A hundred million people can’t be wrong. Ordinary people across the globe had a chance to vote for the new wonders of the world a few years ago. Narrowing down the list of the wonders of the modern world was not an easy task. All monuments had to be still existing man-made structures. They also needed to have architectural value and had to be well-preserved. Among the prominent contenders were Hagia Sophia in Turkey, Eiffel Tower in France and Alhambra in Spain. They all failed to make the cut. Neither Stonehenge nor Acropolis in Greece made it on the shortlist of seven. Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument on the planet, also missed out.
Candidates: The list of the wonders of the ancient world was seven, and, therefore, the list of new wonders of the world was also limited to seven.
What are the 7 wonders of the modern world?
The seven new wonders of the world are some of the world’s most famous landmarks. They have impressive architecture and remarkable history and attract millions of visitors every year. Wonders of the modern world are spread across four continents. Every one of these structures is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, UNESCO had no affiliation with the competition.
The New wonder could be any majestic site built before the year 2000.
7 wonders of the modern world
Here are the seven wonders of the modern world and where you can find them.
1. Great Wall of China (the Chinese Wall)
Of all of the wonders of the modern world, a few surprise in quite the same way as the Great Wall of China. As you probably know, the Chinese Wall is one of the most iconic sights in the world. This Chinese attraction is famous not only for its historical value but also for its great length. It stretches for more than 20,000 km (12,427 mi). You are quite right to think that it is the longest wall in the world. It is the longest man-made structure on earth and one of the greatest engineering marvels of mankind. And no – you cannot see the Great Wall of China from the Moon.
China’s top visited attraction, the Great Wall of China, is longer than previously thought.
Many years ago, this fortification was developed to protect the flourishing Silk Road trade. Other duties were border controls and imposing duties on goods transported along the Silk Road. The path of the wall also served as a transportation corridor.
Its construction lasted over 2 000 years and was made up of many individual sections. Several dynasties contributed to the building of this famous fortification with watchtowers. But it was the Ming dynasty, that was responsible for most of what you can see today.
Like Rome, the Great Wall of China was not built in a day. It took more than 2000 years to build a series of fortifications (between 770 BC and 1633 AD). For those reasons, the Chinese Wall is the oldest structure on the list of the new wonders of the world.
Visiting the Great Wall of China
Nowadays, many parts of the wall have crumbled over the centuries and are hardly photo album material. In fact, only about 9 per cent of the Chinese Wall Remains Intact. Conveniently, most of the best-preserved (and restored) sections are near China’s capital – Beijing. Parts of the wall around Beijing are in top condition. Plus, they are located just an hour and a half from the city – ideal for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day trip.
2. Machu Picchu in Peru
It’s easy to see why people wanted Machu Picchu to be one of the new 7 wonders of the world. It is one of the most famous destinations in South America and a dream destination for millions of people. This iconic landmark of Peru is the most familiar icon of the Inca civilization.
The mountain top city of Machu Picchu lies northwest of Cuzco, which was once the capital of the Inca Empire. The 15th century Inca site laid undiscovered to the West until the early part of the 20th century. Today, more than a century after an explorer rediscovered the city in 1911, Machu Picchu is the most visited attraction in the country.
Despite its relative isolation high in the mountains, Inca architects constructed one of the most important Inca sites between the Peruvian Andes peaks. The lost Incan citadel consists of 200 structures in the most dramatic setting. In fact, it is the engineering of the highest order. It has steep ramparts, stone terraces, temples and crumbling walls. It also has a running water system stretching over one kilometre long. Yes, that is right, Machu Picchu is one of the best examples of Incan engineering. The impressive size and location of these ancient ruins make Machu Picchu one of the most beautiful wonders of the modern world.
Visiting UNESCO Machu Picchu is like stepping back in time.
Many have speculated about the original purpose of these pre-Columbian ruins. Some say that it was likely a royal retreat, a military stronghold. Others believe that Machu Picchu was used primarily for agriculture and religious ceremonies. The Inca civilization abandoned this ancient city after the fall of the empire during the Spanish conquest. This beautiful heritage site is one of the few major pre-Columbian ruins found nearly intact.
VISITING THE ICONIC LANDMARK OF PERU
Today, Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the best-selling tourist destinations in the world. With so much to see, make sure you leave plenty of time to soak up the heritage of this wonder of the modern world. During the high season (May – September), tickets sell out days before. Hence, book your tickets to Machu Picchu in advance. There is a limited number of visitors each day.
3. Chichen Itza in Mexico
Chichen Itza also deserves to be on a list of wonders of the modern world. It is Mexico’s most visited archaeological site, and it is on the bucket list of many travellers. This pre-Columbian city was once the centre of the Maya civilisation. Yes, that is right, the most visited Maya ruins were once one of the largest cities in the ancient Maya world.
Despite its significant age, Chichen Itza in Mexico is not quite the oldest of the new 7 wonders of the world. Nobody knows how old it is, but its earliest origins trace back to 750 AD. Some say that it is even older.
Chichen Itza is famous for its perfect astronomical geometry.
The Maya people have fascinated archaeologists for many years. You might not know it, but they mapped the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars. They practised mathematics, art and also calendar systems. The Maya even used hieroglyphics – pictures and characters to represent phrases and words. They were into astrology, kept track of the time and could even predict solar eclipses. Chichen Itza is famous for its perfect astronomical geometry, unusual acoustics and complex design. That is why people wanted this UNESCO site to be one of seven wonders.
The Temple of Kukulkan is the main attraction you can see here. This massive pyramid structure is a perfect example of the Maya engineering skills. The stepped pyramid that dominates the centre of the site is based on Maya astronomy. But that is not all – this famous Maya temple with 365 steps hides a secret beneath its mighty steps.
READ MORE: Chichen Itza in Mexico
4. Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
At the top of Corcovado mountain sits an iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer. This art-deco statue has become a cultural symbol of both – Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. Its origins date to just after World War I. The catholic church primarily financed the construction of the statue of Rio. Today Christ the Redeemer in Brazil is the youngest of the wonders of the modern world. It is a testament to Brazil’s religious heritage and a symbol of Christianity.
It is impossible to take a trip to Rio without visiting the statue of Rio. The Statue of Rio is not only a symbol of the city but also of the whole of Brazil.
The statue of Jesus is visible from almost anywhere in the city. It measures 38 metres, including the base. Christ of Rio stands high above the skyline of Rio de Janeiro and is the tallest sculpture of the art deco style in the world. Even though it is not the world’s largest Christ statue, Christ the Redeemer is one of the most popular destinations on our planet. Moreover, Rio’s Christ contains a small chapel at the base. It is even possible to wed there.
5. Petra in Jordan
The most popular tourist attraction in Jordan is undoubtedly Petra. A magical city of rose-coloured rock located in a remote valley in southwest Jordan is a testament to the engineering skills of its Nabataean creators. The ancient rock city of Petra has outstanding archaeological, historical and architectural value. The remnants of a stone city are so well preserved that you can hardly believe that the Nabateans built Petra more than two millennia ago. That’s why Petra in Jordan is one of the most impressive wonders of the modern world.
The entrance to the city is through Siq – a narrow path about 1 km long with cliffs on each side.
Red Rose City
Petra’s development began when a tribe of Arabian nomads settled there. The Nabataeans became very wealthy from the trade routes that crossed their land. They created this unique cosmopolitan city with beautiful buildings and gardens. Today it is hard to believe that Petra was once home to 30,000 people. The Red Rose City was severely damaged by a powerful earthquake, and the city began to decline. This ancient wonder remained unknown to the Western World until a Swiss explorer rediscovered the ruins of Petra. It was more than a millennium after it had been deserted.
The ruins of Petra carved out of sandstone rocks are one of the top attractions in the country.
Nowadays, this rock-cut marvel is a symbol of Jordan and one of the oldest new wonders of the world. The most famous structure here is the Treasury, with mighty pillars guarding the entrance to this beautiful city. But there is more to Petra than its iconic Treasury. The impressive tombs, the open-air theatre and the monastery attract a million visitors yearly. Archaeologists reckon that only a tiny percentage of Petra has been uncovered. Only a few years ago, the forgotten gardens of Petra with a complex water-storage system were found once again.
6. Colosseum in Italy
Did you know that 6 out of 7 new wonders of the modern world are located outside Europe? Yes, that’s right, even though Europe’s cultural heritage is rich, it’s home to only 1 of the seven wonders. It is the iconic Colosseum. The UNESCO Colosseum is the ultimate symbol of the Roman Empire and the most visited attraction in Italy.
Colosseum is the only one of the wonders of the modern world located in Europe.
Almost 2,000 years old Colosseum was a gift to the Romans from the emperor. The largest amphitheatre ever built became a key part of Roman life. It is hard to imagine it, but 60,000 – 100,000 people worked on its construction. The oval-shaped Colosseum could host between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. Gladiators would fight to the death during the glory times of the Roman Empire.
The Colosseum is one of the best places to visit in Rome. The iconic symbol of Imperial Rome is striking at any time of day. It is well worth visiting, especially if you pre-book a video guide.
READ MORE: Best things to do in Rome
7. Taj Mahal in India
The Taj Mahal is not only the most popular attraction in India, but it’s also one of the new 7 wonders of the world. This UNESCO heritage site is an architectural marvel and a national symbol of India. You can find it in the city of Agra, about 120 km (130 mi) south of the capital New Delhi.
This white marble complex with graceful curves is easily recognizable around the world today. The site includes the main gateway, mausoleum, mosque, rest house and gardens with a reflective pool. Marble and precious stones cover the Taj Mahal and the colour of this beautiful monument changes during the day.
Taj Mahal is a universal symbol of love.
But beyond its beauty and historical value lies a love story. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built this mausoleum in memory of his favourite wife, who passed away during childbirth. The construction of this beautiful monument with floral carvings and verses of Persian poetry on the walls took over two decades. Around 20,000 people worked on the Taj Mahal and created one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the world. No wonder it was named one of the wonders of the modern world.
An honorary status on the list of the wonders of the modern world
8. Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt
Giza pyramid complex, located north of Cairo, is the only ancient wonder to survive to modern times.
Surprisingly, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt did not make it on a list of the new 7 wonders of the world. As a compromise, the Great Pyramid has an honorary status on the list of the wonders of the modern world.
Giza Pyramids are stunning achievements of ancient engineering. These unique monuments were built more than 4,000 ago. The pyramids in Giza are the last of the ancient seven wonders of the world still standing. Today, Giza Pyramids are a symbol of Egypt, and it is on the bucket list of millions of people.
As you probably know, the pyramids of Giza house the remains of the pharaohs who ruled over Ancient Egypt. Nobody knows for sure how the Egyptians built the pyramids. It is one of the biggest mysteries. Archaeologists believe that the Great Pyramid of Giza (the biggest one of them all) was the world’s tallest structure for over 3.800 years. The proportions of the first Giza pyramid are colossal, even for the modern era. The Great Pyramid of Giza is 147 metres (481 feet) tall. The length of each side at the base of the pyramid is about 230 metres (756 feet). The pyramid consists of around 2.3 million stone blocks with an average weight of nearly 3 tons. Legend has it that it took over 20 years to build only one pyramid.
How many wonders of the modern world have you visited? Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
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