In Brief

Colossus of Rhodes could tower over island again

Ambitious plans revealed for 150-metre statue of sun god covered in golden solar panels

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World could be returning to Greece, if plans to reconstruct the famous Colossus of Rhodes get the green light

A 98 foot-high bronze and iron statue of Helios, the Ancient Greek sun god, loomed over Rhodes' harbour for 52 years and was one of the most iconic sights of the ancient world. However, in 226BC it was destroyed by an earthquake, leaving the modern world with only descriptions of its majesty. Now a team of architects and engineers have put forward a proposal to build a new Colossus for Rhodes Harbour – and this one will be five times bigger than the original.

The group, calling itself the Colossus of Rhodes Project, has designed a new statue of Helios. At 400 foot-tall, it would tower over the island and become a point of reference for seafarers – the design includes a lighthouse which would sit on a platform above Helios' head. Appropriately for a sun god, the exterior of the statue would be covered in golden solar panels.

"The project doesn't want to present again a copy of the original structure, 40 meters tall, made of bronze, " explains the group's website. Instead it aims "to make the visitor shiver and feel the same identical emotions that his ancestors felt looking at it for the first time, more than 2200 years ago. "

With the recent economic turmoil afflicting Greece, it could be easy to dismiss the 'new Colossus' – estimated to cost €250 million (£183 million) - as a frivolous vanity project, but the team behind the design say the new Colossus would create jobs and give tourism a much-needed boost. They estimate that the project could bring in €35 million (£25 million) a year.

The statue would house a museum displaying some of the wonders of Ancient Greece, as well as a library, auditorium and cultural centre.

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