The 7 Wonders of the Modern World

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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In classical times, the 7 wonders of the world were the artistic and historical architectural works considered most important by the Greeks and Romans. The "canonical" list included such majestic works as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pyramid of Giza.

On the occasion of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the New Open World Corporation (NOWC) launched a referendum via the internet to determine, after about 2.400 years, what were the new wonders of the world (or wonders of the modern world). The initiative was a huge success and after various skimmings and selections, the finalists were crowned seven years later, precisely on 7/07/07.

Even the only one of the "old" wonders still standing reached the final: the Great Pyramid of Giza, which however was excluded from the competition and elected "Honorary Wonder". Which were, therefore, the 7 finalists and winners? Here are the Wonders of the Modern World!


  1. Great Wall of China, China
  2. Petra, Jordan
  3. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro
  4. Machu Picchu, Cusco - Peru
  5. Chichén Itzá, Yucatàn - Mexico
  6. Colosseum, Rome - Italy
  7. Taj Mahal, Agra - India
  8. User questions and comments

1 - Great Wall of China, China

  • Type: Architectural good
  • Period of realization: 215 BC
  • UNESCO recognition: Well protected since 1987

Made in 215 BC, had the task of defending the Chinese territory from the invasions of the Mongols; failed attempt, given that the numerous doors present along the perimeter were too weak points strategically.
It measures 8.851,8 km, although according to recent estimates the real length would be 21.196,18 km.
It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

2 - Petra, Jordan

  • Type: Cultural Heritage - Archaeological Site
  • When it was made: The first settlements date back to the period between the end of the eighth and the beginning of the seventh century BC, the oldest monuments date back to 30 BC
  • UNESCO recognition: Well protected since 1985

It is an archaeological site, a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1985, with numerous facades carved into the rock corresponding to tombs.
Its unique and particular charm has also attracted directors who have chosen Petra as a set for some adventure and science fiction films, such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, or Trasformers - Revenge of the Fallen.
From the eastern entrance you can live a mystical experience, crossing a deep crack in the rocks (the Siq) until you reach a large open space that houses the so-called "Treasure of the Pharaoh", with a facade totally engraved on the rock.

3 - Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

  • Type: Cultural Asset - Statue
  • When it was made: 1931
  • UNESCO recognition: -

On top of Corcovado Mountain, 700 meters above sea level, is one of the most famous representations of Jesus Christ and symbol of the city.
Inaugurated quite recently, in 1931, the statue is 38 meters high (8 the base only), it is accessible via a railway line or, for the more daring, climbing 222 steps.

4 - Machu Picchu, Cusco - Peru

  • Type: Mixed - Archaeological Site
  • When it was made: Indicatively th century
  • UNESCO recognition: Well protected since 1983

The Lost City, one of the most mysterious places in the world, owned and created by one of the most enigmatic civilizations: the Incas.
Literally the "Old Mountain", it seems to have been built as the summer residence of the emperor Pachacùtec in 1440.
The Inca Trail, the Gate of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon, sacred and mystical places, views to roll your eyes: if this is not a wonder of the world ...!

5 - Chichén Itzá, Yucatàn - Mexico

  • Type: Cultural Heritage - Archaeological Site
  • When it was made: between the th and th centuries
  • UNESCO recognition: Well protected since 1988

If you thought Machu Picchu was mysterious ... then welcome to land of the Maya!
Chichén Itza is an archaeological complex covering an area of ​​3 square km. Literally "at the mouth of the well of the Itza", the latter are an ethnic group whose name means "Sorcerers of the water".
The flagship is definitely the Pyramid of Kukulcan, commonly called "El Castillo": here, during the spring and autumn equinoxes, a play of light at sunset casts a shadow in the shape of a feathered snake along the north staircase: who is the feathered snake? Just Kukulkcan!

6 - Colosseum, Rome - Italy

  • Type: Cultural Asset
  • When it was made: 72 AD (construction) - 80 AD (inauguration)
  • UNESCO recognition: Well protected since 1980

Welcome to Italy! The Bel Paese could not be missing, the nation with the highest concentration of wonders and works of art. The Colosseum in fact acts as a bit of a representative of Italy, and in the eyes of foreigners it is one of its most famous and recognized symbols.
The Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheater, is the largest amphitheater in the world, with a capacity of 50.000 spectators.
Built between 72 and 80 BC, it was used for various kinds of shows: Munera, fights between gladiators, Venationes, fights between animals, Noxii, execution of condemned by animals or other kinds.

7 - Taj Mahal, Agra - India

  • Type: Architectural - Funerary
  • When it was made: The works began in 1632 and ended in 1654 (22 years)
  • UNESCO awards: Well protected since 1983

It is a mausoleum erected by the emperor for his favorite wife.
Beyond the impressive architectural and creative beauty, its extraordinariness also lies in a particular aspect: in fact it always presents itself different according to the time of day: the lights game created by the marble that covers it entirely, together with the precious stones set in it, cover it with a pink, white or golden light, particularly suggestive especially at sunrise or sunset.
La perfect symmetry of the construction makes it almost surreal: it is even said that the emperor, upon completion of the work, cut off the hands of the workers and beheaded the designer so that the beauty of the Taj Mahal would never be equal in the world.

The other finalists ...

The following are the other wonders that reached the final but excluded from the "magnificent 7".

Pictures of the other finalists

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