Seven Wonders of the World

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7 Wonders of the World

KarnatakaBEJAI KAPIKAD MANGALORE ANUGRAHA BUILDING, BEJAI KAPIKAD MANGALORE OPP. KSRTC BUS STAND, BEJAI-BEJAI
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BELLARY P B No 5
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BHADRAVATHI 347, BHADRAVATHI Sri Srinivasa Nivasa, B H Road,-BHADRAVATHI
BIDADI NO.370/1-A, BIDADI B.G.S.ROAD, BIDADI-BIDADI
BIDAR 8-9-214 , FIRST FLOOR, BIDAR UDGIR ROAD, SINDOL TYRES BUILDING-OPP AKKAMAHADEVI COLLEGE
BIJAPUR CTS 262/1, Ward 3, BIJAPUR S S Road, BIJAPUR-BIJAPUR
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CATHEDRAL BRANCH, CATHEDRAL BRANCH Bishops House Complex, Beside St. Anthony Community Center-Cantonment
CATHOLIC CENTRE Kalamma Street, CATHOLIC CENTRE Catholic Centre, Mothi circle-BELLARY
CDPC Bangalore 10 First Floor, Cdpc Bangalore Kempegowda Road, Bangalore-Bangalore
CHAMARAJNAGAR Amba Krupa, CHAMARAJNAGAR Thyagaraja Road, CHAMARAJNAGAR-CHAMARAJNAGAR
CHAMRAJPET 7, Chamrajpet 4th Main Road, Behind Rameshwara Temple-Chamrajpet
CHICKMAGALUR Chickmagalur M G Road, Chikmagalur-Chikmagalur
CHITRADURGA P B No 40, CHITRADURGA SRINIVAS MANSION, HOLALKERE ROAD-H P O CHITRDURGA
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CUBBONPET Hamid Shah Complex, CUBBONPET No.2, Cubbonpet, Bangalore-
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1. Pyramids of Egypt

General Studies Question Bank CDThe Pyramids of Egypt, built at Giza during the 4th Dynasty ( circa 2680 – c 2544 BC ) are the oldest of the seven wonders and the only ones remaining intact today. The great pyramids of Egypt still stand. They were built between 2650 and 2500 BC. Except for parts of the Mausoleum and of the temple of Artemis, they are the only one of the seven ancient wonders still standing. Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only the pyramids of Egypt have survived in a form that resembles their original condition.

The largest of the three, known as the Great Pyramid of Khufu, was made of approximately 2.3 million blocks of stone each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. Located in Giza on the west bank of the Nile River, near Cairo, the pyramids remain one of the engineering marvels of all time.

2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, perhaps built by King Nebuchadnezzar II about 600 BC, were a mountain like series of planted terraces.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon have long since disappeared. They were said to have been built by King Nebuchadnezzarin the 6th century BC to please and console his favorite wife, Amytis. Great terraces of masonry were built one on top of the other. On these were planted gardens of tropical flowers and trees and avenues of palms. They were irrigated by water pumped from the Euphrates River.

Nebuchadnezzar and his queen could sit in the shade and look down upon the beauties of the city. The walls of Babylon were often included with the Hanging Gardens among the wonders of Babylon. Built by Nebuchadnezzar, they were faced with glazed tile and pierced by openings fitted with magnificent brass gates. According to tradition, the homesickness of a favorite wife prompted Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to build the famous Hanging Gardens. Nothing remains of these luxuriant terraces.

3. Statue of Zeus

The Statue of Zeus is 12 m and 40 feet, mid – 5th century BC by the Greek sculptor Phidias was the central feature of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece. The statue of Olympian Zeus was erected at Olympia, in the Peloponnesus of Greece, by the great sculptor Phidias in the 5th century BC. It was a towering structure of ivory and gold, 40 feet high, majestic and beautiful.

After about 10 centuries of existence the statue was destroyed. Our only idea of it is gained from coins of Elis, which are thought to bear copies of the original. The ivory and gold statue of the Olympian Zeus was perhaps the greatest masterpiece of the sculptor Phidias. It stood in a shrine on the Olympian plain until the early Middle Ages.

4. The Temple of Artemis at Egypt

It is simply a temple. How could it take its place among other unique structures such as the Pyramid, the Hanging Gardens, and the Colossus of Rhodes For the people who actually visited it, the answer was simple. It was not just a temple… It was the most beautiful structure on earth… It was built in honor of the Greek goddess of hunting and wild nature. That was the Temple of Artemis ( Diana ) at Ephesus.

Location The ancient city of Ephesus near the modern town of Selcuk, about 50 km south of Izmir ( Smyrna ) in Turkey.

History 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, it was sponsored by the Lydian king Croesus and was designed by the Greek architect Chersiphron. It was decorated with bronze statues sculpted by the most skilled artists of their time :

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  • Pheidias
  • Polycleitus
  • Kresilas
  • Phradmon

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 21st July 356 BC, a man named Herostratus burned the temple to ground in an attempt to immortalize his name. He did indeed. Strangely 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”. Over the next two decades, the temple was restored and is labeled “temple E” by archeologists. And when Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor, he helped rebuild the destroyed temple.

When St Paul visited Ephesus to preach Christianity in the first century AD, he was confronted by the Artemis’ cult who had no plans to abandon their goddess. And when the temple was again destroyed by the Goths in AD 262, the Ephesians vowed to rebuild. By the fourth century AD, most Ephesians had converted to Christianity and the temple lost its religious glamor. The final chapter came when in AD 401 the Temple of Artemis was torn down by St John Chrysostom. Ephesus was later deserted, and only in the late nineteenth century has the site been excavated. The digging revealed the temple’s foundation and the road to the now swampy site. Attempts were recently made to rebuilt the temple, but only a few columns have been re – erected.

Description The foundation of the temple was rectangular in form, similar to most temples at the time. Unlike other sanctuaries, however, the building was made of marble, with a decorated facade overlooking a spacious courtyard. Marble steps surrounding the building platform led to the high terrace which was approximately 80 m ( 260 feet ) by 130 m ( 430 feet ) in plan. The columns were 20 m ( 60 feet ) high with Ionic capitals and carved circular sides. There were 127 columns in total, aligned orthogonally over the whole platform area, except for the central cella or house of the goddess.

The temple housed many works of art, including four ancient bronze statues of Amazons sculpted by the finest artists at the time. When St Paul visited the city, the temple was adorned with golden pillars and silver statuettes, and was decorated with paintings. There is no evidence that a statue of the goddess herself was placed at the center of the sanctuary, but there is no reason not to believe so.

The early detailed descriptions of the temple helped archeologists reconstruct the building. Many reconstructions such as that by H.F. von Erlach depicted the facade with a four – column porch which never existed. More accurate reconstructions may give us an idea about the general layout of the temple. However, its true beauty lies in the architectural and artistic details which will forever remain unknown.

5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus ( circa 353 BC ) was a monumental marble tomb, decorated by the leading sculptor of the age, for King Mausolus of Caria in Asia Minor; only fragments remain. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, also in Asia Minor, derived its name from King Mausolus of Caria. After his death in the middle of the 4th century BC, his queen, Artemisia, employed Greek architects to constructa superb monument over his remains. It was a great rectangular pile of masonry, surmountedby an Ionic colonnade supporting a roof like pyramid.

At the apex stood a four – horse chariot in which were statues of the king and queen. So famous was this structure that the word mausoleum came to be applied to any monumental tomb. Some relics of the original Mausoleum are preserved in the British Museum. Only crumbling fragments remain of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus on the coast of Asia Minor. It was raised to the memory of King Mausolus of Caria by his devoted Queen, Artemisia.

6. The Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes was a 30 – m ( 100 – feet ) bronze statue of the Greek sun god Helios, erected about 280 BC to guard the entrance to the harbor at Rhodes; itwas destroyed about 55 years later. The Colossus of Rhodes was a great bronze statue, erected in about 280 BC by the citizens of Rhodes, capital of the Greek island of the same name. It represented their sun – god Helios and was said to be 105 feet high.

According to legend, it straddled the harbor entrance, but it is more likely that it stood to one side. The statue was overthrown by an earthquake in 224 BC but its huge fragments long were regarded with wonder. Nearly a thousand years later, in AD 656, a Muslim dealer bought the fragments as old metal and carried them away to be melted down.The old engraving of the Colossus of Rhodes is purely imaginary and is based on the legend that the statue stood astride the harbor entrance.

7. The Pharos of Alexandria

The Pharos of Alexandria ( circa 280 BC ), located on an island in the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt, was a famous ancient lighthouse standing more than 134 m ( 440 feet ) tall; it was destroyed in the 14th century. The Pharos of Alexandria,in Egypt, was the for erunner of modern light houses. The name belonged originally to an island lying off the coast. When Alexander the Great laid out the city he connected the island of Pharos with the mainland by means of a mole, or causeway.

On the eastern point of the island his successors, Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II, erected a great light house made of white marble. It was this structure, said to have been 400 feet high, that came to be known as the Pharos of Alexandria. For more than 1,000years the light house known as Pharos of Alexandria guided Mediterranean ships to harbor. Built for Ptolemy II of Egypt in about 280 BC, the light house was severely damaged by an earthquake in AD 955 and disappeared completely by 1500.

8. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Located at the city of Agra in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful masterpieces of architecture in the world. Agra, situated about 200 km south of New Delhi, was the Capital of the Mughals ( Moguls ), the Muslim Emperors who ruled Northern India between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Mughals were the descendents of two of the most skilled warriors in history :

  • The Turks
  • The Mongols

The Mughal dynasty reached its highest strength and fame during the reign of their early Emperors, Akbar, Jehangir, and Shah Jehan. It was Shah Jehan who ordered the building of the Taj, in honor of his wife, Arjumand Banu who later became known as Mumtaz Mahal, the Distinguished of the Palace. Mumtaz and Shah Jehan were married in 1612 and, over the next 18 years, had 14 children together. The Empress used to accompany her husband in his military campaigns, and it was in 1630, in Burhanpur, that she gave birth to her last child, for she died in childbirth. So great was the Emperor love to his wife that he ordered the building of the most beautiful mausoleum on Earth for her.

Although it is not known for sure who planned the Taj, the name of an Indian architect of Persian descent, Although it is not known for sure who planned the Taj, the name of an Indian architect of Persian descent, Ustad Ahmad Lahori, has been cited in many sources. As soon as construction began in 1630, masons, craftsmen, sculptors, and calligraphers were summoned from Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and Europe to work on the masterpiece. The site was chosen near the Capital, Agra on the southwest bank of the River Yamuna.

The architectural complex is comprised of five main elements :

  • The Darwaza or main gateway
  • The Bageecha or garden
  • The Masjid or mosque
  • The Naqqar Khana or rest house
  • The Rauza or the Taj Mahal mausoleum

The actual Tomb is situated inside the Taj.

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The 7 Wonders of the Medieval World

Several of the most incredible sites in the world were created during the medieval period – a period in time that did not even really exist in word until later in the 16th century. These lists, created much later in history, often feature structures that were built before but became popular during medieval times.

Many of the lists depicting medieval wonders don’t limit themselves to seven structures – many feature as much as 10 or more. Researchers have studied several of these lists and have decided that the following seven structures were the most popular during medieval times.

1. Leaning Tower of Pisa

The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually a bell tower. The freestanding tower is part of the main cathedral in the Italian city of Pisa and is the oldest structure found in Cathedral Square.

The designers of the tower did not intend for it to lean. The foundation was poorly constructed and was set in loose soil, contributing to a shift that began right after construction of the tower began. The tower used to learn at an angle of 5.5 degrees but restoration efforts during the late 1990′s corrected the lean to only 3.99 degrees.

Each of these incredible monuments represents an important part of the history of our developing world. They impact not only their own individual regions, but the entire globe. Make sure you add at least one or two of these sites to your summer travel itinerary. You won’t regret the extra trip.

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2. Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a spectacularly designed museum found in Istanbul, Turkey. The museum, first inaugurated in 360 AD, served as a patriarchal basilica and was later transformed into a mosque.

Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world until 1520, when the Seville Cathedral was completed. The building that stands today was completed around 537 AD at the request of Emperor Justinian from the Byzantine era. The architecture and artwork within makes Hagia Sophia one of the most beautiful mosques in the world and it was often used as a guide for the construction of similar landmarks.

3. Porcelain Tower of Nanjing

The Porcelain Tower can be found along the southern shores of the Yangtze River in Nanjing, China. The tower itself was actually a large pagoda with an octagon shaped base measuring around 97 feet in diameter. When it was first built, the tower was one of China’s largest buildings.

Sadly, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was destroyed during the Taiping rebellion of the 19th century. The tower, which was originally made of white porcelain bricks, is currently under reconstruction.

4. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was built over an extended period of time ranging between 5th century BC and the 16th century AD. The wall stretches over 4,000 miles and was originally built to protect the northern borders from attacks from Xiongnu.

The wall was built in sections, the most famous of which was built around 206 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese Emperor. Historic documents and archaeological estimates predict that around 3 million Chinese died during the construction of the entire wall. New sections of the wall have recently been uncovered.

5. Catacombs of Komel Shoqafa

The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa can be found in Alexandria, Egypt. This incredible historic archaeological site features tombs, statues, and funeral objects currently dating as early as 2nd century AD.

The catacombs weren’t discovered until the year 1900 when a donkey fell into one of the access shafts that had been created to reach the burial chambers. It is believed that the catacombs were originally intended to house the remains of only one family but were expanded over time to serve as a mass burial ground.

6. Colosseum

The Colosseum, found at the center of Rome in Italy, is yet another spectacularly popular tourist site. The elliptically shaped amphitheater was the largest ever built during the course of the Roman Empire and its construction was completed around 72 AD.

The Colosseum had several distinct uses. The amphitheater was used to reenact famous battles, to put on dramatic performances based on mythological stories, and to host gladiatorial games. The theater was also the site of numerous executions, animal hunts, and workshops. More than 500,000 individuals and millions of animals died during the events held in this historic establishment.

7. Stonehenge

In the county of Wiltshire in England you’ll find the mysterious Stonehenge monument. The monument itself is comprised of a series of large stones that stand in formation around a series of earthworks, or strange changes in the formation of the earth itself.

The monuments themselves have been dated as far back as 2,500 BC. The entire site, however, is believed to have once been used as an ancient burial ground and remains found there have been dated even further – possibly as far back as 3,000 BC. Regardless, the site is one of the most popular and most visited in England today.

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New Seven Wonders of the World

1. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. Just like a gigantic dragon, the Great Wall winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 8,851.8 kilometers ( 5,500 miles ) from east to west of China. With a history of more than 2000 years, some of the sections are now in ruins or have disappeared. However, it is still one of the most appealing attractions all around the world owing to its architectural grandeur and historical significance.

The City of Petra was hidden in the mountains of Jordan for thousands of years when a young Swiss explorer Johan Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered it in 1812.

Temples, tombs, and other buildings are all carved out of the sandstone cliffs, wich also gives it the name the “rose red city”

In the last scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade the Treasury serves as a secret temple lost for hundreds of year.

And that is actually what it is. This place is impossible to capture in a normal still image. You have to visit it, or the next best  – You can see it in a cubic QTVR as here in Greg Downings panorama made last year as an assignment for Intel.

Greg visited some of the most famous places in the world during this assignment, but he describes the visit at Petra as the most memorable.

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Pliny the Elder and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Nabataeans, and the center of their caravan trade. Enclosed by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra not only possessed the advantages of a fortress, but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.

Excavations have demonstrated that it was the ability of the Nabataeans to control the water supply that led to the rise of the desert city, creating an artificial oasis. The area is visited by flash floods and archaeological evidence demonstrates the Nabataeans controlled these floods by the use of dams, cisterns and water conduits. These innovations stored water for prolonged periods of drought, and enabled the city to prosper from its sale.

The Pink Ruins of petra in Jordan

Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan, lying in a basin among the mountains that form the eastern flank of Arabah ( Wadi Araba ), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock. The long – hidden site was revealed to the Western world by Swiss explorer Johan Ludnwig Burckhardt in 1812. Today, the Palace Tombs of Petra, with the 42 – meter – high Hellenistic temple facade on the El – Deir Monastery, are impressive examples of Middle Eastern culture. for more information visit here Petra

3. The Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer Statue – 5 Amazing Facts

The famous Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer statue is the face of this amazing city. This breath taking masterpiece overlooking Rio has been admired and visited by millions of people since it was first built in 1931. The Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer statue is one of the most significant land marks around the world.

Amazing Fact : 1 – Whose Idea Was It ? – The idea behind the statue was first proposed in the mid 1850’s when a Catholic Priest by the name of Pedro Maria Boss requested the finance to build a religious monument in the city. However, the idea was dismissed and the monument was never built. In 1921 a monument was proposed again by the Catholic Circle of Rio. They appealed to the public for support and donations to have something built to represent the religious strength in the country.

Amazing Fact : 2 – What Does Christ Stand For ? – Christ the Redeemer statue ( or Christo Redentor as it’s known in Portuguese ) is a worldwide symbol for peace. This amazing statue took nine years to complete, and is made from reinforced concrete with the outer layers being soapstone. These materials were chosen for the Rio de Janeiro statue due to their hard wearing qualities and ease to work with.

Amazing Fact : 3 – Who Designed Cristo Redentor ? – The overall design of the statue was created by a local designer; however, a French sculptor was commissioned to sculpt the Christ the Redeemer. The overall cost of the statue was the equivalent of $250,000 today. In 1980 Pope John Paul II was scheduled to visit the Rio de Janeiro statue and major restoration work was undertaken. In 2003 escalators and elevators were built, to allow people to gain easier access to the viewing platform.

Amazing Fact : 4 – Has It Ever Been Struck By Lightning ? – In 2008 forceful lightning struck the monument causing damage to the fingers, eyebrows and head. Work was undertaken to restore these points on the statue, and some of the soapstone was removed and replaced. The lightning rods also needed to be repaired due to the extent of the damage. The focus of the last restoration in 2010 was to maintain the interior of Cristo Redentor. All of the stone that was used in the restoration was taken from the quarry that the original pieces were from. A fantastic lighting system was also installed to light up the base of the monument.

Amazing Fact : 5 – Who Would Vandalize Christ ? – In 2010 an act of mindless vandalism occurred when someone spray painted the Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer statue. The mayor declared it a crime against the nation, and a reward was put forward to catch the culprit. Cristo Redentor proudly took its place in the list of seven new wonders of the world in 2007, and has been used in many films and documentaries over the years. At 38 meters tall and weighing 1.145 tonnes there is no doubt that this staggering monument is one of the most amazing manmade structures in the world.

4. Incan Ruins of Machu picchu

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AS we neared the end of a very long climb up a very steep ridge, my guide, John Leivers, shouted at me over his shoulder. “It’s said that the Spaniards never found Machu Picchu, but I disagree,” he said. I caught up to him — for what seemed like the 20th time that day — and he pointed his bamboo trekking pole at the strangely familiar-looking set of ruins ahead. “It’s this place they never found.”

He was pointing to Choquequirao, an Incan citadel high in the Peruvian Andes that so closely resembles Machu Picchu that it’s often touted as the sister site of South America’s most famous ruins. Both are believed to have been built in the 15th century and consist of imposing stone buildings arranged around a central plaza, situated among steep mountain ridges that overlook twisting whitewater rivers, with views of skyscraping peaks — known as apus, or mountain deities, to both the Incas and their Quechua – speaking Andean descendants — in several directions. Both are almost indescribably beautiful.

But there’s no question about which sibling is more popular. An estimated 3,000 people make their way through Machu Picchu’s corridors on a typical day. Between breakfast and lunch at Choquequirao, I counted 14 people, including myself, John and a few scattered archaeologists.

The first known American to see Choquequirao was the young Yale history lecturer Hiram Bingham III, in 1909. He was researching a biography of the South American liberator Simon Bolivar when a local prefect he met near Cuzco persuaded him to visit the site. Many believed that the ruins of Choquequirao had once been Vilcabamba, the legendary lost city of the Incas. Bingham didn’t agree, and was mesmerized by the idea of lost cities waiting to be found. Two years later, he returned to Peru in search of Vilcabamba. On 24th July, 1911, just days into his expedition, Bingham climbed a 2,000 – foot – tall slope and encountered an abandoned stone city of which no record existed. It was Machu Picchu.

5. The Ancient Mayan City of Chicken Itza in Mexico

The ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza is one of the main places of interest for tourists visiting the Yucatan peninsula, in Mexico. The name of the city means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza”, and is believed to have reached its apogee during the political and economical dominance of the Itza ethnic group over the northern Yucatan.

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Chichen Itza is a large pre – Colombian archeological site built by the advanced ( for its time ) Mayan civilization. Archaeologists have found signs of previously built settlements in the area, but the most impressive buildings in the city were built around 600 AD.

Reaching Chichen Itza

This very interesting to see archaeological site is located about 2 to 2 ½ hour’ s drive from Cancun, Mexico. There are organized tourist trip buses to and from Cancun, but you can also get transportation from your hotel if you request it. You can also rent a car and drive there on your own, arriving at an hour that is best for you.

The Chichen Itza Ruins

Chichen Itza contains many stone buildings in different states of preservation. Some of them have been partly restored, while others are in the state in which they were discovered by the archaeologists. There are also parts of the city that are open only for archaeologists, and are not open for the regular tourist to visit them.

The city is split into five areas – Great North Platform, Ossario Group, The Casa Colorada Group, Central Group and Old Chichen. Back in time when the city was complete, these areas were separated by walls; but today there are very few walls remaining, and most of the complex is easy to access from one area to another.

The Pyramid of Kulkulkan

The Great North Group is the most popular and most visited area of Chichen Itza, as this is the place where a large step pyramid called “the Castle” is located. It was built by the Maya and they called it The Pyramid of Kulkulkan ( Quetzalcoatl ), after their feathered serpent deity.

The Sacred Cenote

Another noticeable structure on the Great North Group plateau is the Sacred Cenote. It is an opening into the ground, leading to a series of underground rivers. The Maya used it as a place to present gifts to their deities – jade, food and even human beings from enemy tribes, captured during warfare.

Chichen Itza is opened for visitors from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. all year round, but most of the tourists visit it around noon. If you are planning to take the trip to Chichen Itza and wish to see it when it is less crowded, you should time your visit so that you arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon, when there are fewer people. Make sure you bring plenty of water and that you wear comfortable shoes and clothes, as the temperatures can be very high and the weather hot and humid.

6. The Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum is probably the most impressive building of the Roman empire. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, it was the largest building of the era. The monumental structure has fallen into ruins, but even today it is an imposing and beautiful sight.

The Flavian Amphitheater

Emperor Vespasian, founder of the Flavian Dynasty, started construction of the Colosseum in AD 72. It was completed in AD 80, the year after Vespasian’s death. The huge amphitheater was built on the site of an artificial lake, part of Nero’s huge park in the center of Rome which also included the Golden House ( Domus Aurea ) and the nearby Colossus statue. This giant statue of Nero also gave the building its current name.

The Building

The elliptical building is immense, measuring 188m by 156m and reaching a height of more than 48 meter ( 159 ft ). The Colosseum could accommodate some 55,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances.

Above the ground are four storeys, the upper storey contained seating for lower classes and women. Colosseum, Rome The lowest storey was preserved for prominent citizens. Below the ground were rooms with mechanical devices and cages containing wild animals. The cages could be hoisted, enabling the animals to appear in the middle of the arena.

Velarium

The Colosseum was covered with an enormous awning known as the velarium. This protected the spectators from the sun. It was attached to large poles on top of the Colosseum and anchored to the ground by large ropes. A team of some 1,000 men was used to install the awning.

Bread and circuses

Emperors used the Colosseum to entertain the public with free games. Those games were a symbol of prestige and power and they were a way for an emperor to increase his popularity.

Games were held for a whole day or even several days in a row. They usually Inside the Colosseum in Rome started with comical acts and displays of exotic animals and ended with fights to the death between animals and gladiators or between gladiators. These fighters were usually slaves, prisoners of war or condemned criminals. Sometimes free Romans and even Emperors took part in the action.

Inauguration

Hundred – day games were held by Titus, Vespasian’s successor, to mark the inauguration of the building in AD 80. In the process, some 9,000 wild animals were slaughtered.

The Ruins

The southern side of the Colosseum was felled by an earthquake in 847. Parts of the building – including the marble facade – were used for the construction of later monuments, including the St. Peter’s Basilica.

7. The Taj mahal in India

Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. The Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Jamuna river.

Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan ( died 1666 C.E. ) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India. It is an “elegy in marble” or some say an expression of a “dream.” Taj Mahal ( meaning Crown Palace ) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan’s real name was Shahab – ud – din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.

Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty – two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.

The Taj stands on a raised, square platform ( 186 x 186 feet ) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self – replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural elements.

Its central dome is fifty – eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162.5 feet each. The entire mausoleum ( inside as well as outside ) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.

The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque ( to the left ), a guest house ( to the right ), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections. Like the Taj, the garden elements serve like Arabesque, standing on their own and also constituting the whole.

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