Facebook Twitter

HINDU TEMPLE, TAJ MAHAL ARE AMONG WORLD’S WONDERS

SHARE HINDU TEMPLE, TAJ MAHAL ARE AMONG WORLD’S WONDERS

1. ANGKOR WAT Near Siem Reap, northwestern Cambodia. Hindu temple built by King Suryavarman II in the 1100s as part of a complex of buildings in Angkor, then a city of more than 1 million. The temple became his tomb. Later it became a Buddhist shrine. Vital statistics: The temple covers a square mile of a complex that sprawls 8 miles by 15 miles. The highest of its five towers rises about 170 feet, and its bas reliefs are the world's longest.

2. TAJ MAHAL Agra, northern India. Mausoleum built between 1632 and 1650 by Shah Jahan as an expression of love for his favorite wife, affectionatley called Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. The shah joined her in the tomb. Vital statistics: On a square marble base 312 feet per side, the building is 186 feet square dominated by arches rising 108 feet and a bulbous dome whose tip is 243 feet above ground level.3. MACHU PICCHU Near Cuzco, southern Peru. An Inca city of unknown age hidden from the marauding Spaniards by vegetation and its barely accessible location high in the Andes. Lost for centuries, it was discovered only in 1911. Vital statistics: About 5 square miles in area and 7,480 feet above sea level, the city's population was probably no more than 1,200. But as with Petra, sometimes wonder transcends statistics.

4. PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT Near Giza, Egypt. Still here and still drawing thousands of tourists annually after 4,500 years, the only example of the ancient Seven Wonders to have survived with their Wonder relatively intact. Vital statistics: The Great Pyramid now stands about 450 feet high, with each side of its base about 760 feet; the middle pyramid is still a few feet shorter; the third now rises about 200 feet.

5. PETRA Near Ma'an, southwest Jordan. Ancient city with links to Moses that prospered as a trading center from the 300 B.C. into the 3rd century A.D. Buried and forgotten, it was rediscovered in 1812 and uncovered in this century. Vital statistics: Called the "Rose-Red City" for the sandstone rocks from which many of its temples, residences and tombs were carved. There's also an 8,000-seat amphitheater.

6. STATUE OF LIBERTY New York Harbor. Built in France and presented to the U.S. in 1884 as a gift of the French people to commemorate America's Centennial. Its size, construction and spiked crown are reminiscent of Rhodes' Colossus. Vital statistics: From the feet to the top of the torch, 151 feet tall; 305 feet including the base. Number of steps to the crown: 142. Total cost, including the pedestal: about $800,000.

7. GREAT WALL Northern China. Begun in the 4th century B.C. as local barriers, they connected by Emperor Shih Huang-ti beginning in 221 B.C. to keep out Mongol invaders. Rebuilt and reinforced in the 15th century. Vital statistics: 2,150 miles long (more than 4,000 miles total, including offshoots), about 25 feet high and 25 feet wide at the base, tapering to 15 feet at the top. Connected by 25,000 watchtowers.

Ancient wonders

PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT Near Giza, Egypt.

Erected about 2500 B.C. as tombs for Egyptian kings. The Great Pyramid, largest of the three at Giza, was built as a final resting place for Khufu; the others for Khafre and Menkaure.

Vital statistics: The Great Pyramid originally was 481 feet high, with each side of its base 761 feet; the middle pyramid was 471 feet; the third rose 218 feet.

What's left: Except for much of the outer casing and interior treasures, they survive virtually intact.

COLOSSUS OF RHODES Rhodes, a Greek island.

Erected about 280 B.C. of iron and bronze at the harbor entrance to commemorate the lifting of a siege by the neighboring Macedonians. Toppled by an earthquake 56 years later, the pieces remained an attraction until about 655 A.D., when Arab traders sold the metal for scrap.

Vital statistics: About 120 feet high, at least 20 tons of metal over perhaps 500 tons of marble and rock.

What's left: Nothing.

PHAROS AT ALEXANDRIA Near Alexandria, Egypt.

Built 280 B.C. for Ptolemy II, the lighthouse marked the harbor and provided a lookout for soldiers. Damaged by an earthquake around 700 A.D., the building stood into the 1300s; later, its stones were used in a fort.

Vital statistics: Believed to have been more than 400 feet high, it was constructed primarily of white marble topped by a reflecting mirror. The lowest of its three sections contained 50 rooms.

What's left: Some of its stones can still be seen in the foundation of Qa'it Bey Fort on the site.

HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON South of Baghdad, Iraq.

The most credible version has King Nebuchadnezzar II building the gardens about 600 B.C. because wife Amytis missed the green hillsides of her homeland to the north.

Vital statistics: An expansive roof garden at least 75 feet high (with terraces topping out perhaps 60 feet from there) and 300 to 400 feet square, irrigated by water from the Euphrates River pumped by slaves.

What's left: Nothing. Built of nonlasting materials, the terraces - and all but a few traces of ancient Babylon - turned to dust centuries ago.

MAUSOLEUM AT HALICARNASSUS Bodrum, western Turkey

Burial tomb commissioned by Mausolus, ruler of Caria, about 351 B.C. and completed by his sister - and widow - Queen Artemisia. An earthquake and scavangers left it a ruin by the 1500s.

Vital statistics: A block about 125 by 100 feet at the base, topped by a temple-like structure and a stepped-pyramid roof rising about 140 feet. Atop the roof: a four-horse chariot carrying statues of the king and queen.

What's left: Chunks of one of the rooftop horses, two large statues (possibly from the chariot) and 15 blocks of ornamental frieze, all in the British Museum, London.

THE STATUE OF ZEUS Olympia, western Greece.

Created about 430 B.C. by the sculptor Phidias for the massive Temple of Zeus. It may have been destroyed when the temple burned in 426 A.D.; in another version, it had been shipped in 391 A.D. to a palace in Constantinople (now Istanbul) where, in 475 A.D., it perished in another fire.

Vital statistics: About 40 feet high, plated with ivory and gold, and seated on an ornamented wooden throne.

What's left: Nothing but its image on some old coins.

THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS Ephesus, western Turkey.

Begun about 550 B.C. by King Croesus of Lydia to house a celebrated statue of Artemis, goddess of childbirth. Burned in 356 B.C. - supposedly by an arsonist on the birthdate of Alexander the Great - then rebuilt by Alexander. Destroyed by Goth invaders in 262 A.D.

Vital statistics: About 360 feet long and 175 wide, with 127 columns rising at least 40 feet from the base.

What's left: Remnants of the foundation at Ephesus, and sculpted fragments - including a richly detailed column drum - in London's British Museum.