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 awe in millions. Narrowing down the world's wonders to only seven is a difficult task. Luckily, the New7Wonders Foundation took the initiative to compose a list of the "new" seven wonders of the world by narrowing down a list of 200 monuments from around the world, including some of the world's most famous landmarks. 21 finalists were selected from this list, and the top seven were selected by popular vote.
The 7 wonders of the world are:
- Taj Mahal - India
- Colosseum - Italy
- Chichen Itza - Mexico
- Machu Picchu - Peru
- Christ the Redeemer - Brazil
- Petra - Jordan
- Great Wall of China - China
The Great Pyramid of Giza has also been added to the list. However, it is an honorary candidate and not one of the seven wonders.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is well known across the world for its historical value, its tale of love, and its stunning beauty. The Taj Mahal is located in the historic Indian 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 was prompted to build the Taj Mahal after her death as a testament to his love.
The construction of the Taj Mahal was completed by 1632. It took 17 years, 22,000 laborers, stonecutters, painters, and embroidery artists, and 1000 elephants to complete the Taj Mahal. The construction of the temple cost the equivalent of US$827 million today. 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were used to decorate the Taj Mahal. The monument changes color depending on the time of the day and the moon. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was inscribed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Today, it attracts 7 to 8 million annual visitors each year.
Rome, Italy, hosts the Colosseum, which is one of the world's seven wonders. Sometimes called the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum is an oval-shaped amphitheater in the center of the city. Constructed from concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheater in the world. 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 labor of tens of thousands of slaves were used to build this magnificent structure. The Colosseum had the capacity to host about 80,000 spectators and 80 entrances at the time of its construction.
Mock sea battles, animal hunts, famous battle re-enactments, executions, and mythological dramas were just some of the public spectacles held at the Colosseum. Entry to events in the Colosseum were free and paid from the Emperor's treasury. However, the Colosseum bore witness to a lot of brutality. Often over 10,000 animals were killed in a day. Today, this wonder of the world is a popular tourist attraction and serves as the iconic symbol of Imperial Rome.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
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. Chichen Itza's structures like the temples, arcades, and pyramids were sacred to the ancient Maya people. Chichen Itza is believed to have been one of the major cities of the ancient Mayan world and constructions in the city exhibit a variety of architectural styles.
The Temple of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza is an archeological marvel based on Maya astronomy. It has 365 steps for each day of the year. There are 91 steps on each of the four sides and the platform at the top serves as the 365th step. The site even houses a sophisticated ancient observatory that exhibits the excellent advanced astronomical knowledge possessed by the Maya people. Chichen Itza was abandoned in the 1400s. However, it is still not known why people left their homes in the city. The historical value of the site contributes to its status as a wonder of the world.
Machu Picchu, Peru
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 around the year 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 until its discovery by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. A new theory suggests that Machu Pichu could have been the end stage of an ancient pilgrimage route of the Inca people.
Machu Picchu is a great representation of the Incan way of life. The positions of important structures in Machu Pichu were strongly influenced by the location of nearby mountains regarded as holy by the Inca people. No mortar was used to build the structures in Machu Picchu. The stones were cut and wedged in a manner that even a credit card would not go through the joints. While it definitely improved the aesthetic value of the buildings, it also protected from earthquakes. The stones would 'dance' if there were earthquakes and then fall back into place once the tremors subsided. An engineering mavel, a lot of sophisticated civil engineering work had to be done underground to establish Machu Pichu as a city in a notch between two mountain peaks. Most of this is invisible to the visitor's eye.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
One of Brazil's most iconic symbols, 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, a French sculptor. The Romanian sculptor, Gheorghe Leonida, was responsible for fashioning the face. The sculpture cost a total of $250,000 which was donated by individuals from in and around Brazil.
Christ the Redeemer is 98 feet tall and has a 26-feet tall pedestal. Its arms 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. It is the largest sculpture of the art deco style in the world. However, it is not the world's largest Christ statue. Couples can wed in the chapel at the base of the statue as it was declared a sanctuary in 2006 by the Catholic Church. The statue has been featured in various Hollywood films.
Petra, a Jordanian wonder, is also listed among the seven wonders of the world. Petra is also nicknamed as the “Rose City” due to the stone color from which it is carved. It has immense archaeological, historical, and architectural value that makes it a jaw-dropping tourist attraction. The water conduit system and the rock-cut architecture are the two most notable features of this ancient city. The water conduit system installed by the ancient Nabataeans helped give rise to a flourishing city in a desert. The Royal Tombs which are large mausoleums with impressive facades carved into rock are a major attraction in Petra.
Petra is not only one of the seven wonders of the world but is 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. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the 1989 Hollywood adventure movie was filmed in Petra.
Great Wall of China, China
The Great Wall of China, a global tourist hotspot, is known across the world for its uniqueness, great length, and historical value. It is also considered 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. Over 20 dynasties/states contributed to the building of the wall. These walls were then joined together to result in the Great Wall of China. It was not just a wall but a kind of fortification with watchtowers, beacon towers, trenches, etc., built at intervals as protection from enemy forces. The official length of the Great Wall of China is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi). However, nearly one-third of the Great Wall has disappeared over time. UNESCO inscribed the site as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
Great Pyramid of Giza (Honorary Candidate) , Egypt
Although the Great Pyramid of Giza was not officially selected as one of the seven wonders of the world, it was assigned an honorary title because of its undeniable importance. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the biggest and the oldest one among the three pyramids forming the Giza Pyramid Complex. Egyptologists believe that this pyramid was built 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 until 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.
Other Lists Of Wonders
The Seven Natural Wonders of the World is an unofficial list of the most spectacular places in nature from around the globe.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World include picks from ancient times, such as the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus of Olympia, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
The Seven Wonders of the Medieval World include the most impressive wonders of the Middle Ages. Examples of these wonders include Stonehenge, the Hagia Sophia, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.