Across the globe, people travel far and wide to visit the Wonders of the World. But, do you know the history of these sites and how they came to be so important to the global community?
For centuries the world has celebrated amazing sculptures and architecture. So much so that seven of these landmarks have the global status of being a “Wonder of the World”. Although there are now several categories with this title, the original list of ancient wonders dates back to a piece of work written in 225 B.C. by Philo of Byzantine called On Seven Wonders. These landmarks are revered because they show the true capability humans have for incredible imagination and creativity. After all, each of these architectural phenomena is manmade.
What are the new seven wonders of the world?
The seven wonders of the world are:
Petra, in Jordan,
The Colosseum, in Italy,
The Great Wall of China, in China,
The Christ the Redeemer, in Brazil,
The Chichén Itzá, in Mexico,
The Machu Picchu, in Peru, and
Taj Mahal, in India.
Is Petra a wonder of the world? Yes!
Petra, Jordan is one of the most remarkable landmarks on the planet. This ancient Jordan city dates back from the 1st century B.C., and it used to be the Arabic capital of the Nabateans Empire. Back then, the state became very wealthy due to its position in the trading routes between Arabia, India, Africa, and the West. Its moniker is the Rose City and it became a UNESCO Heritage site in 1985.
Home to 800 tombs, known as the “Royal Tombs”, including one estimated to be over 2,000 years old, Petra is an exhibiting travel destination for history-enthusiasts. As one of the oldest cities in the world, the site was inhabited by the Edomites (from 18th to 2nd century BC), the Nabateans (2nd century to 106 BC), and the Romans (106 to 395 BC).
The beautiful sandstone walls of Petra became famous after they were featured in the 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. According to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA), Petra welcomed over one million visitors in 2019.
Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The colossal Christ the Redeemer statue looks over Rio de Janeiro from the summit of Mount Corcovado, a privileged location in Rio. Considered Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmark, the statue sits in the National Park of Tijuca, towering 2,310 feet above the city. The statue is 98 feet tall and its arms span 92 feet wide from fingertip to fingertip.
The construction of this gigantic statue took place in April 1922, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and it was completed in 1931, and its design was crafted by many different designers and engineers, such as the Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski and the engineers Heitor da Silva Costa and Albert Caquot.
And in case you’re wondering how did Christ Redeemer was placed at the top of Mount Corcovado, here’s the answer: because of its massive size, the statue was put together on top of the mountain, and the necessary materials were transported on a small cog-wheel train.
Visited by nearly 2 million people each year, it is the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the entire world. Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro, celebrates and honours the 100th year anniversary of the Brazilian Republic. It is still one of the most visited sites in not only Brazil but the world, and there is even a replica of the statue in Lisbon, Portugal. A great tip is to try to visit it during a day with clear skies, so you can enjoy the best views of the city.
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Over 2 million tourists visit Chichén Itzá, the second most popular archaeological site in Mexico, a year. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ancient city, which consists of Mayan ruins located on the northern half of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It’s a great day trip if you’re traveling to Cancun or Playa del Carmen, for instance, and when taking a tour to Chichén Itzá, you can walk among the giant pyramids.
The El Castillo, also known as the Kukulkan Pyramid, which is located in the very center of the site, is one of the only buildings to maintain its original structure. Historians say Chichén Itzá was built from 600 A.D. until 1221 during the Mayan empire. Due to its location and size, it stood as one of the most important places in Mayan culture. In December 2019, a new daily visit record was broken, with over 18,000 visitors in just one day. It is a must-visit when planning a trip to Mexico. Curious fact: the term Chichén Itzá means ‘the mouth at the well of Itza’, and it’s believed that Itza means ‘water magicians’.
The Great Wall of China, China
A visit to the Great Wall of China is usually on top of the bucket list of people who want to uncover the new seven wonders. But why? Well, first of all, because it’s one of the most famous structures in the world, acknowledged it as the largest man-made structure on Earth. Built in the early 7th century B.C. the Wall took over 2,500 years to be completed, and its construction spanned over more than 10 Chinese dynasties, which is a very long time.
It’s impossible to precise the wall’s location, since it winds up and down the country in a dragon-like shape, extending over 13,170 miles (21,196 kilometers) and winding through h 404 towns in 15 provincial regions across northern and central China. Made out of a range of materials, like stone, brick, rammed earth, and wood, the walls were used for border control and for defence against nomadic invaders. Due to both human and natural causes, almost 1/3 of the wall is missing today. Thus, the Chinese government has commissioned many restoration projects to renovate the wall and its missing parts.
The Chinese don’t refer to this wonder as “the Great Wall.” They call it Chángchéng, which means Long Wall. Visited by over 10 million people a year, this wonder of the world became a UNESCO Heritage site in 1987.
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Located in the heart of Rome, Italy, The Colosseum stands proud as a symbol of power for the country. The construction of the Colosseum started in 70 A.D, however, it did not officially begin until 72 A.D., being finished only in 80 A.D. Built in the heart of Ancient Rome, the Colosseum was ordered by Emperor Vespasian who wanted to build the largest amphitheater in the world. In fact, it is still the largest in the world. With an oval shape, the structure is 189m long, 156m wide and 50m high, and it’s made from stone and concrete. During its time, the Colosseum could seat as many as 50,000 to 70,000 spectators, and it was used to host gladiator contests, and the vast majority of combatants were men slaves, condemned criminals, or prisoners of wars. The Colosseum also hosted mock sea battles and animal hunts, and some of the animals even included big cats and crocodiles.
By the 20th-century, two-thirds of the Colosseum was destroyed by neglect, vandalism and natural disasters, including the arena’s marble seats. A careful restoration program began in the 1990s, and this historical landmark is still one of Italy’s most famous tourist attractions in the world, being visited by over 7 million people a year.
The Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is so much more than just a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. Listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the monument was built by Emperor Shah Jahan from 1632 to 1648 for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died on June 17, 1631.
Representing the emperor’s everlasting love for his wife, the building stands as a beacon of light and strength for India and the global community.
Made of white marble from Makrana, in Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal combines a range of architectural styles, such as Islamic, Persian, and Indian styles. For the construction, other noble materials were used, such as turquoise from Tibet, jade and crystal from China, sapphire from Sri Lanka and Arabia, and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.
Over 2.5 million visitors go to Agra, India, to visit the Taj Mahal every year. As are the other wonders, the Taj Mahal is also a UNESCO Heritage site since 1983. While photos of the building show its beauty, they cannot truly capture the delicacy and attention to detail. It is truly a place one must see in person in order to know its magnificence.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Last, but not least is Machu Picchu as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. This site is one of the most breathtaking global landmarks and the true pride of Peru. Machu Picchu belongs to the Incan empire from the mid-15th-century. However, it wasn’t rediscovered until 1911 by archeologist Hiram Bingham. He was searching for another ancient city when he found the green terraces and remains of the structure.
Many historians commonly use the term “ruins” when referring to this wonder, however, that is an incorrect description according to Machupicchu.org. It is best to describe this city as a sanctuary as it was a spiritual and sacred place for the Incans. Machu Picchu became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
Have you ever visited one of the new seven wonders of the world? Let us know! Check out our blog to learn about more places you can virtually visit today.
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