Wonders of the World  

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Western face of the Parthenon, technically not one of the wonders of the world
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Western face of the Parthenon, technically not one of the wonders of the world

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled over the ages to catalogue the most spectacular man-made constructions and natural things in the world.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable man-made creations of classical antiquity, and was based on guide-books popular among Hellenic sight-seers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it to be the representation of perfection and plenty.

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Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The historian Herodotus (484 – ca. 425 BCE), and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene (ca. 305 – 240 BCE) at the Museum of Alexandria, made early lists of Seven wonders but their writings have not survived, except as references. The seven wonders included:

The earliest lists had the Ishtar Gate as the seventh wonder of the world instead of the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

The Greek category was not Wonders but thaumata (Template:Lang-gr), which translates closer to "things to be seen". The list that we know today was compiled in the Middle Ages—by which time many of the sites were no longer in existence. Today, the only ancient world wonder that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Wonders of the Medieval World

Many lists of wonders of the world are said to have existed during the Middle Ages, although it is unlikely that these lists originated at that time because the word medieval was not even invented until the Enlightenment-era, and the concept of a Middle Age did not become popular until the 16th century. Brewer's refers to them as "later list[s]" suggesting the lists were created after the Middle Ages.

Many of the structures on these lists were built much earlier than the Medieval Ages, but were well known. These lists go by names such as Wonders of the Middle Ages (implying no specific limitation to seven), Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages, Medieval Mind and Architectural Wonders of the Middle Ages.

Typically representative are:

Other sites sometimes included on such lists:

Wonders of the modern world

Many lists have been made of the greatest structures built during modern times or of the greatest wonders existing today. Some of the most notable lists are presented below.

American Society of Civil Engineers

The American Society of Civil Engineers compiled a list of wonders of the modern world:

WonderDate startedDate finishedLocation
Channel Tunnel December 1, 1987 May 6, 1994 Strait of Dover, between the United Kingdom and France
CN Tower February 6, 1973 June 26, 1976, tallest freestanding structure in the world 1976–2007. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Empire State Building January 22, 1930 May 1, 1931, Tallest structure in the world 1931–1967. First building with 100+ stories. New York, NY, U.S.
Golden Gate Bridge January 5, 1933 May 27, 1937 Golden Gate Strait, north of San Francisco, California, U.S.
Itaipu Dam January 1970 May 5, 1984 Paraná River, between Brazil and Paraguay
Delta Works/ Zuiderzee Works 1950 May 10, 1997 Netherlands
Panama Canal January 1, 1880 January 7, 1914 Isthmus of Panama

New7Wonders Foundation's seven wonders of the world

New Seven Wonders of the World

In 2001 an initiative was started by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation to choose the New Seven Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments for profit. Twenty-one finalists were announced January 1, 2006. Egypt was not happy with the fact that the only original wonder would have to compete with the likes of the Statue of Liberty, the Sydney Opera House, and other landmarks; and called the project absurd. To solve this, Giza was named an honorary Candidate.

The results were announced on July 7, 2007:

Wonder Date of construction Location
Great Wall of China 5th century BCE – 16th century CE China
Petra c.100 BCE Jordan
Christ the Redeemer Opened 12 October 1931 Brazil
Machu Picchu c.1450 CE Peru
Chichen Itza c.600 CE Mexico
Colosseum Completed 80 CE Italy
Taj Mahal Completed c.1648 CE India
Great Pyramid of Giza (Honorary Candidate) Completed c.2560 BCE Egypt

USA Today's New Seven Wonders

In November 2006 the American national newspaper USA Today in conjunction with the American television show Good Morning America revealed a list of New Seven Wonders as chosen by six judges. The wonders were announced one per day over a week on Good Morning America. An eighth wonder was chosen on November 24, 2006 from viewer feedback.

Number Wonder Location
1 Potala Palace Lhasa, Tibet, China
2 Old City of Jerusalem Jerusalem
3 Polar ice caps Polar regions
4 Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Hawaii, United States
5 Internet Earth
6 Maya ruins Yucatán Peninsula, México
7 Great Migration of Serengeti and Masai Mara Tanzania and Kenya
8 Grand Canyon (viewer-chosen eighth wonder) Arizona, United States

Seven Natural Wonders of the World

Similar to the other lists of wonders, there is no consensus on a list of seven natural wonders of the world, as there has been debate over how large the list should be. One of the many lists was compiled by CNN:

New7Wonders of Nature is a contemporary effort to create a list of seven natural wonders chosen by people through a global poll, organized by New Open World Corporation (NOWC), which ran the New Seven Wonders of the World campaign.

Seven Natural Wonders: is a not for profit endeavour created to protect the seven natural wonders that have already been established.

Seven Wonders of the Underwater World

The Seven Underwater Wonders of the World was a list drawn up by CEDAM International, an American-based non-profit group for divers, dedicated to ocean preservation and research.

In 1989 CEDAM brought together a panel of marine scientists, including Dr. Eugenie Clark, to pick underwater areas which they considered to be worthy of protection. The results were announced at The National Aquarium in Washington DC by actor Lloyd Bridges, star of TV's Sea Hunt:

Seven Wonders of the Industrial World

British author Deborah Cadbury wrote Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, a book telling the stories of seven great feats of engineering of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 2003 the BBC made a seven-part documentary series on the book, with each episode dramatising the construction one of the wonders. The seven industrial wonders are:

Travel wonders of the world

Travel writer Howard Hillman is one of many who have compiled lists of the top man-made tourist travel wonders of the world:

Man-made travel wonders

  1. Giza pyramid complex
  2. Great Wall of China
  3. Taj Mahal
  4. Machu Picchu
  5. Bali
  6. Angkor Wat
  7. Forbidden City
  8. Bagan Temples and Pagodas
  9. Karnak Temple
  10. Teotihuacán

Natural travel wonders

  1. Serengeti Migration
  2. Galápagos Islands
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Antarctica
  5. Iguazu Falls
  6. Amazon Rainforest
  7. Ngorongoro Crater
  8. Great Barrier Reef
  9. Victoria Falls
  10. Bora Bora

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wonders of the World" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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