Colossus of Rhodes

Alternate:
The Colossus of Rhodes statue straddled the harbour

Current:
The Colossus of Rhodes statue did not straddle the harbour

One of the 7th wonders of the world

It's one of the 7th wonders of the ancient world, but unfortunately doesn't exist any more. Even worse, there's no definitive evidence of specifically were it was located in Rhodes, although its is certain it actually did exist because it is well documented in many surviving separate sources.

It is said the statue was destroyed by an earthquake 56 years after it was built, and its destroyed remains were left on the ground for many years in tribute.

However, the popular idea that it was so big that ships could sail between its legs as they passed the harbour is now being seriously doubted. This is due to the engineering and logistical problems that would have to be overcome, combined with the total lack of evidence this was how it appeared.

Helios

The Colossus of Rhodes was built to celebrate the Greek victory over Poliorketes,who was the successor to Alexander the Great, at  Demetrios in 305BC. It stood around 110ft (33m) high, and was so large it was said "few people could make their arms meet around the thumb".

Since it was far too large to make from a cast, it was made up of smaller sections. Standing on a white marble base, its shell was bronze, and the whole structure was supported by iron ad stone supports. A ramp was built which stretched the entire height of the statue, which was later cleared away leaving no trace.

The earthquake which destroyed it happened in 226BC, and it also seriously damaged most of the city. The ruins of the statue were left in place for about 1,000 years, when they were sold in 654AD after the Arabs invaded Rhodes.

The popular image of a huge statue with its legs open wide enough to sail a ship under is present throughout history, but the is one which really does seem to have been exaggerated over the years from what was clearly an impressive work in its own right.