Ever wondered how the famous Seven Modern Wonders were decided upon? The global project was undertaken by the Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation, revealing these new wonders in 2007. More than 100 million votes were cast from across the globe and with some backing by the UN, the organization managed to conduct this poll.
Wonders of the Modern World
When the original wonders became outdated for some of the modern world, these new wonders are certainly the most widely recognized.
1. Machu Picchu – Peru
Although new to the list, Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Incan citadel which makes it over 500 years old. It was discovered in 1911 in a remote location in the Andes upon a high mountain ridge in Peru. Restored by 1976 and made an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, most of the outer buildings have been historically reconstructed to give tourists a better visually on the way it originally was. It has also been a shooting site for several Hollywood films and blockbusters, although strict care is taken for preserving the site. Tourists can take the scenic Hiram Bingham train from Cusco, which includes lunch and live local Peruvian music.
2. Petra, Jordan
Originally known as Raqmu, Petra is an archaeological city in southern Jordan and was once a major regional trading hub. Dating back to 9000 BC, the Lost City of Stone, is a unique place with pink sandstone cliffs and ridges, and the stone structures carved right into them. The Rose City of Petra is mainly made of many stone structures such as the tombs and temples, but Al Khazenah or the treasury is the one that’s the most prominent in culture and tourism alike. It was famously featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in addition to several other movies, just because of its iconic and breathtaking entrance. Hiking in the canyon of Siq is also a popular way of reaching this wonder.
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3. The Great Wall of China, China
The Great Wall of China, which was started more than 2,000 years ago to keep invaders from crossing its northern border, is actually a series of walls and fortifications. Its original construction started in the 7th century BC but the most popular parts were built in the Ming Dynasty (14-15th century). and the most recent surveys over 21,196.18 kilometers, including several natural borders like mountains and rivers. The few restored sections include the Mutianyu, outside of Beijing, with 23 watchtowers and a 3-milestone wall. Needless to say, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985 and contrary to popular belief, not clearly visible from space.
4. Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Probably the most representative site for Mayan architecture, Chichén Itzá is in the Mexican state of Yucatan in the Yucatan Peninsula. The area is known for its Mayan sites such as Tulum and Coba, and its nine-tier pyramid, whereas the most renowned and preserved ruin, is Chichén Itzá. The place dates back to 600 A.D. when it was a vital Mayan settlement. El Castillo is the most prominent structure of the place being a recognizable 78-foot pyramid-shaped temple. This archeological wonder is visited by 2.6 million people each year, making it the most popular site in Mexico.
5. Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil
A symbol of Christianity across the world, Rio de Janeiro’s 98-foot tall Christ the Redeemer statue is the most famous landmark in Brazil. It sits on top of the 2,296 ft. tall Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, giving a panoramic view of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Even the outstretched arms of Jesus measure 92 ft. in a span. It gives spectacular views of the skyline and Sugarloaf Mountain, and when illuminated at night it keeps an angel-like watch on the big city. There are access elevators to directly reach the statue without climbing the mountain and the Corcovado Rail Track to reaches the summit of the mountain, connecting the mountain’s foot with the statue.
6. The Colosseum, Italy
The Flavian Amphitheatre is in the center of the ancient city of Rome and remains the largest amphitheater ever built. With a capacity of more than 50,000 people, the gladiator arena was built around 2000 years ago in just 8 years of time. In addition to plays, public spectacles, and live executions, the Colosseum also held mock sea battles where the active arena was filled with water and battles were enacted for the Roman spectators. It is still a cultural icon and was the most popular tourist attraction in the world in 2018, with 7.4 million visitors. Although the ruined interior is almost unusable, several artists have performed just outside with the structure as a backdrop, including Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, and Elton John.
7. Taj Mahal, India
A crown jewel in Mughal architecture, The Taj Mahal is located on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra. Famously known as a monument of love as it was built by the 17th-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal. The striking white marble and the curved dome are the most recognizable features of this marvel. Despite being shrouded in environmental damages and other controversies, Taj Mahal attracts more than 7 million visitors each year particularly in the winter months of October and November.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only surviving monument from the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and it was given honorary status in the New 7 Wonders list. Other nominees include the Eiffel Tower, Hagia Sophia, Statue of Liberty and Stonehenge in addition to many more.