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.
|Wonders||Modern Location||Year Created|
|Great Pyramid of Giza||Egypt||2,584 BCE|
|Hanging Gardens of Babylon||Iraq||600 BCE|
|Temple of Artemis at Ephesus||Turkey||550 BCE|
|Statue of Zeus at Olympia||Greece||435 BCE|
|Mausoleum at Halicarnassus||Turkey||351 BCE|
|Colossus of Rhodes||Greece||292 BCE|
|Lighthouse of Alexandria||Egypt||280 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 Wonders||Location||Year Created|
|Great Wall of China||China||700 BCE|
|Chichén Itzá||Mexico||600 CE|
|Machu Picchu||Peru||1450 CE|
|Taj Mahal||India||1643 CE|
|Christ the Redeemer||Brazil||1931 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.
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.
Ranked: Electric Vehicle Sales by Model in 2023
Today, electric vehicle sales make up 18% of global vehicle sales. Here are the leading models by sales as of August 2023.
Ranked: Electric Vehicle Sales by Model in 2023
Electric vehicle (EV) sales are gaining momentum, reaching 18% of global vehicle sales in 2023.
As new competitors bring more affordable options and new performance features, the market continues to mature as customers increasingly look to electric options.
This graphic ranks the top-selling EVs worldwide as of August 2023, based on data from CleanTechnica.
The Best Selling EVs in 2023 (Through August)
Below, we show the world’s best selling fully electric vehicles from January to August 2023:
|Tesla Model Y||🇺🇸 U.S.||772,364|
|Tesla Model 3||🇺🇸 U.S.||364,403|
|BYD Atto 3 / Yuan Plus||🇨🇳 China||265,688|
|BYD Dolphin||🇨🇳 China||222,825|
|GAC Aion S||🇨🇳 China||160,693|
|Wuling HongGuang Mini EV||🇨🇳 China||153,399|
|GAC Aion Y||🇨🇳 China||136,619|
|VW ID.4||🇩🇪 Germany||120,154|
|BYD Seagull||🇨🇳 China||95,202|
As we can see, Tesla‘s Model Y still holds a comfortable lead over the competition with 772,364 units sold. That’s more than double the sales of the #2 top selling vehicle, Tesla’s Model 3 (364,403)
But it’s hard to ignore the rising prevalence of Chinese EVs. The next five best selling EV vehicles are Chinese, including three from BYD. The automaker’s Atto 3 (or Yuan Plus, depending on market), is being sold in various countries including Germany, the UK, Japan, and India.
Meanwhile, Chinese automaker GAC Group also had two models of its Aion EV brand make the rankings, with the Aion S selling 160,693 units so far.
Regional market strength is also clear. For Volkswagen’s ID.4 model (120,154 units sold), Europe and China account for the majority of sales.
Given growing cost efficiencies and changing consumer behavior, global EV sales are projected to make up half of new car sales globally by 2035, according to forecasts from Goldman Sachs.
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