7 New World Wonders

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum, Rome

100m people voted for the 7 New Wonders of the World

The campaign to choose the new seven biggies was launched by a Swiss foundation in 1999. Any money raised by the foundation will be used to recreate the giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan that were destroyed by the Taleban.

UNESCO, however, has rejected the new seven wonders concept as ‘neither democratic nor scientific since the wonders were voted for by the masses, with some countries vigorously encouraging citizens to vote for their indigenous wonders (notably Brazil and China) while other countries ignored the process completely.

Thus the Seven New Wonders of the World amazingly include the statue of Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Rome’s Colosseum (Italy). But not The Acropolis (Athens, Greece), Stonehenge (England), Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Easter Island‘s moai (Chile) or even the Great Pyramid of Giza (Cairo, Egypt), though in the latter case the foundation has made an exception and agreed to retain its heroic status as a special case.

7 Wonders chosen, with dark mutterings of political machinations

Taj Mahal and Yamuna River, Agra, India

Taj Mahal photo by Steve Evans.

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The extraordinary marble tomb of Shah Jahan’s wife, in a calm, rural setting around a river bend from Shah Jahan’s Red Fort makes a sensational day’s sightseeing. Best: October-March. Avoid: the summer (extreme heat).

The Great Wall (China)

The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling.

Great Wall of China at Jinshanling. Photo by Craig Nagy.

A truly magnificent and timeless piece of engineering, offering terrific walks too if you have the time.
Best: April-July, September, October. Avoid: winter.

Petra (Jordan)

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan.

An arid fairyland of temples and other monuments in multicoloured rock, unlike anything else on the planet. Best: March-June, September-November. Avoid: winter (cold) & summer (hot).

The statue of Christ Redeemer aka Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro night, Brazil

Cristo Redentor photo by Sampaio.

This is the most bizarre choice of wonders. There’s no question that Rio is a fascinating city in a stunning location and beautifully overlooked by the huge white Christ figure, but the statue is not truly monumental, nor is it especially well built.

Machu Picchu panorama, Peru

Machu Picchu. Photo by Martin St Amant.

An amazingly scenic and well and mysterious old city built by the Incas on a hilltop surrounded by virgin mountains. Best: April-June, September-November. OK July, Aug. (winter). Avoid: December-March (rain).

Chichen Itza Castillo pyramid, Yucatan, Mexico

Temple of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza, Mexico.

This atmospheric, jungle enveloped Maya city, displays the planet’s most perfect pyramid and other fascinating structures. Best: November-April. Avoid: May-October (rains).

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy (picture at top)

This theatre is certainly impressively big but hardly an outstanding piece of work. The world has many magnificent Roman amphitheatres – Syria, Greece, Tunisia and Turkey all have good examples, though less massive.

The Colosseum is also these days stuck with hideously inappropriate fencing and is poorly organised and displayed. Not a must-see though many of Rome’s other sights are more unique – The Pantheon, the Forum, varied fantastic monuments, churches, the Vatican. . .
Best: April-June and September-October. Avoid: the summer (extreme heat)

The Original Seven Wonders of the World

None still exist except the Great Pyramid.

The Great Pyramid is the oldest (built 2560–2540 BC) and the only of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing. It’s on the edge of the desert near Cairo. Best: October-May. Otherwise seriously hot.

The Originals:

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon; the statue of Zeus at Olympia; the temple of Artemis at Ephesus; the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes; the lighthouse of Alexandria; the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Pyramids on Giza plateau with Cairo in background, Egypt, Africa

Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt. Photo by Berthold Werner.

In spite of how it looks in the photo, the Great Pyramid – also known as Khufu’s or Cheops’ pyramid – is the one on the far right. The illusion is partly distance and partly the fact that Khafre’s pyramid in the middle has steeper sides and is built on higher land. The third large pyramid is Menkaure and the others are the little Pyramids of Queens.

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