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7 Wonders of the World
The seven wonders of the world is a very common phrase that we have been hearing since school days. Only the most remarkable and elaborate structures make it to the list of the wonders of the world. They also have a remarkable history following their names. Various lists of the wonders of the world have been compiled from forgotten times to the present day; these have been compiled to keep a record of and appreciate the splendid natural wonders and man-made structures. The seven wonders of the ancient world are the first known list of the most remarkable creations of the history.
The Greeks chose the number seven to represent the most remarkable structures in the world because according to their belief these were a representation of perfection. The other reason specific to the number seven is the number of the five planets known anciently and the sun and the moon.
The list of the seven wonders of the world has not been constant. As a matter of fact, the present seven wonders of the world are very different from the first ever generated list. Only one out of the ancient wonders survives!
- Colossus of Rhodes
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- Lighthouse of Alexandria
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Out of these the only ancient wonder of the world that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza. The classical seven wonders of the world are still the same. But since six out of the seven wonders don’t exist anymore, the authors have made a new list according to the present day observations. The new seven wonders of the world are as follows:
- Great Wall of China (China)
- Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janeiro)
- Machu Picchu (Peru)
- Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)
- The Roman Colosseum (Rome)
- Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
- Petra (Jordan)
The Great Pyramid of Giza is not on this list. The story behind it is that when the new list was to be made the Egyptians citizens were not happy that the Great Pyramid of Giza would have to compete against all the new entries since it was only surviving original wonder. Hence The Great Pyramid of Giza was made the honorary candidate.
Also Read: 7 Natural Wonders of the World
Great Wall of China (China)
The great wall of China is full of walls and fortifications that run for more than 13,000 miles in length. The Great Wall of China is present in northern China. Emperor Qin Shi Huang gives the ideology of this wonder. Time period dates around the third century B. C. The great wall of China was made to prevent incursions from barbarian nomads. Various parts of the wall have been destroyed due to natural calamities and wars. It was never able to prevent invaders from entering China effectively. It is also a powerful symbol of Chinese civilization’s enduring strength.
Between the 18th and 20th centuries, the Great Wall was also considered the most common emblem of China for the Western world. Citizens think of it as a physical and psychological representation of the barrier that the Chinese state maintains to repel foreign influences and exert control over its citizens. Over the years, roadways have been cut through the wall in various points and neglection has led to the deterioration of many sections over the centuries.
Fact: A surprising fact about the Great Wall of China is that the workers constructed the wall were mostly soldiers and convicts. Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Great Wall around 221 B.C. It is also an unknown fact that almost 400,000 people died during the wall’s construction. Some of these workers got buried within the wall itself.
Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janeiro)
The Christ, the Redeemer Statue, is a fascinating statue and it is towering 2,310 feet above the city of Rio. It is the fourth largest statue of Jesus Christ in the world; it is also the largest Art Deco-style sculpture on the planet. The Christ, the Redeemer Statue, is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Christ the Redeemer statue is not only a recognizable landmark of Rio, but it is also a cultural icon of Brazil. It also attracts millions of believers and non-believers to the top of Mount Corcovado every year. The statue was actually put together on top of Mount Corcovado. All the materials were transported up the mountain on a small cog-wheel train. There was a use of long poles for scaffolding during the construction phase.
The construction of this statue took nine years in total. Reinforced concrete is a very strong material which is good enough to support the statue and its wide-ranging wingspan design. 6 million stone tiles cover the statue. The stone tiles of the statue are now in a bad state because of rain and wind. In 2014 the back of the head of the statue was struck by lightning forcing Rio to make repairs.
There is a chapel at the base of the monument; you can actually marry someone beneath Christ the Redeemer. The monument can be seen as a cross or a big hug by the Christ!
Machu Picchu (Peru)
People often call Machu Picchu ” The lost city of the Incas.” It is the site of the remains of an ancient Inca city, high in the Andes of Peru. It is also the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The site is at a location which is 2430m high in altitude. This site receives over one million visitors per year. It is one of the New seven wonders of the world.
In Inca’s language, Machu Picchu means an old mountain. The language is also known as Quechua. Machu Picchu is a representation of the classical Inca style architecture. It is made of dry stone walls. Its three main structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. A remarkable feature that must be known is that the most significant parts or buildings have gone through reconstruction so that the tourists can understand the original structure. The timeline of Machu Picchu is around 1450–1460.
The division of the site is as follows: an urban sector and an agricultural sector. The division also includes an upper town and a lower town. The temples are in the upper town and the warehouses in the lower section. According to archeological findings, Machu Picchu is a “royal” estate. The findings state that there is no evidence of succession or passing on of the royal estate. It was only in use for approximately 80 years after which the rulers had to abandon it due to the destruction of the Spanish Conquests in other parts of the Inca Empire.
Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)
Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico is the ruins of a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the classic terminal period. The archaeological site is in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico. The site exhibits a good number of architectural styles, similar to styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the Northern Maya lowlands. The presence of all these non-Maya styles of architecture is because of cultural diffusion. Chichen Itza is also one of the largest Maya cities, and it is also taken as one of the mythical great cities. Over 2.6 million tourists went to Mexico to visit this historical site in 2017.
The Maya name “Chichen Itza” means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza. When you visit the site, you can see many fine stone buildings, and many have gone through a restoration process. A dense network of paved causeways connect the parts of the building together, and these are called sacbeob. Archaeologists have also identified over 80 sacbeob crisscrossing the site. These causeways also extend in all directions from the city.
The basic structure and important elements
There are many temples and pyramids present at Chichen Itza. The steps of the pyramids are very steep and small, and it is challenging to climb them, and due to further destruction, there is no legal permission to climb these pyramids. Most famous parts of Chichen Itza include:
El Castillo: El Castillo a large monument at Chichen Itza. It is dedicated to Kukulkan. Kukulkan is the Plumed Serpent. An amazing feature of this pyramid is that every year on the fall and spring. The sun hits the side of the building creating an illusion of shadow and light which looks like a snake.
The temple of the Warriors: This temple has a large number of columns surrounding it. Square columns are also present, these held up a roof once which isn’t there anymore. These columns have figures of warriors wearing feathers.
Great Ballcourt: This is a large ancient sports field in Central America. It is at 545 feet in length and 225 feet in width. The ballcourt also has an amazing sound effect. You can hear a whisper from one end on the other side as well.
The Roman Colosseum (Rome)
The Colosseum or Coliseum or Flavian Amphitheatre was built around 70-80 AD. It is an oval amphitheater in the center of the city of Rome, Italy. It is made of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete. The Colosseum is mainly famous because it is the largest amphitheater in the world. Hundreds and thousands of slaves worked hard to build this fantastic amphitheater. The Colosseum is present just east of the Roman Forum. According to archeological calculations the Colosseum can hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. It has an average audience of some 65,000. This intricate and elaborate building had 80 entrances.
Use: The Colosseum had many uses such as contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions. The events at the Colosseum were also very brutal. During certain games held by the emperors’ hundreds of animals were killed every single day. One of the major use of the Colosseum was for re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. It has been used for various purposes, at times it was a major marketplace for the people and for purposes such as housing, workshops. Other uses also include quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.
Velarium was built to protect the people from the sun and the warm environment of Rome. Velarium is an awning that could be pulled over the top of the seating area to provide shade. Below the Colosseum were numerous rooms and underground passages. The animals and prisoners were kept here, and the underground area of the Colosseum was a prison for criminals. They were bought up for fights. There were also 36 trap doors in the arena for special effects!
Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
The meaning of Taj Mahal is “Crown of the palace.” The period is 1632–53. It is an ivory white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, India. The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, is responsible for building this monument. He built this mausoleum for his wife’s tomb, Mumtaz Mahal. The imperial court documents Shah Jahan’s grief after the death of Mumtaz Mahal.
It illustrates the love story of Shah Jahn and Mumtaz Mahal and his eternal love held as the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal uses design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan loved art and architecture, and he was also a promoter of different styles of architecture as well. Buildings under his reign reached new levels of refinement.
The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture. The decorations are proportional in the Taj Mahal. The decorative elements that are present on the beautiful walls of this monument are paint, stucco, stone inlays or carvings. The beauty of this monumental experience is unexplainable. The whole image of the Taj Mahal built along the river bank looks like a dreamland in disguise, you might have to pinch yourself just to make sure you are in the real world.
Taj Mahal is a large, white marble structure. It stands on a square plinth. In simple words, taj mahal is a beautiful structure that holds the tombs of a king and his queen. There are four free-standing minarets at the corners of the monument, and these also add an unknown dimension to the Mughal architecture. The four minarets provide a kind of spatial reference to the monument but they also give a three-dimensional effect to the monument. The structure also has main marble dome, smaller domes, and it also has elaborate spires that extend from the edges of the base walls.
Petra is historical and it is also an archeological city on the south side of Jordan. It lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains. These form the eastern flank of Arabah valley that runs from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Its inhabitants also called Petra, Raqmu. Petra was the capital city of Nabataean Kingdom. The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs, and Petra was a major regional trading hub. Petra is undoubtedly a beautiful site, and even though there is no proper information on perta and its inhabitants, it is one of the most alluring sites in Jordan. Petra is also Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums cover the remains of the city.
Entrance to the city is through the Siq. It is a narrow gorge, and it is 1km in length, which also has 80m high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an exhilarating experience in itself. You will also need at least four or five days to really explore everything here. Petra is truly a beautiful site to visit; the rock-cut structures blend in with the background naturally. It also has tombs with intricate designs that don’t match any other form of house design. Petra also has entertainment grounds like the Roman-style amphitheater.
27 sites in Petra are now available on Google Street View. In 2016, archaeologists also discovered an unknown monument buried under the deep sands of Petra. Hence, it is an archeological site of great importance.