Wonders

Article written by Aro
Published on 09-06-2008; updated on 08-17-2014

Wonders are important buildings, representing both a civilization's culture and, in Age of Empires II, a key to winning a game. They were viewed as vital to their civilization's culture, and among the most important buildings. Please note that the names of the buildings the Wonders are based off of are simply educated guesses made by Age of Kings Heaven forumers and staff. If you have a guess of your own (provided with a link to information and actual pictures of the building), please send it to Felix.

Aztecs

Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor - The Templo Mayor ("Great Temple"), built in 1390 AD, was the most important Aztec center for ceremonies. On top of the stair structure was two temples, dedicated to two important Gods: Tlaloc, the God of Rain, and Huitzilopchtli, the God of War. The temple was decorated with around 240 skulls and was the place thousands of sacrifices were made to Huitzilopchtli.

The Temple was supposedly built as a symbolic representation of the Hill of Coatepec, where the God of War was born.

Britons

Aachen Cathedral

Aachen Cathedral - The Aachen Cathedral was first constructed in 786 AD by Charlemagne, who was buried in it when he died in 814 (his bones are still preserved there to this day).

The Cathedral was small when it was first built, but was added to later because of it's popularity. For 600 years, the Cathedral was the church of coronation for 30 Holy Roman Emperors. Why it's the British wonder, however, is a great question.

Byzantines

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia - The Hagia Sophia ("Church of Holy Wisdom") was built by Constantius as a Church in the East. When a riot occurred in 532 AD, this was one of the several buildings that were almost completely destroyed. Emperor Justinian put money forward to rebuild the church into one of the greatest in the world, hiring as many as 10,000 workers.

For 900 years, the Hagia Sophia had been the throne of the Eastern Orthodox church and the place where several imperial ceremonies occurred. But when Constantinople fell in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks, the Church was converted into a Mosque and the many Mosaics inside were covered with plaster. For nearly 500 years it was the top Mosque in Istanbul (what Constantinople was renamed to after the city was captured).

Celts

Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel - Built in Ireland sometime in 1000 AD, the Rock of Cashel is a fortress with several parts to it, including many Chapels within the building itself. It was most likely built for religious reasons rather than military reasons, although little else is known.

Chinese

Altar of Heaven

Altar of Heaven - Built in 1420 AD, the Altar of Heaven was created for religious ceremonies, such as praying and sacrificing in hope that the Gods would return their gestures with good fortune and harvests.

Every winter solstice, the Emperor would stay at the Altar and abstain from eating meat, praying for good harvests. The ceremony was to be done perfectly, or it would be bad omen for the entire nation, ending only when the next ceremony began.

Franks

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral - The Cathedral of Chartres was first built around 800 AD, and was remade in a Romanesque look in 1145 AD. Unfortunately, a fire in 1194 destroyed much of the western portion, but it was finally completed around 1210 AD.

It was said to house a tunic that belonged to Virgin Mary, given to the Cathedral by Charlemagne, and that alone had attracted several Marian pilgrims. After the fire struck the town, the tunic was in perfect condition and the cardinal told everybody this was a sign that they should rebuild the Cathedral, making it greater than ever.

Goths

Mausoleum of Theodoric

Mausoleum of Theodoric - This building had a different purpose than most; Theodoric the Goth ordered this building to be built in Revanna as his tomb. He was buried there, but his remains were removed when the Byzantines captured and ruled the city.

Huns

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine - This building was erected to honor Emperor Constantine after a battle with Maxentius at the Milvan bridge (315 AD). It was constructed using parts stripped from other Imperial monuments dedicated to Trajan (112) and Hadrian (218). The inscription on it reads "Constantine overcame his enemies by divine inspiration."

Here is where the Huns come into the picture. They most likely raided the city this Arch was built in, which explains the broken pieces, and the gold symbolizes the mass amounts of gold they stole from the Roman Empire. There are several arches like this one, which makes it hard to identify Constantine's Arch as the Arch designed as the Hun Wonder. Regardless, the symbolism stands: The destruction and looting of the Roman Empire, and the irony of the invaders capturing the Roman "victory arch."

Japanese

Todaiji Temple

Todaiji Temple - The Todaiji Temple ("Great East Temple") was founded sometime in 700 AD during the reign of Emperor Shomu, the first Emperor to accept Buddhism as the official religion of his people. A giant gold Buddha statue, called the Buddha Dainichi (Great Sun Buddha), which identified Buddha with the Sun Goddess (the greatest Shinto God, which encouraged Shinto believers to convert). Each province had it's own lead temple, and the Todaiji Temple was the lead temple in the Yamato province.

Koreans

Hwangnyongsa Temple

Hwangnyongsa Temple - Completed in the mid-6th century, the Hwangnyongsa Temple was commissioned by King Jinheung of Silla. He originally intended for a palace to be built on the site where the temple would later stand but plans for this were scrapped after a worker sighted a dragon. Instead, the construction of a temple was ordered. The temple stood until 1238 when it was burnt down by a Mongolian invasion. The site of the temple was within a valley near Toham mountain and the site was excavated in 1972. This revealed the modern layout of the building as well as uncovering over forty thousand artifacts.

The Korean wonder is not the porcelain tower of Nanjang as was once listed. For our enlightenment in this, there is to thank an anonymous contributor who has no HG username with which to go by.

Mayans

Temple of the Great Jaguar

Temple of the Jade Jaguar - Named because of a Jade Jaguar found on the door of the temple, it was one of the richest Mayan temples ever found. It contained one of the largest Mosaic-mirror ever found in Meso-America. The temple was most likely built in Tikal around 700 AD, but not much else is known.

Mongols

The Golden Tent

The Golden Tent - This was supposedly a large Golden Tent, like a meeting room, that was a prized possession among the Mongols and Genghis Khan. Some sources say that this tent was what inspired the name of the Golden Horde (the Mongols led by Khan).

Persians

Palace of Ctesiphon

Palace of Ctesiphon - The city of Ctesiphon, built originally by the Parthian Empire (who later became the Persian Empire), was continually a battlefield. Being on the Tigris river, the Roman Empire needed to get through the city continually during it's wars to the East. It was captured by the Romans several times, and was actually annexed into the Empire at one point, but was returned to the Persians afterwards. In 197 AD, Roman Emperor Septimius Severus looted the city and carried off thousands of it's citizens to sell as slaves.

Ctesiphon went into decline when it was captured by the Saracens. It was significant historically because it was the Persian's military key to Rome, and the palace seated many Parthian Monarchs. Because of the wars, the city and palace were damaged beyond repair.

Saracens

Great Mosque of Samarra

Great Mosque of Samarra - The Great Mosque of Samarra was created by Caliph al-Mutawakkil sometime around 840 AD, and was the largest Mosque that the Saracens had ever built.

Spanish

El Torro Del Oro

El Torre Del Oro - The Torre Del Oro ("Tower of Gold") was built in the city of Seville in the first half of the thirteenth century. The tower served as an observation post and sealed the port entrance using a thick chain connected to a tower on the other side. Many times it was ravaged by earthquakes and even almost sold as scrap, but the people of Seville repaired and put a stop to people trying to eliminate it. It has served multiple purposes throughout it's existence, such as a prison, a chapel, a gunpowder store, and today it serves as the city's naval museum.

Teutons

Laach Abbey

Laach Abbey - The Maria Laach Abbey, considered by many a masterpiece of German-Romanesque architecture, was founded in 1093 and built as a Benedictine abbey in what is now Belgium. It was originally called the "Laach Abbey" (Lake Abbey), until Maria was added by the Jesuits in 1862. The abbey was significant to German culture, not just because of it's architectural prowess, but because of it's status as a center of study during the 12th century. It had more towers and decoration added in the 13th century, including the tomb of founder Heinrich II von Laach. In the late 14th century, the priory declined until the reformation of the Bursfelde Congregation, which set to unite monasteries together and reform the various Benedictine abbeys around Germany.

Turks

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque - The Blue Mosque was built by Sultan Ahmed I between 1609 and 1616. It was built in the oldest section of Istanbul (the capital of the Ottoman Empire), which also happened to be the center of the previous city Constantinople. It was built to face the Hagia Sophia, to show that the Islamic artists could rival anything their Christian predecessors could create.

While the Hagia Sophia is a museum today, the Blue Mosque continues to be an Islamic place of worship.

Vikings

Borgund Stave Church

Borgund Stave Church - Built around 1150, this was a Norwegian Church dedicated to the Apostle St. Andrew. It's one of the best preserved Stave Churches and hasn't been added to or rebuilt since it was new; a rarity, since most stave churches end up razed or destroyed.

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