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Mapped: The Ancient Seven Wonders of the World

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ancient seven wonders of the world

The Ancient Seven Wonders of the World

From skyscrapers that defy gravity to tunnels below the sea, mankind’s civil engineering feats are all around us.

The complexity of older structures like the Great Wall of China, Chichén Itzá, and the Taj Mahal continue to captivate and fascinate visitors today, but it’s worth noting that “wonders” such as these are not a modern concept.

As far back as the 2nd century BCE, ancient guide books and poems were being written by Greeks that had toured the extent of Alexander the Great’s kingdoms, giving us the original “seven wonders of the world” from the Hellenistic world they knew at the time.

This graphic by Pranav Gavali looks at the original ancient seven wonders, including their modern-day locations and features, using data from Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia.

Where Were the Seven Wonder of the World?

The original seven wonders of the world were built around the Mediterranean Sea and in the Middle East over a span of 3,000 years, all before the Common Era.

WondersModern LocationYear Created
Great Pyramid of GizaEgypt2,584 BCE
Hanging Gardens of BabylonIraq600 BCE
Temple of Artemis at EphesusTurkey550 BCE
Statue of Zeus at OlympiaGreece435 BCE
Mausoleum at HalicarnassusTurkey351 BCE
Colossus of RhodesGreece292 BCE
Lighthouse of AlexandriaEgypt280 BCE

From the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt to the Colossus in Rhodes, each wonder represents a different aspect of human ambition and ingenuity.

And while only one of the wonders still stands today, their legacy lives on. Let’s explore the stories behind the seven wonders of the world:

1. The Great Pyramid of Giza

— 2,584 BCE

The ancient Egyptians believed that death was a pitstop on the way to a new life, and royals were buried in massive royal tombs.

This 4,500-year-old pyramid was one such tomb, built for Pharaoh Khufu. Standing tall at an initial 147 meters (139 meters today), this monument is the oldest and largest of the seven wonders of the world. It is also the only ancient wonder still standing.

2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

— 600 BCE

The Gardens of Babylon are believed to have provided a stunning oasis in the middle of the desert in 600 BCE, with tiered gardens of trees, shrubs, and vines.

The common belief is that King Nebuchadnezzar II built these gardens for his wife Amytis, who missed the lush hills of her homeland Media (northwest Iran).

However, their existence has been disputed by historians which have struggled to find concrete archaeological evidence. They are commonly believed to have been destroyed by an earthquake after 700 years, making them the shortest-lived ancient wonder.

3. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

— 550 BCE

Built in the 6th century BCE, this temple was dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis. Even larger than a present-day football field and with more than 127 columns, it was the first all-marble temple ever built in Greece.

It was destroyed and rebuilt several times, with the third phase listed as the grandest world wonder. It was finally closed and destroyed around the start of the 5th century.

4. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

— 435 BCE

In 435 BC, Greek sculptor Phidias was tasked with creating an enormous statue of Zeus in Olympia, the site of Temple of Zeus and the ancient Olympic Games.

The statue was seated on a throne made from ivory, gold, and wood, holding a massive scepter supporting an eagle in one hand and a small statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, in the other. It was believed to have been destroyed in the times of the Romans around 400 CE, but whether that was in a fire or if it were broken into pieces and sent to different cities, is unknown.

5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

— 351 BCE

Much like today’s Alexandria or Babylon, Halicarnassus was a thriving ancient city and capital of Caria. Its most famous ruler was Mausolus, the king of Caria, and when building the capital he also commissioned an elaborate above-ground tomb for himself.

Built in 351 BCE, the Mausoleum was over 45 meters tall and adorned with stunning sculptures and intricate carvings. Though it was destroyed by many local earthquakes between the 12th and 15th centuries, its legacy lives on as the word mausoleum went on to define stately, magnificent tombs.

6. The Colossus of Rhodes

— 292 BCE

Back in 304 BCE, Greece’s harbor city of Rhodes successfully resisted a year-long siege, and its people celebrated by using abandoned weaponry to create an enormous statue of the ancient Greek god of the Sun, Helios.

It stood over the port entry to the city, and was about the same height (33 meters) as the Statue of Liberty from feet to crown. And though the Colossus technically fell after a 226 BCE earthquake, it lay on the ground and was still impressive for another 800 years.

7. The Lighthouse of Alexandria

— 280 BCE

Lighthouses serve as beacons for all those at sea, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria was no different. However, its impressive architectural design of 100 meters of sandstone and limestone was far from simple, being one of the world’s tallest man-made structures for centuries.

Built during the time of pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus on the small island of Pharos, it was said to have been crowned with a mirror that reflected sunlight during the day and fire at night, making it visible from up to 50 km away. Though the lighthouse was damaged in earthquakes and survived until 1480, “pharos” became the root word for lighthouse in Greek and many Romance languages.

The New Seven Wonders of the World

To reflect the continued usage and understanding of the term “seven wonders of the world,” the New 7 Wonders Foundation started a campaign to choose seven new wonders in 2001.

After a large and lengthy campaign, with some countries advocating for statues and others downplaying the new list, the final list of wonders was announced in 2007:

New WondersLocationYear Created
Great Wall of ChinaChina700 BCE
PetraJordan312 BCE
ColosseumItaly80 CE
Chichén ItzáMexico600 CE
Machu PicchuPeru1450 CE
Taj MahalIndia1643 CE
Christ the RedeemerBrazil1931 CE

And though it was not included as an option as an attempt to find “new” wonders, the Great Pyramid of Giza was still granted honorary status as a world wonder.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Ranked: The World’s Top Flight Routes, by Revenue

In this graphic, we show the highest earning flight routes globally as air travel continued to rebound in 2023.

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The World’s Top Flight Routes, by Revenue

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In 2024, a record 4.7 billion people are projected to travel by air—200 million more than in 2019.

While revenues surged to an estimated $896 billion globally last year, airlines face extremely slim margins. On average, they made just $5.44 in net profit per passenger in 2023. Today, the industry faces pressures from high interest rates, supply chain woes, and steep infrastructure costs.

This graphic shows the highest earning flight routes worldwide, based on data from OAG.

The Top Revenue-Generating Routes in 2023

Below, we show the airline routes with the highest revenues in the first half of 2023:

Route Airport CodesRevenue H1 2023
Sydney to MelbourneSYD-MEL$1.21B
New York to LondonJFK-LHR$1.15B
Riyadh to JeddahRUH-JED$1.03B
Dubai to RiyadhDXB-RUH$990M
Los Angeles to New York LAX-JFK$801M
San Francisco to NewarkSFO-EWR$722M
Newark to Los AngelesEWR-LAX$682M
Singapore to SydneySIN-SYD$650M
New York to Paris JFK-CDG$647M
Perth to MelbournePER-MEL$642M

As we can see, domestic flights comprised six of the 10 largest revenue-generating flights, with Sydney to Melbourne ranking first overall, at $1.21 billion.

In fact, this route is earning more than twice that of pre-pandemic levels, even as the number of passengers declined. The flight route is largely dominated by Qantas and Virgin Australia, with Qantas achieving record-breaking domestic earnings margins of 18% in the fiscal year ending in June 2023. Lower fuel costs and soaring ticket prices were key factors in driving revenues.

Furthermore, Qantas and Virgin Australia are major carriers for flights between Melbourne and Perth, another top-earning route.

New York to London, one of the busiest and most profitable routes globally, generated $1.15 billion in revenues, representing a 37% increase compared to the same period in 2019. Overall, the flight route had 3.88 million scheduled airline seats for the full year of 2023.

The highest revenue increase over this period was for flights from Dubai to Riyadh, with revenues surging 416% year-over-year. This two-hour flight, a highly lucrative route between major financial centers, is one of the busiest in the Middle East.

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