None of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (also known as the Seven Wonders of the World) except the Great Pyramid of Giza (Kheops Pyramid) exist today. In fact, all the “seven wonders of the ancient world” existed at the same time for a period of fewer than 60 years (see their timeline below). That’s why a campaign started in 2000 to choose Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments: New Seven Wonders of the World (New7Wonders of the World).

A timeline of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The New Seven Wonders of the World campaign was organized by the New 7 Wonders Foundation (N7W) based in Zurich, Switzerland. The winners were selected by Web-based voting and small amounts of telephone voting. Here are the winners:

New Seven Wonders of the World

1. Great Wall of China

New Seven Wonders of the World: Great Wall of China
New Seven Wonders of the World: The Great Wall of China. Photo: Wikipedia

The construction of the Great Wall of China started s early as the 7th century BC, but most well-known sections were built by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

“The Wall” stretches from Dandong in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi).

This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches, and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measures out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi).

2. Petra, Jordan

New Seven Wonders of the World: : Petra, Jordan
New Seven Wonders of the World: Petra, Jordan

Petra, originally known to its inhabitants as Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. Petra lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah valley that run from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. According to Hieronymus of Cardia, the name “Petra” was given by Greek merchants, who observed the city’s inhabitants offering sacrifice, in springtime, to a deity on a large stone, i.e. petra.

Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who invested in Petra’s proximity to the trade routes by establishing it as a major regional trading hub. Petra is also known as the ‘Rose-Red City’ that offers you a soul-touching site at dawn because of the pink cut-rock spread across the area. Petra was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom.

The remarkable carving skills of the ancients are visible through the tombs and temples that have been carved into the pink sandstone. After passing through a narrow canyon of Al-Siq, you will be astonished at the view of Al-Khazneh, a masterfully carved royal tomb built by Nabataeans around 2,000 years ago.

Most of the royal tomb building has fallen, but the remaining facades and vast amphitheater testify the expertise and sophistication of early Arab settlers.

Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

3. Colosseum (Rome, Italy)

New Seven Wonders of the World: Colosseum in 2020
New Seven Wonders of the World: Colosseum in 2020. By FeaturedPics – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The Colosseum is the largest ancient amphitheater ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, despite its age. It could hold an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 spectators (average: 65,000) at various points of its history over the centuries. It is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome.

The construction of the Colosseum began under the emperor Vespasian (r. 69-79 AD) in 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus (r. 79-81). Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (r. 81-96).

4. Chichen Itza (Mexico)

New Seven Wonders of the World:  El Castillo, Chichen Itza
New Seven Wonders of the World: El Castillo (Spanish for “the castle”), also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, is a Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán. Photo: Wikipedia

A large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people, Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic (c. AD 600-900) through the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800-900) and into the early portion of the Postclassic period (c. AD 900-1200).

With over 2.6 million tourists in 2017, it is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico, and in the world as well.

5. Machu Picchu (Peru)

New Seven Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu
New Seven Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu. Photo: PXHere

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel, located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a 2,430-meter (7,970 feet) mountain ridge.

Most archaeologists think that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1472). It is the most familiar symbol of Inca civilization, often erroneously referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas”.

The Incas built the estate around 1450, but they abandoned it a century later, at the time of the Spanish conquest While locally known, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial era and remained unknown to the outside world until it was brought to international attention by the American historian Hiram Bingham (November 19, 1875 – June 6, 1956) in 1911. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

6. Taj Mahal (India)

Taj Mahal
New Seven Wonders of the World: 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.

7. Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)

New Seven Wonders of the World: Christ the Redeemer
New Seven Wonders of the World: Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco (see notes 1) statue of Jesus Christ in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, created by Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski (1 June 1875 – 31 March 1961) and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa (25 July 1873 – 21 April 1947), in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot (1 July 1881 – 28 November 1976).

Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida (1892/93-1942) fashioned the face. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30 meters (98 feet) high, excluding its 8-meter (26 feet) pedestal. The arms stretch 28 meters (92 feet) wide.

The statue weighs 635 metric tons (625 long, 700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-meter (2,300 feet) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro.

A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.

Other finalists of the New Seven Wonders of the World campaign

The other 13 finalists of the New Seven Wonders of the World campaign, chronologically were:

  1. Stonehenge – Amesbury, United Kingdom – 2400 BC
  2. Acropolis of Athens – Athens, Greece – 447 BC
  3. Hagia Sophia – İstanbul, Turkey – 537
  4. Angkor Wat – Angkor, Cambodia – 1113
  5. Moai – Easter Island, Chile – 1250
  6. Timbuktu – Timbuktu, Mali – – 1327
  7. Alhambra – Granada, Spain – 1333
  8. Red Square – Moscow, Russia – 1561
  9. Kiyomizu-dera – Kyoto, Japan – 1633
  10. Neuschwanstein – Füssen, Germany – 1869
  11. Statue of Liberty – New York City, United States – 1886
  12. Eiffel Tower – Paris, France – 1887
  13. Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia – 1959

Notes

  1. Art Deco, also called style moderne, is a style of visual arts, architecture, and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco design represented modernism turned into fashion. Its products included both individually crafted luxury items and mass-produced wares, but, in either case, the intention was to create a sleek and anti-traditional elegance that symbolized wealth and sophistication.

Sources

M. Özgür Nevres

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