A nine days' wonder. Something that causes a sensational astonishment for a few days, and is then placed in the limbo of “things forgot.” Three days' amazement, three days' discussion of details, and three days of subsidence. (See Nine, and Seven.) The eighth wonder. The palace of the Escurial in Toledo, built by Felipe II. to commemorate his victory over the French at St. Quentin. It was dedicated to San Lorenzo, and Juan Baptista de Toledo, the architect, took a gridiron for his model- the bars being represented by rows or files of buildings, and the handle by a church. It has 1,860 rooms, 6,200 windows and doors, 80 staircases, 73 fountains, 48 wine cellars, 51 bells, and 8 organs. Its circumference is 4,800 feet (nearly a mile). Escurial is scoria ferri, iron dross, because its site is that of old iron works. (See Tuileries.) An eighth wonder. A work of extra-ordinary mechanical ingenuity, such as the Great Wall of China, the dome of Chosroes in Madain, St. Peter's of Rome, the Menai suspension bridge, the Thames tunnel, the bridge over the Niagara, Eddystone lighthouse, the Suez Canal, the railroad over Mont Cenis, the Atlantic cable, etc.
The Three Wonders of Babylon.
The Palace, eight miles in circumference.
The Hanging Gardens.
The Tower of Babel, said by some Jewish writers to be twelve miles in height! Jerome quotes contemporary authority for its being four miles high. Strabo says its height was 660 feet.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894