The original seven wonders of the world were replaced after a campaign in the year 2000 launched by a Swiss foundation. They deemed it time for an update because the original seven wonders of the world were no longer standing – all except Giza’s pyramids. People worldwide agreed with this as more than 100 million votes were cast on the Internet or via text messages.
The final results were released in 2007, and while many cheered, many also jeered the results as several very prominent contenders like Athen’s Acropolis did not make the list.
- Great Wall of China
When describing the Wall of China, even a word has encompassing as ‘great’ seems to be an understatement. The Great Wall of China is commonly believed to be about 5,500 miles (8,850 km) long, one of the world’s largest building-construction projects; a controversial Chinese report, however, suggests that the length is 13,170 miles (21,200 km).
In the 7th century BCE, building started and lasted for two millennia. While called a “wall,” two parallel walls for long stretches actually feature the structure. Watchtowers and barracks dot the bulwark, also. However, one part of the wall that isn’t great was its quality. While the wall was designed to deter invasions and raids, it ultimately failed to provide real protection. Instead, researchers have found that it acted more as “political propaganda.”
- Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is a Mayan city that flourished in the 9th and 10th centuries CE, on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Under the Itzá Mayan tribe, which was highly influenced by the Toltecs, several significant monuments and temples were constructed. The stepped pyramid El Castillo (‘The Castle’) is among the most prominent, rising 79 feet (24 meters) above the Main Plaza. A testimony to the Mayans’ astronomical expertise, the system has a total of 365 steps, the number of days in the solar year.
The setting sun casts shadows on the pyramid during the spring and autumnal equinoxes, giving the impression of a serpent slithering down the north stairway; the head of a stone snake is at the base. It was not all work and science there, however. Chichén Itzá is also home to the largest tlachtli (a type of sporting field) in the Americas. The residents played a ritual ball game popular throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica on that field.
In a remote valley, among sandstone mountains and cliffs, the ancient city of Petra, Jordan, is located. It was said to be one of the locations where a rock was hit by Moses and water gushed out. The Nabataeans, an Arab tribe, later made it their capital, and it flourished during this period, becoming an important center of trade, particularly for spices. The Nabataeans chiseled houses, temples, and tombs into the sandstone, which with the changing sun changed color, noted carvers. Furthermore, they developed a water system that created lush gardens and farming.
Petra reportedly had a population of 30,000 at its height. However, the city began to decline as trade routes changed. A large earthquake in 363 CE triggered more difficulty and Petra was eventually abandoned after another tremor struck in 551. While rediscovered in 1912, it was largely overlooked until the late 20th century by archaeologists, and many questions about the city remain.
- Machu Picchu
In 1911, Hiram Bingham stumbled upon this Incan site near Cuzco, Peru. He believed what he found was Vilcabamba, a hidden Incan stronghold used during the 16th-century revolt against Spanish rule. Machu Picchu’s intent has confounded scholars, although that argument was later disproved, Bingham claimed the “Virgins of the Sun,” women who lived under a vow of chastity in convents, were home to it. Others say it was actually a pilgrimage site, although others claim it was a royal retreat.
What is known is that one of the few large pre-Columbian ruins found almost intact is Machu Picchu. Its features include agricultural terraces, plazas, residential areas, and temples, despite its relative isolation high in the Andes Mountains.
- Christ the Redeemer
A giant statue of Jesus; Christ the Redeemer is located atop Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. Its roots date to just after the First World War when a “tide of godlessness” was feared by some Brazilians. They suggested a statue, which was eventually modeled by Heitor da Silva Costa, Carlos Oswald, and Paul Landowski. Construction started in 1926 and ended five years later. The resulting monument stands 98 feet (30 meters) high, and its outstretched arms extend 92 feet, not including its base, which is about 26 feet (8 meters) high (28 meters).
It is the world’s largest Art Deco sculpture. The Redeemer Christ is made of reinforced concrete and is covered with around six million tiles. The statue has also been hit by lightning, and in 2014 the tip of Jesus’ right thumb was damaged during a storm.
- The Colosseum
In the first century, the Colosseum in Rome was founded by the order of Emperor Vespasian. The amphitheater, a feat of engineering, measures 620 by 513 feet (189 by 156 meters) and features a complex vault structure. It was able to accommodate 50,000 spectators who were watching a series of activities. Perhaps the most notable was gladiator battles, although it was also popular for men to battle animals.
Moreover, for mock naval engagements, water was often pumped into the Colosseum. However, the assumption that Christians were martyred there, namely by being thrown into lions, is debated. According to some reports, the Colosseum was the place of death of around 500,000 people. Furthermore, there were so many animals captured and then killed that some species reportedly became extinct due to these sporting activities.
- Taj Mahal
This Indian mausoleum complex in Agra is considered to be one of the most famous monuments in the world and is arguably the finest example of Mughal architecture. It was designed to honor his wife Mumtāz Mahal (‘Chosen One of the Palace’), who died in 1631, giving birth to their 14th child, by Emperor Shah Jahān (ruled 1628-58). Constructing the complex, which includes an immense garden with a reflecting pool, took about 22 years and 20,000 workers.
The mausoleum is made of white marble with geometric and floral patterns designed on semiprecious stones that feature. Four smaller domes surround its majestic central dome. Shah Jahān decided to have his own mausoleum made of black marble, according to some sources. Before any work started, however, he was removed by one of his sons.
The 8th wonder of the world refers to anything that sparks wonder and amazement comparable to one of these, and that is where that phrase came from, and it has confused people sometimes to think that there are 8 wonders.