Even though many have been built, there is a certain number of ancient wonders that have been lost to us forever. The reasons for their disappearance may lie in wars, vandalism or simply, natural disasters. Regardless of the fact that they do not exist any longer, they are worth mentioning due to their importance in both the architectural and historical terms. Let’s change that “tree in the woods” stigma, and show that just because we didn’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not worth knowing. And there are some cool and pretty neat examples.
The Colossus Of Rhodes – Wonders Lost in the Earthquake
The Colossus of Rhodes, a statue dedicated to the Greek titan-god of the sun Helios, was built in 280 BC on the Greek island of the same name. It was considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was an incredible piece of art due to its height, which reached 30 meters, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world. However, it only existed for 54 years until it was hit by an earthquake, depriving the future human generations of a possibility to enjoy this remarkable statue.
The Library of Alexandria – Destroyed by Fire
The Library of Alexandria, built in ancient Egypt, was famous for copious scrolls and books it had. It functioned as a major center of education starting from its construction in the 3rd century to its complete burning. There is no precise evidence of the complete destruction of the library because there have been several fires or acts of destruction, of varying degrees, over many years. Due to the loss of cultural heritage, it has become a symbol of “knowledge and culture destroyed“.
Benin City – Destroyed by the British
Benin City, the current capital of Nigeria, was once one of the biggest cities in the world. As a result of good trading routes, the city was making great progress. It became one of the most beautiful cities at the time, and one of steady growing wonders. Large, ornate houses, streets, and The Oba’s Palace were characteristic for this residential area. Nonetheless, the British colonizers could not care less about the city’s magnificence. The Oba’s Palace was destroyed, the city was looted, and a fire left no trace of what used to be a beautiful and big city.
Bam Citadel – Darn Earthquakes Killing our Wonders… Again.
The Arg-e Bam citadel made of adobe is a historic site situated in southeastern Iran . It is believed that the citadel was built between the 6th and 4th century BC. The citadel’s most prolific period was from the 7th to 11th centuries AD, where it stood at the crossroad of the most important trade routes. That being said, it is listed by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Site. However, the 20o3 earthquake devastated the citadel to pieces. There is an endeavor to restore the former beauty of the citadel, although reconstructing it completely seems impossible. But there is a hope that at least one of the lost wonders will regain at least some of its splendor.
Old Summer Palace – Victim of the Opium War
The Old Summer Palace is a complex of palaces and gardens built in the European style. It was first built for emperors and as a place where they could reside and rest. What makes this site so special is its tranquility – a setting far away from the city noise and bustle. Still, the French and British destroyed and reduced the palace to ashes during the Second Opium War. Not much has been preserved from this ancient wonder of Beijing.
The Stone Buddhas of Bamiyan – Destroyed by the Taliban
The Stone Buddhas of Bamiyan, built in the 6th century and located in Afghanistan, were two gigantic Buddha statues carved into the side of a cliff. These two standing statues were coated with stucco, which served to enhance the facial expressions of the statues. Regardless of this, the Taliban forces dynamited and destroyed this ancient wonder in 2001. The statutes were reduced to dust. An everlasting wonder was lost almost in an instant. But Chinese millionaires teamed up and created a hologram that shines at night in the place of previous stone Buddha.
Tenochtitlan – Devastated by Smallpox and Overrun by Conquistadors
Since its foundation in 1325, Tenochtitlan had been one of the most important Aztec cities. It became the capital of the Mexican Empire in the 15th century. It stood as one of the biggest cities at that time until the Spaniards’ arrival in the 16th century. The conquistadors wanted to conquer the city at all costs. In addition to the Spanish atrocities, the Aztecs were also devastated by smallpox. Not only were all the inhabitants massacred, but also the canals, the pyramids, the market and the giant temples were completely destroyed.
All we can do now is cherish the wonders we have and protect the heritage of the world. That heritage was now left to us, for safekeeping. It would be wise then to truly keep it safe and sound for generations to come.