Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The original travel list! The list dates back to 100 BC. As the Greeks conquered the known world, they documented “tourism” sights.
“I have gazed on the walls of impregnable Babylon along which chariots may race, and on the Zeus by the banks of the Alpheus, I have seen the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Helios, the great man-made mountains of the lofty pyramids, and the gigantic tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade, for the sun himself has never looked upon its equal outside Olympus.” — Greek Anthology IX.58
- Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt.
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
- Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt.
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece.
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
- Colossus of Rhodes.
Now when you think about it. The “known world” was rather small and all of these wonders encircle the Mediterranean Sea. And while only the Pyramids remain mostly intact and look as they did thousands of years ago, you can still visit and see the remains of the others except for the Hanging Gardens. And you can visit three of the remaining six wonders in just 24 hours!
Here is how to visit the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and Colossus of Rhodes in just one day!
Fly into Izmir, Turkey and rent a car. The drive to Ephesus is easy and should take you less than an hour. As you get within a mile or two of the turn off to Ephesus, slow down and keep your eyes peeled to the right hand side of the road for the turn off to the Temple of Artemis. It is not well marked and even thought I have been several times, I only recognize the turn immediately after I pass it. However, luckily a U-turn is easy. This is a quick stop and most tour buses pass it by. But take some time to stand there and imagine it as it must have looked two thousand years ago. How tall it was… you could have seen it for miles. How close it was to the major city of Ephesus. What a road that must have been from the temple through the streets to the library or Coliseum of Ephesus. Read Act 19:28 for an image of its importance.
If you have more time than just 24 hours, take the extra few hours to visit Ephesus, St. John’s Basilica and Mary’s house. If you only have an extra hour or two, then make Ephesus your priority. While it was not an ancient wonder, the city of Ephesus are by far my favorite ancient ruins. In my opinion they are far superior to anything I have seen, including Rome, Athens, and Jordan.
Return to your rental car and drive south to the seaside town of Bodrum to visit the Mausoleum. Again, there is not a lot left but the ruins are still fantastic. The Mausoleum is where we get the term and many of the sculptures have since been removed and can be seen in the British museum.
Again, if you have time, Bodrum is a quaint seaside town to relax and spend several hours or even overnight.
But if in a hurry, you are just a short ferry ride away from the Colossus of Rhodes. From Bodrum, ferries run several times a day and tickets should be purchased a couple of days in advance (although I didn’t last time I went).
Rhodes is not a large city but in addition to the seeing what is left of the Colossus, the walled city is a wonderful place to explore.