The 7 wonders of the world are the finest architectural and sculptural achievements of the ancient Mediterranean and the Middle East. Both the ancient and new 7 wonders of the world, with their historical significance and cultural legacy, are must-see destinations for every tourist at least once in a lifetime. According to many experts, the world’s heritage is exceptionally rich. Regardless of the civilisation visited, a massive monument, a temple decked with a thousand splendours, or a structure defying natural laws will always be encountered. Rather than presenting a vast number of these masterpieces, you will find a brief selection of them below, each of which is precisely described, explained, and researched. Though only the ruins of the bulk of the old marvels survive, tourists may certainly see the allure of the world’s new wonders.
Let us all delve into the fascinating history of the 7 fascinating sensations of the world—from Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer to India’s Taj Mahal.
The 7 Wonders of the World
- Taj Mahal, Agra, India
- Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
- The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
- Great Wall of China, China
- Petra, Jordan
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
How were the 7 Wonders of the World Selected?
The New 7 Wonders of the World came about in 2000 when a company based in Zurich, Switzerland, “The New 7 Wonders Foundation (N7W)”, decided to launch a campaign to name the New 7 Wonders. After more than one hundred million votes were cast, the New Seven Wonders of the World were announced in 2007. It has also become a controversial matter. Some of the criteria used to make the final selection are popular among the public, availability of evidence, historical significance, and the quality of the attraction. Many people disagreed with the results. However, the votes were cast, and the wonders were selected.
The following were picked out as the glorious 7 Wonders of the World:
Taj Mahal Agra, India
One of India’s most iconic landmarks, situated in Agra, western Uttar Pradesh state, Northern India, this Wonder of the World is a stunningly beautiful and immense, ivory-white marble mausoleum. Built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth in 1631, having been the emperor’s inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612, the Taj Mahal is an enduring monument, with an asymmetrical design, which is admired as the ultimate token of love. It is an amalgamation of architectural styles, including Persian, Islamic, Turkish, and Indian. UNESCO considers it to be “the greatest architectural achievement in the entire range of Indo-Islamic architecture”.
The Taj Mahal is situated in the eastern part of Agra on the southern bank of the Yamuna River. It is also on the right bank of the Yamuna and is about one mile (1.6 km) west of the Taj Mahal. Every inch of the white marble structure is beautifully decorated, except for the actual grave of Mumtaz Mahal, because according to Islamic tradition, a grave cannot be adorned with decoration as it is an inappropriate expression of one’s ego. The ideal time to enjoy the peaceful monument and avoid the throng and heat is around daybreak or as the sunsets. The icon has always been vulnerable to dust and dirt from the Yamuna River. Architects have covered it with scaffolding that resembles a pile of bamboo to protect it from any attack.
Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
The Christ in Art Deco Style the Redeemer statue is the largest statue of Jesus in the world, and it was built mostly through donations. Standing on top of the 710-metre-tall Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer was created by the French sculptor, Paul Landowski, for the Catholic Church and completed in 1931.
The monument of Jesus measures almost thirty metres; its pedestal is an additional eight metres, and its outstretched arms span twenty-eight metres. The statue was designed in France and shipped to Brazil, where it was recreated using reinforced concrete and a light-coloured stone from a nearby quarry. However, the stone is in scarce supply, so restoration work is being done using a different stone, which adds to the monument’s beauty. In October 2006, the 75th anniversary of the monument’s creation, the Archbishop of Rio unveiled a chapel beneath the statue. The statue attracts millions and millions of visitors each year.
Its top position also attracts lightning, and it gets hit several times a year. Once, the statue lost its thumb finger in a lightning strike.
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The Colosseum in Rome, built-in 80 CE as a massive entertainment arena, is one of the most well-known Roman landmarks in the world. It was constructed from travertine limestone, tuff, and brick-faced concrete. The arena, which is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was begun by Emperor Vespasian and finished during the reign of his successor and heir, Titus. Once complete, it was the site of gladiator fights, animal hunts, public executions, and battle re-enactments.
The Colosseum has a basement with trapdoors that were once used to release animals and quickly dispose of their dead bodies. The grand arches once housed life-size bronze statues, and the entire surface was covered with precious marble. In its heyday, the Colosseum could accommodate more than 50,000 spectators; today, visitor numbers are around 7.4 million each year. Unfortunately, earthquakes and robbers took away much of its glory. The Colosseum monument is depicted on the Italian version of the five-cent euro coin even today.
Great Wall of China, China
Continuously built from the third century BCE to the 17th century CE, the military defence project stretches more than 20,000km (12,427 miles) and consists of walls, horse tracks, watchtowers, fortresses, and shelters. UNESCO claims it ‘embodies unparalleled significance as the national symbol for safeguarding the security of the country and its people.’ The views of the surrounding wild landscape are spectacular. The Great Wall of China is the world’s longest man-made structure, built to protect the Chinese Empire from the invading Mongols. But the number is larger, more than 13,000 miles if one considers the area of the wall built over thousands of years. To get an idea of this length, consider the fact that the equator is 24,000 miles.
Unfortunately, between 1966 and 1976, many bricks from the wall were taken and used to build homes and industries. It is believed that the structure is facing severe erosion and that parts of the Great Wall of China may disappear entirely in 20 years.
Situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, Petra, Al-Batra, or The Lost City, is half-built, half-carved into rock and provides visitors with an impressive insight into an ancient civilisation, one that existed some 2,000 years ago. Petra’s temples, tombs, opulent mansions, libraries, and other significant public monuments were all carved from pink sandstone, lending the city the nickname “Rose City.” The most awe-inspiring is the Treasury, standing almost forty metres high, which appears like a mirage through a slit in the rock. The perfection of its proportions is astounding. It had 20,000-30,000 people living in it and it is believed that a massive earthquake in AD 363 destroyed half the city, after which it sat uninhabited for five centuries until it was rediscovered in 1812.
The city is home to numerous incredible structures carved into stone—a 4,000-seat amphitheatre and the El-Deir monastery are among the more famous.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Situated in an extraordinarily beautiful, natural setting on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu was “probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height,” according to UNESCO. The pre-Columbian Incan settlement was thought to have been built as a royal retreat in the 15th century but was mysteriously abandoned some years later and was “rediscovered” by an American historian, Hiram Bingham, in 1911.
The site is an incredible engineering marvel that allows the city to sit on the slope without sliding off. There is a 2400-foot water canal which, if repaired, can be used even today. The walls are made from heavy granite that was rolled up the mountainside, and the stones are chiselled to fit without needing any mortar. Machu Picchu was constructed in the Inca manner, with polished dry-stone walls. Machu Picchu has three well-known structures: the Intihuatana, the Sun Temple, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the structures have been recreated to give visitors a clearer understanding of how they once looked.
By 1976, 30% of Machu Picchu had been restored, and restoration continues to this date. Visiting Machu Picchu is not for the faint-hearted. You don’t want to start walking up and realise that you can’t make it. The locals say that chewing on cocoa leaves is known to help.
Chichen Itza, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Mexico is also famous for the 7 wonders of the world and Mexican food. Chichen Itza is a Mayan metropolis on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula that flourished between the 9th and 10th century CE. Back in 800-1200, this city was a powerful trading centre and was the political and economic hub of the Mayan civilisation. The stepped pyramid known as El Castillo (“The Castle”), which rises seventy-nine feet above the main plaza, is one of the most prominent landmarks.
A testament to the Mayans’ astronomical abilities, the structure features a total of 365 steps, the number of days in the solar year. During the spring and autumnal equinoxes, the setting sun casts shadows on the pyramid that give the appearance of a serpent slithering down the north stairway; at the base is a stone snakehead. Life there was not all work and science, however. Some structures are known for their unusual sounds. If you clap in front of the steps of the pyramid, it will sound like the chirping of the quetzal, a bird with iridescent green plumage and typically red underparts, found in the forests of tropical America. When you do the same thing on the basketball court, you get nine echoes in the middle of the court.
Though I have addressed just the 7 Wonders of the World, I reckon all the ancient, historical architecture is itself a miracle!
We have seen so many things around the world and learned so much about architecture, science, history, and geography. The things we have seen are all part of the 7 Wonders of the World. There are many more to explore! Today, I urge all the readers to see the connections in their day-to-day lives, to search for the explanations of why something works the way it does. Try to question the way something works and wonder why. Try to research the natural wonders of this world. Because we don’t need to fly halfway around the world to learn, there are questions right in front of us that want to be asked—and investigated! Keep exploring and keep exploring!