is more about paying respects to an advanced civilization than it is about splendor, but it is still a remarkable experience.