The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Mausoleum is a tomb that was built for King Mausolos, the Persian ruler of Caria, during the fourth century. This spectacular and unique tomb was built by his wife, Queen Artemisia, who was also his sister. It is believed that the construction of a tomb was started before the death of the King, but it was completed two years after he passed away.
The splendid tomb was a tribute to her husband King Mausolos by the Queen. Great talented artists from Greece were called to build this wondrous structure. This piece of art was created by four major Greek sculptors- Scopas from Paros, Leochares, Timotheus and Bryaxis.
It was built on a hill from where the city of Halicarnassus could be seen. The tomb is situated in an enclosed courtyard. The tomb sits on a raised stone platform which is at the centre of the courtyard. The beautiful decorations and statues built outside each level of this monument are spectacular.
This marvelous monument survived many natural disasters for 16 centuries. But eventually it was destroyed and ruined by a series of earthquakes. The information about this great monument is described by a Roman writer, Pliny the Elder. Some of the marble fragments can still be seen today, but most of the findings of this splendid monument are preserved at the British Museum in London.
There are three major parts to this mausoleum. A monument, columns and a pyramid (resembling a Greek temple). This great monument was an oblong structure that has 36 columns. The pyramid was located on the top which had a perimeter of 440 feet. The height of the tomb was 135 feet. The monument tomb was mostly made up of marble and had a huge rectangular base. Walls and watch towers were built on the sides.
On top of the podium, or rectangular base, 36 columns were built, nine on each side. Each section of the monument is separated by a column. In each column, a statue was placed. The whole structure consisted of 36 statues of gods and goddesses. The height of some of the statues is 5 feet or more. The solid blocks that were placed at the end of the columns carried the weight of the ceiling. A work of beautiful art was carved on the top of the ceiling. The roof of the stone pyramid was in the form of 24 steps. A huge statue of four horses pulling a chariot was built on the top of the pyramid.
This statue had figures of Mausolos and Artemisia. The whole structure consisted of three different styles. Greek, Carian and Egyptian designs were incorporated in the art work. The high podium represented the architectural style of Carian civilization. The Greek temple like structure resembled the structures made by the Greeks and the pyramid shaped section of the tomb represented Egyptian civilization.