Published on 12-30-2016; updated on 12-30-2016
Tags: General Info
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
- Aztecs – Templo Mayor
- Britons – Aachen Cathedral
- Byzantines – Hagia Sophia
- Celts – Rock of Cashel
- Chinese – Altar of Heaven
- Franks – Chartes Cathedral
- Goths – Mausoleum of Theodoric
- Huns – Arch of Constantine
- Japanese – Todaiji Temple
- Koreans – Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
- Mayans – Temple of the Jade Jaguar
- Mongols – The Golden Tent
- Persians – Palace of Ctesiphon
- Saracens – Mosque of Samarra
- Spanish – Torre Del Oro
- Teutons – Laach Abbey
- Turks – The Blue Mosque
- Vikings – Borgund Stave Church
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Chartes Cathedral – The Cathedral of Chartes 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.
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.
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
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.
Porcelain Tower of Nanjing – Built in the early 15th century, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was designed by Emperor Yongle of China as a Buddhist pagoda, and was often listed by westerners as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The 260 foot tower was one of the largest buildings in China, and got it’s name from the white porecelain bricks it was built with. It was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion. (We’re not quite sure yet why it is one of the Korean wonders, considering it’s location in China.)
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.
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).
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.
Mosque of Samarra – The Mosque of Samarra was created
by Caliph al-Mutawakkil sometime around 840 AD, and was the largest Mosque the
Saracens had ever built.
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.
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.
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.
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.