Remember the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? In 2000, the New7Wonders organization decided it was time for an update, and they asked people around the globe to vote again – this time on places that represent the wonders of our world today.
After an influx of online, text message and telephone votes, the organization narrowed all of the nominations down to 21 finalists, announced on January 1, 2006. Then fittingly on July 7, 2007 (7/7/07), the New 7 Wonders of the World were announcedin an official declaration ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal. In no particular order (since the orders are unranked), here is the list:
With a history of almost 2,000 years, the Great Wall was built to keep enemies out of China and to create a defensive fortification system. It began as a series of independent walls, which were linked together by extraordinary manpower under the Qin dynasty to stretch about 4,163 miles long. Today, some parts of the wall are destroyed, but its immensity and grandeur make it one of the most remarkable attractions in the world – not to mention that it’s the largest man-made monument ever to have been built. In fact, some say it may be the only monument on Earth visible from space.
Petra, the capital of the Nabataean empire (9 BC to 40 AD), is famous for its advanced water technology and for being an ancient trade route junction. The entrance to the city is through the awe-inspiring Siq, a long, narrow gorge surrounded by towering cliffs. The Al-Khazneh, or the Treasury, is also a sight to behold, with its massive façade carved into rock. Also, there is a Roman-style theater that seats 4,000, in addition to obelisks, altars and temples. A 13th century shrine marks the death of Moses’s brother Aaron.
The Christ the Redeemer statue stands over 100 feet tall on Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, and it is one of the world’s most famous monuments. After five years of construction funded by the Catholic Church, the statue was finished in 1931. The Church still owns the monument. Since Jesus is depicted holding out his arms, it has become a symbol of the warmth and welcoming of the Brazilian people. For visitors, a trip to the top of the mountain is a must; the view of the city is breathtaking.
This 15th century city was built by an Incan emperor on top of Machu Picchu, which means “old mountain.” After the Spanish defeated the Incan Empire, the city was lost for three centuries until 1911, when it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham. The Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu was created in 1981 to preserve the area’s archaeological monuments, such as mountains, ancient trails, waterfalls and hot springs. The unique landscapes and beautiful, lush flora and fauna of the natural setting makes it a true wonder.
This temple city was the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization before 800 AD. The most famous structure of the ancient city is El Castillo, or the Pyramid of Kukulkan. The view from the top is spectacular, while the dark, humid inside can be overwhelming. Expeditions into the pyramid led explorers to discover a temple buried below they pyramid, with a mysterious Chac Mool statue. The Hall of a Thousand Pillars also attracts tourists from around the world. The Mayans made important discoveries in language, math and architecture that are visible today in the remains of their civilization.
For more information on visiting Chichen Itza, visit our TripSpot page.
Although the construction of the Roman Colosseum started in 70 AD, the amphitheater still stands today, as a model for almost every modern sports stadium. Originally designed to hold 50,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial contests and public celebrations, with women and lower classes sitting higher, while prominent citizens sat in lower seats. It stopped being used as a public entertainment center in the early medieval era, but it has endured as one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions and a symbol of the architecture of the glorious Roman Empire.
In 1612, Muslim princess Mumtaz Mahal was married to Shah Jahan, who would become the next Mughal emperor. The two were inseparable. Mumtaz accompanied her husband on all of his journeys and inspired him to perform acts of charity toward the needy. When Mumtaz died during childbirth in 1931, the Emperor ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal, a mausoleum with onion-shaped domes and towers, in memory of his beloved wife. Now regarded as a perfect emblem of Muslim art, the Taj Mahal stands as a symbol of undying love.