Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day in order to catalogue the world’s most spectacular natural sights and its manmade structures
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of remarkable creations – based on guidebooks which were popular amongst Hellenic sightseers – the number 7 was chosen to reflect the Greeks belief of perfection of plenty. But, of the original seven, unfortunately, none actually remain.
Instead, these are the seven wonders of our time. They’re the Acropolis of our day and the Stonehenge of now… which, for the avid traveller also means that they can be seen firsthand.
Built on four continents, most by ancient and medieval empires, the sites selected are all architectural marvels of enormous scale – and are amongst the most visited tourist attractions in the world.
“WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER” – Socrates
INTRODUCING: THE NEW 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD
MACHU PICCHU | CHRIST THE REDEEMER | PETRA |TAJ MAHAL | THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA | CHICHÉN ITZÁ | THE COLOSSEUM
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Great might be an understatement.
One of the worlds largest building-construction projects and now a Chinese national symbol, the Great Wall is actually assembled from a mass of individual walls which overlap. The combined length of these walls are said to be anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 kilometres long.
The design of the wall, which is constructed across both mountain passes and ridges, makes strategic use of natural terrain, running east to west from the southeastern Liaoning Province to the northwestern Gansu Province.
Regarded as one of the worlds most iconic monuments, the building reflects the Mughal architectural style; stressing the simplicity of sympathy and balance.
Built by Emperor Shah Jahān to honour his wife, Mumtāz Maha – who died in 1631 giving birth to their 14th child – it took roughly 22 years and 20,000 workers to construct the white marble complex, which includes an immense garden with a reflecting pool.
A lesser known fact about the Taj Mahal – Shah Jahān actually requested to have his own mausoleum, constructed from black marble, however he was deposed by one of his sons before any work began…
CHRIST THE REDEEMER
Christ the Redeemer – a colossal statue of Jesus which stands atop Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro.
The original idea for a monument to Christ came from a group of Brazilians who, “in the wake of World War One, feared an advancing tide of Godlessness. Church and state had been separated when Brazil became a republic at the end of the previous century, and they saw the statue as a way of reclaiming Rio – then Brazil’s capital city – for Christianity.”
Considered to be the worlds largest Art Deco sculpture in the world, the resulting monument stands at 125 feet tall with a wingspan of 92 feet.
Want to find out more about Rio? Check out: Explore: Rio de Janiero…
Situated on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu is one of the few pre-Columbian Incan settlements which still remains intact. Now seen as a gap-year hot-spot location, the initial concept behind the settlement was a royal retreat for the Incan Emperor, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, which was not supposed to be visited by the masses…
Abandoned mid-16th century for reasons still unknown – the Incan empire was further conquered by the Spanish in 1532 although the conquistadors did not find the site; it was eventually “discovered” in 1911.
The architecture was integrated into the natural terrain, its walls and terraces cut into the rock. Today, it is reached either by hiking up the Incan train through the Andes or by train. In order to better preserve the structures, the Peruvian government has started to limit the amount of time tourists may spend at the site.
Built by the pre-Columbian Maya civilisation sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries, El Castillo served as a temple to the God Kukulkan.
The pyramid consists of a series of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top whilst sculptures of plumed serpents run down the sides of the northern balustrade.
The event of the serpents shadow crawling down the side of the monument has been very popular, but is it questionable at to whether it’s a result of purposeful design.
Each of the pyramids four sides has 91 steps which, when added together and including the temple platform on top as the final “step”, produces a total of 365 steps (which is equal to the number of days of the Haab’ year).
Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans, Petra has become known as a symbol of Jordan.
The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who benefited from the proximity of Petra to the regional trade routes, in becoming a major trading hub, thus enabling them to gather wealth quickly.
Known for their skill in constructing efficient water collecting methods in the barren deserts and their talent in carving structures into solid rocks. It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah in a basin amongst the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah.
Unknown to the western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burchkhardt, it was then described as a “rose-red city, half as old as time.”
Find out more about Petra, right here!
The Colosseum – an iconic amphitheater with arcades and half columns – is an example of the Roman Empire’s architectural innovation.
Previously used for the entertainment of the city, the monument was used for showcasing gladiator fights, hunting shows and even public executions for centuries.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the space was temporarily used as a housing complex; however, over time, earthquake damage and and the mining of the Colosseum’s materials have left just one-third of the original structure in place.
Restoration efforts have been stepped up since the early 19th century and in 2016, a three-year restoration of the building’s facade was completed.