Selecting the 7 wonders of the world is a mammoth task and a very difficult choice indeed. For centuries, human civilizations across the world have built and created cities, buildings, monuments, tombs, temples, churches, mosques, and other structures that continue to inspire the awe of millions of modern-day men and women of the world. The challenge of selecting only 7 of the best wonders from such a massive treasury is thus indeed difficult. Thus, various organizations have made an attempt to record a list of the 7 wonders of the world since antiquity. Here we present the list produced by the Swiss corporation, the New7Wonders Foundation.
In 2001, the Swiss corporation took an initiative to select the New7Wonders of the World from a list of 200 existing monuments in countries across the globe. 21 finalists were selected following the first round and the names were announced on January 1, 2006. The final 7 wonders of the world were selected by popular vote, and the results were announced on July 7, 2007. The Egyptians were not happy with the poll as they felt it was a disgrace for the age-old Great Pyramid of Giza to compete with recently built structures like the Sydney Opera House or the Statue of Liberty. Thus, the Great Pyramid Of Giza was assigned an honorary status in the list of the New7Wonders of the World. Here, we present the wonders of the world:
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- Taj Mahal - Completed c. AD 1648
The symbol of love, the ivory-white mausoleum of marble, the Taj Mahal, is well known across the world for its historical value, its tale of love, and stunning beauty. It truly deserves to be one of the seven wonders of the world. The Taj Mahal is located in the India’s historic city of Agra. It houses the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It is said that the Emperor loved his wife dearly and after her death decided to build the Taj Mahal to remind the world of their tale of love. The construction of the Taj Mahal was completed by 1632. The estimated cost of construction of this monument at that time is estimated to be equivalent to US$827 million in 2015. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was inscribed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Today, it attracts 7 to 8 million annual visitors to Agra.
7. Colosseum - Completed AD 80
Rome in Italy hosts one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Colosseum or the Flavian Amphitheatre, an oval-shaped amphitheater in the center of the city. It is the largest amphitheater in the world and is built of concrete and sand. The Colosseum’s construction was initiated in AD 72 by Emperor Vespasian and was finished by AD 80 by his successor Titus. Domitian, another emperor of the Flavian dynasty later made certain modifications to the amphitheater. The Colosseum had the capacity to host about 80,000 spectators. Mock sea battles, animal hunts, famous battle re-enactments, executions, and mythological dramas were some of the public spectacles held at the Colosseum. Today, this wonder of the world is a popular tourist attraction and serves as the iconic symbol of Imperial Rome.
6. Chichen Itza - c. AD 600
The Chichen Itza is an archaeological site located in Mexico’s Yucatán State. It is a pre-Columbian city that was built during the Terminal Classic period by the Maya people. The historical value of the site makes it eligible to be one of the seven wonders of the world. Chichen Itza is believed to have been one of the major cities of the Mayan world and constructions in the city exhibit a variety of architectural styles.
5. Machu Picchu - c. AD 1450
The dream destination of millions of people across the world, Machu Picchu, is one of the seven wonders of the world. It is located in the Cusco Region of Peru’s Machupicchu District. According to the majority of archaeologists, the Inca emperor Pachacuti built Machu Picchu as an estate at around 1450. The site developed as a city but was abandoned a century later during the Spanish Conquest. The site remained largely unknown to the rest of the world till its discovery by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu is the best representation of the Incan way of life. Its architecture represents the Incan style. The three significant structures of the site are the Temple of the Sun, the Inti Watana, and the Room of the Three Windows.
A lot of mysticism is associated with Machu Picchu. Some evidence indicates that human sacrifices occurred in Machu Picchu. Animals sacrifices were definitely common. The sudden abandonment of the site by the inhabitants is also not quite clear. Thus, for its historical value and mysticism, Machu Picchu serves as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
4. Christ the Redeemer - Opened October 12, 1931
A symbol of Christianity, the religion with most followers in the world, and the cultural icon of Brazil, the Art Deco styled statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro is one of the seven wonders of the world. The credit of building the statue goes to Paul Landowski, the French sculptor. The Romanian sculptor, Gheorghe Leonida, fashioned the face. Engineers Caquot and Costa built the statue. The sculpture, named as “Christ the Redeemer” is 98 feet tall, has a 26-feet tall pedestal, and arms that stretch 92 feet wide. The 635 metric ton statue, made of soapstone and concrete, is located atop the 2,300 feet tall Corcovado mountain. The construction of the statue was initiated in 1922 and completed by 1931.
3. Petra - c. 100 BC
Petra, a Jordanian wonder, is also enlisted among the seven wonders of the world. It has immense archaeological, historical, and architectural value that makes it a jaw-dropping tourist attraction in Jordan. The water conduit system and the rock-cut architecture are the two most notable features of this ancient city. Petra is also nicknamed as the “Rose City” due to the stone color out of which it is carved.
Petra is located on the slope of the Jebel al-Madhbah which is believed by some to be the biblical Mount Hor. It has been built in a basin among the mountains. The ancient city’s foundation dates back to 312 BC. It served as the capital of Nabataeans who were nomadic Arabs. The establishment of Petra allowed the Nabataeans to live in proximity to the regional trade routes and the city soon became a major trade hub of the ancient world. The site was discovered by the world in 1812 when a Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, happened to discover its existence.
Today Petra is not only one seven wonders of the world but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also listed as one of the "28 Places to See Before You Die” by the Smithsonian magazine.
2. Great Wall of China - Since 7th century BC
The Great Wall of China, a global tourist hotspot, is known across the world for its uniqueness, great length, and historical value. For a number of reasons, it deserves to be one of the seven wonders of the world. The Great Wall of China is associated with thousands of years of Chinese history. A series of walls were initially built by Chinese empires and states over a period of many years, beginning as early as the 7th century BCE. These walls were then joined together to result in the Great Wall of China. UNESCO inscribed the site as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
The most famous of these walls is the one built by the first Chinese Emperor, Qin Shi Huang between 220 and 206 BCE. However, only ruins of this wall remain today. The majority of the walls existing now were built during the Ming Dynasty 1368–1644). According to a survey by the Archaeological Survey, the Ming walls extend for a distance of 8,850 km. 6,259 km part of this length is the actual wall, trenches make up 359 km, and rivers and hills (natural defensive barriers) comprise 2,232 km of this distance. The Great Wall of China is made up of bricks, stones, wood, tamped earth, wood as well as some other materials. Watch towers, garrison stations, troop barracks, signaling methods further enhance the defensive characteristics of the Chinese wonder.
For centuries, the Great Wall of China served the important function of protecting the empires and states in China against foreign invasions. The wall also helped regulate immigration and emigration to and from the country. It allowed the Chinese rulers to monitor cross-border trade and facilitated the imposition of duties on the expensive goods that were transported along the Silk Road. Thus, the Great Wall of China served as a major transportation corridor that encouraged organized international trade and ensured the safety and security of the Chinese people. For all these reasons, the Great Wall of China is regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world.
- Great Pyramid of Giza (Honorary Candidate) - Completed c. 2560 BC
The greatness of the Great Pyramid of Giza is quite relevant in the fact that though it did not compete for the title of the seven wonders of the world, it was assigned the honorary title as it simply had to be included in the list. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the biggest and the oldest one among the three pyramids forming the Giza Pyramid Complex. The pyramid is in El Giza, Egypt. Egyptologists believe that this pyramid was build over a period of 10 to 20 years and completed by around 2560 BC. For over 3,800 years, the Great Pyramid of Giza stood tall as the world’s tallest structure till this position was replaced by the skyscrapers of the modern world. The Pyramid has baffled engineers and architects across the world as to how it was constructed in times when modern infrastructural facilities did not exist. The pyramid houses the tomb of Khufu, the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh.