Journeying Through Time to UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites serve as living testaments of Earth’s long and rich history, showcasing feats of human ingenuity and beauty unparalleled by any natural phenomenon.

Historians first began compiling lists of wonders during Ancient Greek times. As civilizations expanded, more wonders were added to this original list, including Roman writers such as Martial and Christian writers like Gregory of Tours who created their own.

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza in El Giza, Egypt is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and stands as its primary representative in UNESCO World Heritage Site Giza Plateau.

Pharaoh Khufu had it constructed as his tomb and as a sign of his power and dominance both during life and after death. For centuries since then, travelers have come to admire its mysterious shape and massive scale; visitors exploring its hidden burial chambers come face-to-face with this massive Sphinx statue.

Unlike many of history’s marvels, the Great Pyramid of Giza has endured for millennia due to its outstanding site selection – far away from seismic and flood zones and protected from their effects, helping keep its structure standing firm over time.

The Pyramid stands out for its unparalleled astronomical alignment and precise architecture, designed to align with solar cycles and constellations. This remarkable feat of human engineering has given rise to some fringe theories such as that of author Erich Von Daniken who believed Egyptians received assistance from aliens for building pyramids; mainstream archaeologists disagree with Von Daniken and have instead pointed to ancient Egypt’s longstanding building tradition as being responsible for them.

The Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes was an immense statue depicting Helios, the sun god. Constructed between 292 and 280 BCE and standing over 33 meters (108 feet), it overlooked Rhodes harbor. Contrary to popular art depictions, however, the Colossus did not straddle it like New York City’s Statue of Liberty does.

Due to its impressive size and construction technique, this sculpture was considered one of the Seven Wonders. Unfortunately, its life was cut short due to an earthquake in 226 BCE that resulted in its destruction – its knees snapped and fell over onto the land below, sparking fears among Rhodians that they had angered Helios; therefore they refused to rebuild it, leaving it lying scattered on the ground for over 900 years before finally dismantled for good.

Although never rebuilt, its influence remains felt through centuries. It served as inspiration for the Statue of Liberty – making its presence felt around the globe for over 600 years and inspiring massive sculptures like that which we see today such as Statue of Liberty or even Colossus itself.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon represent one of the key reasons behind why the Seven Wonders concept was originally proposed: to provide an impressive list of extraordinary human accomplishments that few would ever experience, yet still generated fascination, discussion and envy among audiences around the world. Unfortunately, no-one knows if these gardens existed or not – their inclusion on earliest lists simply stems from mention by Hellenistic writers such as Strabo, Flavius Josephus and Diodorus Siculus who mentioned them as possible candidates for inclusion.

These writers described it as breathtaking and with walls supported by pillars. There were also terraces filled with trees and exotic plants, each being watered by water from the river below.

Common belief holds that Nebuchadnezzar had his neo-Babylonian gardens built for Amytis of Media, who missed her native mountains of Media. However, Oxford University Assyriologist Stephanie Dalley suggests they may actually have been created by his predecessor Sennacherib at Nineveh – sometimes known as “New Babylon”.

The Temple of Artemis

When we hear that the Temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, our imagination often conjures images of an enormous and magnificent temple–something special even among other monuments like Giza’s Great Pyramid. Indeed, its remarkable structure included 36 columns, 10-foot-tall statues of Greek warriors fighting Amazons, as well as intricate relief carvings.

Ephesus Temple was located on the western coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). This massive shrine dedicated to Artemis was said to be double the size of other classical Greek temples such as Parthenon.

Temple of Artemis became a model for subsequent Greek temple designs due to both its sheer magnitude and grand simplicity, listing as one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World by writers such as Herodotus (484-425 BCE) and Callimachus of Cyrene (285 – 240 BCE). Unfortunately, during a raid by Goths in 268 CE it was either damaged beyond repair or completely burned down, signalling its demise and thus ending its glory days.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the longest wall ever built and serves to defend and unite Chinese territories against nomadic tribes from the steppe. This monument is recognized by UNESCO World Heritage List.

Antipater of Sidon was the first to compile a list of Wonders (5th century BCE). Later lists appeared during Roman times, Renaissance periods and even contemporary times.

Notable ancient Wonders include tombs containing the remains of powerful kings or monolithic statues of deities; others were marvels of human engineering – the Great Pyramid of Giza is still standing today as one such wonder!

The Great Wall of China was an immense engineering project begun around 221 BC when Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered its construction to prevent invaders from crossing over into Chinese territory. It included beacon towers, garrison stations and barracks connected through an integrated defense system; also notable were its bricks bearing Chinese characters used as quality-control markers; you can visit this magnificent structure as part of our China Highlights, North China Getaway, Explore China or Real Food Adventure small group adventures!

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