The Library of Alexandria
Dedicated to the Muses, the nine Greek goddesses of the arts, the Library of Alexandria was one of the biggest and oldest libraries of the ancient world under the patronage of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. It contains lecture halls, meeting rooms and gardens, as well as a library and research institution, which at its peak possessed hundreds of thousands of scrolls and codices. It is said all incoming ships were required to turn over their books for copying, receiving a duplicate in return while the originals were added to the library. The complex is now destroyed, along with many of the artifacts burned after the Roman conquest.
The First and Second Temples of Jerusalem
With a history stretching back millennia, all that’s left of the Temples of Jerusalem are the Western Wall and Robinson’s Arch. The original structure was built by King Solomon, dedicated to Yahweh for 410 years before Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed it after the Siege of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. Solomon’s Temple was said to contain the Ark of the Covenant and numerous religious artifacts. According to Flavius Josephus, the temple was rebuilt by Herod the Great for Jewish exiles returning to the city and was thereby known as Herod’s Temple. It has since been destroyed by Titus of the Roman Empire, but visitors from all over the world come to pray by the Western Wall.
The Colossus of Rhodes
An original member of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” the Colossus is an ancient statue located on the Greek island of Rhodes. Its construction originates from a siege by Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who aimed to sack the island before being countered by a relief force sent from Egypt. Rhodes and Ptolemy I forged an alliance against their common enemy and celebrated their victory by erecting a statue of Helios out of the abandoned weapons of their defeated enemy. Chares of Lindo constructed the statue, which at 30 meters high, was one of the tallest structures of the ancient world before it was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
This one is another member of the “Seven Wonders,” but is the only site not to have an established location. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are thought to have been built around the present day Babil Province in Iraq. Nebuchadnezzar II of the Neo-Babylonian Empire is said to have built them for his wife who missed the lush valleys of her homeland of Media. Several ancient writings make mention to the gardens, describing thriving plant canopies watered by aqueducts, though there is controversy whether they refer to an actual site or a poetic creation.
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