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People love makings lists of the "best", the "biggest", the "oldest", and things that you have to see. The ancients were no different for they compiled a list that became known as the "The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". The list did not include natural features like waterfalls or gorges: It was to highlight only those things constructed by humans.

 

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World:

Although most people know that a list exists of the Seven World Wonders, only few can name them. The list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was originally compiled around the 2nd century BCE. The first reference to the idea is found in History of Herodotus as long ago as the 5th century BCE. Decades later, Greek historians wrote about the greatest monuments at the time. Callimachus of Cyrene (305 BCE-240 BCE), Chief Librarian at Alexandria, wrote "A Collection of Wonders around the World". All we know about the collection is its title, for it was destroyed with the Alexandria Library.

The final list of the Seven Wonders was compiled during the Middle Ages. The list comprised the seven most impressive monuments of the Ancient World, some of which barely survived to the Middle Ages. Others did not even co-exist. Among the oldest references to the canonical list are the engravings by the Dutch artist Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), and Johann Fischer von Erlach's History of Architecture.

Today, archaeological evidence reveals some of the mysteries that surrounded the history of the Wonders for centuries. For their builders, the Seven Wonders were a celebration of religion, mythology, art, power, and science. For us, they reflect the ability of humans to change the surrounding landscape by building massive yet beautiful structures, one of which stood the test of time to this very day.

The 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

The Historic List of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World:

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The Colossus of Rhodes

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The Great Pyramid of Giza

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The Lighthouse (Pharos) of Alexandria

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The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

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The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

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The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

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The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Of these, only the Pyramids and a piece of the Temple at Ephesus are visible today.

 

 

Seven Wonders of the Modern World:

In order to make the listing of wonders more current and approachable, an international organization created a New Seven Wonders of the World. From some 200 nominations worldwide, it reduced its list of candidates to these 21 (7 * 3) places:

                        21 Candidates for the 7 Wonders of the Modern World

Top Row (L-R:) Acropolis, Alhambra,  Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza, Christ the Redeemer, Colosseum, Easter Island
Middle Row:   Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China, Aya Sofia, Kiyomizu Temple, St Basil's, Machu Picchu, Neuschwanstein Castle
Bottom Row:  Petra, Pyramids of Giza, Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge, Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, Timbuktu

Its website is  http://www.new7wonders.com/   and it accepted votes until 07.07.07 (three 7s). This list contained only those places
that are visible today. It included:

Wonder I've Been There Pictures Posted

The Acropolis at Athens, Greece

Yes no

The Alhambra, Grenada, Spain

Yes Spain & Portugal
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy Yes Italy
Easter Island No  

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Yes England & France

The Great Wall of China

Yes China

The Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Yes Turkey
St. Basil's Cathedral Yes Russia

Machu Picchu, Peru

Yes Machu Picchu

Petra, Jordan

Yes no

The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Yes Egypt
The Statue of Liberty, New York, USA Yes New York City

Stonehenge, Salisbury, England

Yes England & France
Sydney Opera House Yes Australia

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Yes Taj Mahal
Timbuktu No  

In 2007, I voted for the Taj Mahal:

Voting Certificate from the New 7 Wonders of the World

 

The new list was revealed on 07/07/07. In addition to the Pyramids of Giza, the new listing is:

 

 

Other Lists:

bulletA very thorough listing of 100 wonders is at   http://www.hillmanwonders.com/     
This list if more comprehensive than any listing that contains seven items, but it includes natural phenomena (for example,
The Great Barrier Reef, The Grand Canyon, the Fjords of Norway). That said, the list (which is printable) allows for some good
travel information and travel ideas.
 
bulletUNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has identified as cultural heritages sites considered to be of outstanding value to all of humanity.
The listing of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is http://whc.unesco.org/en/list.

 

Books:

There are thousands of books that offer lists of places to see and things to do.

As a travel guide, we enjoy and use "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" by Patricia Schultz.

 Book: 1,000 Places to See Before You Die

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