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The Seven Wonders of the Forgotten World


[Abu Simbel Temple in Egypt] ... [Angkor Wat in Cambodia] ... [The Aztec Temple in Tenochtitlan, Mexico] ... [The Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines] ... [Borobudur Temple in Indonesia] ... [The Colosseum in Rome, Italy] ... [The Great Wall of China] ... [Machu Picchu, Peru] ... [The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy] ... [The Mayan Temples in Guatemala] ... [The Easter Island Statues] ... [Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France] ... [The Throne Hall of Persepolis, Iran] ... [ The Parthenon in Athens, Greece] ... [Taj Mahal in Agra, India] ... [The Temple of the Inscription, Mexico] ... [Petra, the rock-carved city in Jordan] ... [The Shwedragon Pagoda in Myanmar] ... [The Stonehenge in England] 
Angkor Wat Borobudur Temple Leaning Tower of Pisa Abu Simbel Temple The Stonehenge Taj Mahal
Cambodia Indonesia Italy Egypt England India China

Table of Contents


Introduction

The Seven wonders of the World are commonly classified into Ancient Wonders, Forgotten Wonders, Modern Wonders, and Natural Wonders. Of all the world wonders, our team have chosen to study the following Seven Wonders of the Forgotten World. We will analyze the history of the wonders, when was it built, where is it located, why was it built and how was it built.

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Angkor Wat of Cambodia

 Angkor Wat is located in Angkor in Northwestern Cambodia. Wat is the khmer word for temple. Angkor Wat which is Angkor Wat the most beautiful and most famous monument in the city lies about one kilometer south of the Royal town of Angkor Thom which was founded by Jayavarman VII.

Angkor Wat is a huge pyramid structure which covers an area of 1,500 m by 1,300 m (4,920 by 4,265 ft) and is surrounded by a vast moat which is 180 m (590 ft) wide. The Temple of Angkor Wat was dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu by King Suryavarman II, who reigned between AD 1131 and 1150.

The Temple was build over a period of 30 years, and show some of the most beautiful Khmer and Hindu art. Covering an area of about 81 hectares, the complex consists of five towers, which are now presently shown on the Cambodian national flag. These towers are believed to represent the five peaks of Mount Meru, the Home of Gods and Center of the Hindu Universe. Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls, relating stories from Hindu myths.

Buddhist monks are daily visitors to Angkor Wat, and their orange robes are a bright contrast to the stone grey of the temple.

With the decline of the Ancient Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat was turned into a Buddhist Temple and was continuously maintain, which helped its conservation until today. In 1992, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee declared the monument, and the whole city of Angkor, a World Heritage Site.

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BOROBUDUR TEMPLE

The Borobudur Temple is considered as one of the seven wonders of the world. This temple is located at Borobudur District, South of Magelang, Central Java. It is the largest buddhist temple and it was built by one of the kings of the Cailendra Dynasty in the 8th century. In 950, Borobudur was abandoned. About the same time, an eruption of the volcano Merapi buried the temple which was found again in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles, who was then the Governor of Java.

The overall height of the temple was 42 meters, but was only 34.5 meters after restoration, and had the dimension of 123 x 123 meters. There were 10 floors. The first floor up to the sixth floor was square form; the seventh to the tenth floor were round form.

Originally, the Borobudur had three levels, each of them corresponding to a level of the Mahayana Buddhism universe: Kamadhatu, the lower level of human life, a world of passions overwhelming the human beings, is represented by the lower level of the temple, which is now partly buried. Ruphadhatu is the second level. It is represented in the temple by the processional terrace and by the four rectangular terraces.

Above the rectangular terraces, three circular ones are ornamented by 72 stupas of stone. These stupas are bell-shaped, representing the sacred shape of Buddhism. Each of them enclose a statue of the Buddha. Above these circular terraces, the higher level corresponds to the world of total abstraction (Arupadhatu), represented by a large stupa, about 15 meters in diameter.

The Dutch realized the full importance of the monument early in the Twentieth Century and begin its reconstruction. This first attempt was a failure as they encountered serious technical problems. In the early 1960's, the reconstruction job, twice delayed by earthquakes, was interrupted because of financial difficulties. In 1983, with the support of UNESCO, the temple of Borobudur was eventually opened to the public. Borobudur is now recognized as a World Heritage monument.


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Leaning Tower

The Leaning Tower is located at Pisa , Italy . No one knows who is exactly the architect of this bell tower but it was believed that this construction began in the year of 1173. The plan of the bell tower exists and it’s an admirable one.

This way the construction of the Bell tower began – when the construction reached about one and half meters up on the third floor, because of marshy and unstable soil, it leaned fearfully, so the work was suspended. There was surely 2 phenomenon took place, which were the reasons for the inclination: the building subsided due to the excess weight on the soils and the soils themselves underwent differential settlement.

More than a century after the laying of the foundation stone, was once again begun in 1275 by Giovanni di Simone, who added four more levels, correcting the axis of the Campanile. In the sixth “loggette”(stories) some arch windows for the bells were made. The lean continued to concern the Opera dell’ Duomo, so on the 15th March 1298, the Institution gave Giovanni Pisano, Guido, the con of the dead master Giovanni di Simone and Orsello, the task of measuring the slope.

At the beginning of the 14th century the bells were placed in the sixth level, in the large opening still visible in the marble cylinder beyond the loggia. Between 1350  and 1572 Tommaso di Andrea Pisano (according to Vasari) terminated the installation of the belfry on the summit of the sixth order of loggias, increasing the correction of the axis, and thus diminishing the load on the side that was in inclination.

The interior of this building is of stones and mortar of the best quality lime, such that the porous wall structure is elastic and able to resist the tremendous pressure and continuous movements. The covering is made of marble perfectly connected and smoothed, that are 40 to 60cm thick on the exterior part and a little bit less on the inside of the wall. The stairs are lighter in weight; a spiral of 293 steps, one meter wide, construction between the inner and outer walls. There were also seven bells were installed in the tower:-

  • l’Assunta

  • il Crocfisso

  • San Ranieri

  • la Pasquereccia

  • Del Pozzetto

  • la Terza

  • il Vespruccio

 

The Bell Tower , because of its lean, which looks like it dares the laws of statics, is one of the most original works of art of the whole European Middle-Ages, and enjoys an enormous popularity. Nowadays, it has been become a tourists attraction.

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Abu Simbel Temple

Abu Simbel is a temple built by Ramesses II (c.1279-1213 B.C.E.) in ancient Nubia. The first, and largest of the temples, is dedicated to the sun god Ra-Harakhte, while the second, which is smaller, and a few meters to the north, was dedicated to his beautiful wife, Nefertari, to be worshipped together with other deities.

These two temples attracted world-wide attention when they were threatened by inundation by the waters of Lake Nasser. In response to an appeal by the Arab Republic of Egypt, UNESCO, in 1959, initiated an international donations campaign to save the monuments of Nubia. The salvage of the Abu Simbel temples began in 1963, and cost about 36 million dollars. The Abu Simbel temples were then relocated on the plateau to greet the sunrise every morning.

The grandest and most beautiful of temples is 33 meters high, and 38 meters broad, and guarded by four statues of Ramses II, each of which is 20 meters high. The head and torso of the statue to the left of the entrance were damaged during ancient times. This temple faces the east, and Re-Horakhty, one manifestation of the sun god, is shown inside the niche directly above the entrance. The temple is unique because the sun shines directly into the innermost sanctuary to enlighten the seated statues of Ptah, Amun-Re, Ramesses II, and Re- Horakhty twice a year which is on February 21, the king's birthday, and October 22, the date of his coronation.

The Smaller Abu Simbel Temple which is located north of the Greater Temple, was carved in the rock by Ramses II. The Facade is ornamented by six statues, four to Ramses II and two to his wife Nefertari. The entrance leads to a hall containing six pillars bearing the head of the goddess, Hathur.

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The Stonehenge of England

At this present day, Stonehenge is situated in a vast plain, surrounded by hundreds of round barrows, or burials mounds. In many peoples' minds,  it is the most mysterious place in the world. This set of concentric rings and horseshoe shapes on the empty Salisbury Plain, is, at the age of 4,000 years, one of the oldest, and certainly best preserved, megalithic (that means large, often ancient, stone) structures on Earth. It is a fantastic construction with many of the larger stones involved weighing 25 tons and quarried from a location 18 miles away. The rings and horseshoes of Sarsen (a type of sandstone) also carry massive lintels connecting them so that when they were all in place there was a ring of stone in the sky as well as on the ground.

Stonehenge is surely Britain ’s greatest national icon, symbolizing mystery, power and endurance. No one knows is sure of what is the purpose or aim for it, however some have speculated that it was a temple made for the worship of ancient earth deities. It has been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar while others claim that it was a sacred site for burial of high- ranking citizens from the societies of long ago.

It was believed that the construction began approximately 5000 years ago. However, no one knows who built the Stonehenge until today. The monument’s construction has been attributed to many ancient peoples throughout the years, but most captivating and enduring attribution has been to the Druids (members of an order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain who appear in Welsh and Irish legend as prophets and sorcerers.)

Stonehenge at about 1500 BC consisted of a circular ditch, with a raised bank on the inside. Within the bank was a circle of 30 Sarsen stones with lintels creating a raised circle. Within the ring were five "trilithons" (two massive upright stones supporting a lintel) arranged in a horseshoe. On the open side of the horseshoe, outside the ditch, was the heel stone, some 120 feet from the ring. Once a year, on summer solstice (the longest day of the year), the sun will rise in alignment with the heel stone as seen from the center of the ring. In addition to the Sarsen stones there was a less elaborate set of blue stones. Some set in a ring outside the trilithons, and the others in a horseshoe within the thrilithon horseshoe. There are also four "station stones" set in a rectangle outside the ring. The station stones may have been used to predict the movement of the moon.

The stones that we see today represent Stonehenge in ruin. Many of the original stones have fallen or been removed by previous generations for home construction or road repair. There has been serious damage to some of the smaller bluestones resulting from close visitor contact and the prehistoric carvings on the larger sarsen stones show signs of significant wear.  

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The Taj Mahal of India

Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the wonders of the world. It is one of the most beautiful masterpieces of architecture in the world and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj is also the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals. Taj Mahal is located at Agra , about 200 kilometer south of New Delhi . Agra was the capital of the Mughals (moguls), the Muslim Emperors who ruled Northern India between sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Mughals were the descendents of two of the most skilled warriors in history: the Turks and the Mongols. The Muhgal dynasty reached its highest strength and fame during the reign of their early Emperors, Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan.

Taj Mahal was built under the under of Emperor Shah Jehan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra , India . Mumtaz and Shah Jehan were married in 1612 and over the next 18 years, has 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. As Mumtaz Mahal lay dying, she asked four promises from the emperor: first, that he build the Taj; second, that he should marry again; third, that he be kind to their children; fourth, that he visit the tomb on her death anniversary. However, he only kept the first and second promises.

The construction began in 1631 and was completed in 22 years later. It is not known for sure who planned the Taj, however, the name of an Indian architect of Persian descent, Ustad Lahori, has been cited in many sources. As soon as the construction began, 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 river Yamuna.the architectural complex is comprised of five main elements: the Darwaza or maingateway, the Bageecha or garden, the Masjid or mosque, the Naqqar Khana or rest house, and the Rauza or the Taj Mahal mausoleum. The actual tomb is situated inside the Taj.

The unique mughal style combines elements of Persian, Central Asia and Islamic architecture. Most impressive are the black and white chessboard marble floor, the four tall minarets which is 40 meters high, at the corners of the structure, and the majestic dome in the middle. On closer look, the lettering of Quran verses around the archways appears to be uniform, regardless of their height. The lettering spacing and density has been customized to give this impression to beholder. Other illusionary effects have been accounted for in the geometry of the tomb and the tall minarets. The impressive pietra dura artwork includes geometric elements, plants and flowers, most common in Islamic architecture. The level of sophistication in artwork becomes obvious when one realizes that a 3 centimeter decorative element contains more than 50 inlaid gemstones.

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The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest wonders of the world. It just look like a gigantic dragon, the Great Wall winds up and down across the deserts, mountains, grasslands and plateaus stretching approximately 6700 kilometers from east to west of China. It has a history of more than 2000 years, some of the section of the Great Wall are now in ruins or even entirely disappeared. However, it is still one of the most appealing attractions all around the world owing to its architectural grandeur and historical significance.

No one knows when the Great Wall was built but it was believed that it started as a military fortification against intrusion by tribes on the borders in order to protect different States during the earlier Zhou Dynasty. It was not until Qin dynasty(221-206 B.C.) that the separate walls , constructed by Qin, Yan and Zhao kingdoms, were connected to form a defensive system on the northern border of the country by Emperor Qin Shi Huang. He was also called Qin Shi Huangdi or the First Emperor. After the emperor unified the country in 214 B.C., he ordered the construction of the wall which took about 10 years to finish and formed the first ‘”Wan Li Chang Cheng” (10 thousand li Great Wall, li is a Chinese length unit, 2 li = 1km)

A great army of manpower, composed of soldiers, prisoners, and local people, built the Wall. This construction result demonstrates the manifestation of the wisdom and tenacity of the Chinese people. The wall stretched from Linzhao (in the eastern part of today's Gansu Province) in the west to Liaodong (in today's Jilin Province) in the east.

It was during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) that the Wall took on its present form, with an average height of 10 meters and a width of 5 meters, the walls runs up and down along the mountain ridges and valleys from east to west.The brick and granite work was enlarged and sophisticated designs were added. The watch towers were redesigned and modern canon were mounted in strategic areas. This was because the northern nomadic ethnic groups had become so powerful that the Ming rulers had the Wall renovated 18 times.

For centuries, the Wall served succeeding dynasties as an efficient military defence. . However, it was only when a dynasty had weakened from within that invaders from the north were able to advance and conquer. Both the Mongols (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368) and the Manchurians (Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911) were able take power because of weakness of the government and poverty of the people but never due to any possibility of weakness of the Wall.

Today, the Great Wall of China is a must-see for every visitor to China . It has long been incorporated into Chinese mythology and popular symbolism. The Great Wall is reputed as one of the wonders in the world not only for its long history, but it massive construction size, and its unique architectural style as well.

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Conclusion 

Why are the wonders so wonderful....

The seven wonders of the world, are a set of wonderful and mysterious set of mans creation.  The Wonders of the World are originated from history. The following shows a summary of mankind's outstanding accomplishments in an amazing architectural creation.

Most of our forgotten wonders come from the medieval mind. For example, the Taj Mahal as mentioned is regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Everything about the Taj Mahal is so wonderful that it is probably one of  the most magnificent and grand mausoleum .  During that time, without using machinery  they were still able to build such a magnificent building. 

Angkor is famous for its survival through so many wars. It’s architects and sculptors created stone temples that symbolized the cosmic world and decorated them with wall carvings and sculptures of Hindu gods and the Buddha. These carvings and sculptures make them so unique that it is considered as one of the wonders.

While for Stonehenge, it is still so mysterious to us because the function of the monument remains unknown: once believed to be a temple for Druids or Romans, Stonehenge is now often thought to have been either a temple for sun worshippers or a type of astronomical clock or calendar. It is  the only natural building stones within 21 km. Moreover, the arrangement of the stones  were arranged in a  distinctive way that's'  why it is considered as one of the wonders.

Another forgotten wonder is the Borobudur Temple. We remember we used to learn this in history before. But at that time we never thought  that it is a wonder  until we discovered its wonderful architectural works and history behind it. This temple is very unique in its own way. 

Out of so many wonders in the world, we’ve chosen these seven as mentioned above. This is because of their architectural beauties, and despite of their old age they still exist till now and they will not be forgotten. They are special in such a  way that each of them has their own mystery that still need to be solved and having an interesting history, legend or stories behind them.

Nowadays, most of these wonders has become a tourist attraction which is visited by people all around the world. Last but not least, we still need to preserve these wonders so that these wonders will be able to pass from generation to generation.

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References

 

·         http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/Forgotten/angkor.html

·          http://www.sacredsites.com/asia/cambodia/angkor_wat.html

·          http://asiaforvisitors.com/indonesia/java/central/yogya/borobodur/

·          http://www.ggr.ulaval.ca/ATLAS_J/BoroE.html

·          http://homepage.powerup.com.au/~ancient/abus.htm

·          http://www.memphis.edu/egypt/abusimbe.htm

·           http://www.egypttourism.org/New%20Site/places/abu.htm#top

·          http://www.taj-mahal.net/

·          http:/ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/forgotten/tajmahal.html

·          www.travelchinaguide.com/china_great_wall

·          www.thegreatwall.com.cn/en

·          www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/GreatwallofChina.html

·          http://www.undex.com/gf/buildings/ltpisa/itpinfo.htm

·          http://torre.duomo.pisa.it/index_eng.html

·          http://www.pisaonline.it/pisa/town/pagine/torre2.htm

·          www.activemind.com/mysterious/Topics/stonehenge/index.html

·          www.english-heritage.org.uk/stoneh/


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