Discover the New 7 Wonders of the World

Written by Eliana Riley
Published: December 2, 2023
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Key Points

  • The New Seven Wonders of the World replaced the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as most of the ancient wonders were destroyed.
  • The adoption of the New Seven Wonders of the World allowed for the inclusion of structures from the Western Hemisphere, such as Machu Picchu in Peru.
  • The New Seven Wonders remain top tourist destinations, receiving millions of visitors every year.

Overview of the New 7 Wonders

In 2000, the New7Wonders Foundation created a project that would decide which man-made structures would replace the former Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. After all, only one ancient wonder was still standing: The Great Pyramid of Giza. In 2007, over 100 million people voted on which man-made phenomena would comprise the New Seven Wonders of the World. While most of the ancient world wonders were based in countries like Turkey and Egypt, the new seven wonders expanded possibilities, allowing for the adoption of structures in places like South America and China.

Petra

Stunning view from a cave of the Ad Deir - Monastery in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan: Incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The name “Petra” derives from the Greek language, where “petra” means “rock.”

©tenkl/Shutterstock.com

Although considered a new wonder, Petra is an ancient city located in the country of Jordan. Jordan is found in the Middle East, bordered by countries like Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The name “Petra” derives from the Greek language, where “petra” means “rock.” The city lies in a valley flanked by high cliffs made of sandstone, and the Nabataean people group carved the city’s structures and buildings into this sandstone.

The ancient city was controlled by the Nabataeans and served as their capital city. Additionally, Petra acted as an important center of the spice trade, and the population of the city is estimated to have numbered between 10,000 and 30,000. Petra was adopted onto the list of the world’s new seven wonders due to its unique architecture and cultural history. The stunning architecture at Petra makes the city one of the most popular tourist sites in the region, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru.

Machu Picchu lies in Peru, around 50 miles from the city of Cuzco.

©SCStock/iStock via Getty Images

The ancient city of Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, around 50 miles northwest of the city of Cuzco. The site includes ancient ruins dating back to the Inca Empire. Some believe that Europeans discovered Machu Picchu as early as the 1860s. However, others argue that the ruins were found by Hiram Bingham, a professor at Yale University, in 1911. Bingham led the excavation of Machu Picchu in 1915, and other archeologists leading new excavations took the reins from Bingham during the 1930s and 1940s.

Archeological findings suggest that Machu Picchu was constructed during the mid-15th or mid-16th century. Many people have speculated about Machu Picchu’s purpose. Some say that the site served as a palace for an Incan ruler while others contend that Machu Picchu was an oasis for a group called the Virgins of the Sun. However, most people agree that Machu Picchu was once a getaway for the ultra-wealthy and royals of the Inca Empire.

Colosseum

Colosseum in Rome at sunrise, Italy, Europe.

The Roman Colosseum is particularly impressive because it is a free-standing amphitheater.

©prochasson frederic/Shutterstock.com

The Roman Colosseum is a massive arena and amphitheater in Rome, Italy. The architecture of the Colosseum is particularly impressive, as it is a free-standing structure. During ancient times, most amphitheaters were built into hillsides for support. However, the Colosseum was an incredible feat, standing on its own and able to seat around 50,000 people.

Some events held inside the Colosseum included gladiator battles and fights between people and animals. Many people believe that Christians were killed inside the Colosseum as a form of entertainment, as Christians were often persecuted by the Roman Empire. However, experts are unsure whether the slaughtering of Christians took place within the Colosseum. Nevertheless, the impressive structure was the site of various events, both thrilling and horrifying, during the height of the Roman Empire. Today, the Colosseum stands as a reminder of Roman culture and innovation and remains impressive even when compared to modern structures.

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China remains one of the largest man-made construction projects ever.

©iStock.com/SeanPavonePhoto

The Great Wall of China is a massive, 13,171-mile-long wall that stretches from Shanhaiguan in Hebei province to Jiayuguan in Gansu province in China. The wall’s construction began around the 7th century B.C. as a form of defense by the state of Chu. The wall was not built quickly nor continuously. Rather, several sections of the Great Wall of China were built independently from one another, and the wall took more than 2,000 years to build.

Additionally, the Great Wall of China features various fortifications, including watch towers and barracks. After all, the wall’s purpose was for defense, so certain fortifications were needed to support military personnel. Today, the Great Wall of China remains one of the largest construction projects ever completed by man, making it worthy of its designation as a new wonder of the world. Finally, more than 10 million tourists visit the Great Wall of China every year.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

Emperor Shah Jahān dedicated the white marble mausoleum to his late wife Mumtaz Mahal.

©YURY TARANIK/Shutterstock.com

Located in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, India, the Taj Mahal is a massive mausoleum built by emperor Shah Jahān during the 17th century. Jahān dedicated the structure to his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. Construction on the Taj Mahal began in 1632 and was completed between 1638 and 1639. However, decorations and the addition of other features prolonged work on the Taj Mahal until around 1654.

Over 20,000 people worked on the Taj Mahal, coming from all over the Eastern world to complete the mausoleum. Furthermore, the Taj Mahal was constructed from white marble, giving it a unique and beautiful appearance. A shallow reflecting pool was featured at the forefront of the mausoleum, enhancing its beauty. Today, the Taj Mahal is a prime spot for tourism, receiving between seven and eight million visitors every year.

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil

The statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooks Rio de Janeiro on Mount Corcovado in Brazil.

©iStock.com/ValterCunha

Christ the Redeemer is the name of a 98-foot-tall statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue confidently stands on Mount Corcovado, overlooking the city with outstretched arms that span 92 feet. The base for the statue was laid in 1922, and construction on Christ the Redeemer began four years later. The sculpture was officially completed and dedicated in 1931.

Furthermore, various renovations have taken place at Christ the Redeemer. For one, the statue was cleaned and repaired in both 1980 and 2010. In 2002, escalators and elevators helped tourists reach the statue, as some visitors found the 200-step climb to Christ the Redeemer challenging. Finally, approximately two million people visit Christ the Redeemer every year, and the statue sees increased visitation during traditional Christian holidays, such as Easter.

Chichén Itzá

El Castillo features 365 steps divided among its four sides, reflecting the 365 days of the year.

©Mariordo /CC BY-SA 3.0 - License

Chichén Itzá is the site of an ancient Mayan ruins. The city covers approximately four square miles and resides in the state of Yucatán, Mexico. Scholars estimate that around 35,000 people once lived in Chichén Itzá. Additionally, the city was likely established during the 6th century A.D. by the Mayans. The term “Itzá” derives from the people group that settled in Chichén following its founding, the Itzá tribe.

Perhaps the most fascinating structure on-site at Chichén Itzá is El Castillo, meaning “the castle.” El Castillo is a massive pyramid measuring between 79 and 98 feet tall. One interesting fact about El Castillo is that it features 365 steps, reflecting the 365 days of the calendar year. Other features at Chichén Itzá include a ball court and the Temple of Warriors. Today, Chichén Itzá receives around two million visitors every year.

Are There Other Seven Wonders of the World?

The New7Wonders Foundation also recognizes the New Seven Wonders of Nature, acknowledging the wonder of natural beauty alongside man-made structures. More than 500 million votes elected the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Examples of some wonders of nature include Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Table Mountain in South Africa, and Komodo Island.

Komodo dragon is on the ground. Interesting perspective. The low point shooting. Indonesia. Komodo National Park. An excellent illustration.

Komodo Island, famous for its large population of Komodo dragons, is a new wonder of nature.

©GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock.com

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Don Mammoser/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Eliana Riley is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on geography, travel, and landmarks. Eliana is a second-year student at Miami University majoring in English Education and Spanish. A resident of Tennessee and Ohio, Eliana enjoys traveling to national and state parks, hiking, kayaking, and camping.

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