Angkor Wat

Alternative Seven Wonders Of The World

The Seven Wonders of the World, describes seven great constructions known in the Hellenistic period – that’s why they are also known as the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. In fact, in the Hellenistic era, each famous traveler had his own version of the list, but the best known and earliest surviving was from a poem by Greek-speaking epigrammist Antipater of Sidon, which he described in a poem composed about 140 BC:

“I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Sun, and the huge labor of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.'”

But, in fact, all seven wonders of the world existed at the same time for a period of less than 60 years. And now, only the Great Pyramid of Giza still in existence. All the others somehow gone.

If Antipater of Sidon was living in the more recent times, say 19th century, he probably would prepare a very different list. Here are the alternative seven wonders of the world that still exist today (with the images and videos):

7. Mont Saint-Michel of France

Mont Saint-Michel (July 2011)
Mont Saint-Michel (July 2011). Photo: wikipedia

Le Mont-Saint-Michel (English: Saint Michael’s Mount) is an island commune in Normandy, France. It is located about one kilometer (0.6 miles) off the country’s northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 100 hectares (247 acres) in size. One of France’s most recognizable landmarks, visited by more than 3 million people each year, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as monuments historiques (historical monuments).

The map of Mont Saint Michel:

6. Hagia Sophia of Turkey

Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

Constructed in 537 AD, the Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome (102 feet/31.09 meters in diameter and 184 feet/56.08 meters in height), it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture”. It remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

The map of Hagia Sophia:

5. St. Peter’s Basilica of Vatican

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica from ponte Umberto I, on the Tiber. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. Photo: wikipedia

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s Basilica is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world.

The map of St. Peter’s Basilica:

4. Taj Mahal of India

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”, the Taj Mahal (Persian for Crown of Palaces) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

The map of Taj Mahal:

3. Meteora Suspended Rock Monasteries of Greece

Meteora Monasteries
Meteora Monasteries

Included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Metéora (literally means “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” — etymologically related to meteorology) is a formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills like huge rounded boulders dominate the local area. It is also associated with one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece.

In the 9th century AD, an ascetic group of hermit monks moved up to the ancient pinnacles; they were the first people to inhabit Metéora since the Neolithic Era. They lived in hollows and fissures in the rock towers, some as high as 1800 ft (550 meters) above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors.

At the end of the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire’s 800-year reign over northern Greece was being increasingly threatened by Turkish raiders who wanted control over the fertile plain of Thessaly. The hermit monks, seeking a retreat from the expanding Turkish occupation, found the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora to be an ideal refuge. More than 20 monasteries were built, beginning in the 14th century. Six remain today.

The map of Meteora:

2. Sigiriya Rock Fortress of Sri Lanka

Sigiriya
Sigiriya

Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. The most visited historic site in Sri Lanka, Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site.

The map of Sigiriya:

1. Angkor Wat of Cambodia

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat. Photo: mostamazingplaces.net

Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world, with the site measuring 162.6 hectares (1,626,000 m2; 402 acres). It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple toward the end of the 12th century. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.

The map of Angkor Wat:

Sources

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