A phrase that goes around a lot in the travel community is the ‘7 wonders of the world’. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly hearing people refer to different monuments and structures as one of these ‘wonders’. I even see people referring to sites that haven’t made the list as the ‘8th wonder’ (such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia)! Well, it turns out there are different categories…
7 Natural Wonders of the World
- MOUNT EVEREST
The highest point on earth, the summit of Everest stands at 8,848m above sea level, on the border between Tibet and Nepal, and is protected by Sagarmatha National Park in the Himalayas.
- GREAT BARRIER REEF
The 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands making up the Great Barrier Reef are protected by the GBR Marine Park and listed as a World Heritage Area, but is currently dying due to mass irresponsible tourism.
- VICTORIA FALLS
Plunging 108m down and sitting 1.7km across, Victoria Falls perches on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- GUANABARA BAY, HARBOUR OF RIO DE JANEIRO
This iconic bay is famous for its Christ the Redeemer statue perched atop the huge granite mountains.
- GRAND CANYON
One of the USA’s most famous landmarks, the Grand Canyon stretches 446km through Arizona and is a popular hiking destination.
- AURORA BOREALIS
The Northern Lights have entranced humans for centuries, with its vivid swirling colours and mysterious mythological legends.
- PPARICUTIN VOLCANO
The newest and only volcano to ever emerge with eyewitnesses, Paricutin volcano in southern Mexico surged out of a cornfield in 1943 and has lain dormant since 1952.
7 New Wonders of the World
- TAJ MAHAL, INDIA
This beautiful structure is symbolic of India. While it looks like a grand palace, it is actually a mausoleum commissioned in 1632 by the Mughul Emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his beloved wife.
- GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Stretching over 13,000 miles, the Great Wall is a series of fortifications built by various Emperors to keep out unwanted nomadic groups. It was started as early as the 7th century BC and continued to grow until the 17th century AD.
- COLOSSEUM, ITALY
The only world wonder I’ve actually visited myself! The centre of the Roman world, the Colosseum symbolises one of the biggest and most successful empires the world has ever seen. The archaeologist in me loves this kind of monument!
- MACHU PICCHU, PERU
This 15th century Inca citadel is perched high in the Andes; its exact former use and much of the Inca history still remain a mystery today.
- CHICHEN ITZA, MEXICO
One of the largest ancient Mayan cities, Chichen Itza is believed to have been built around 600 AD and abandoned only a few centuries later, making it another American civilisation shrouded in mystery.
- PETRA, JORDAN
Once the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom, Petra is a 45m-high temple with an ornate Greek-style facade. It is known today as the ‘Rose City’ due to its striking colour.
- CHRIST THE REDEEMER, BRAZIL
A symbol of Christianity around the world, Christ the Redeemer is perched atop Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Constructed in the 1920s, it measures 30m high, and 28m wide.
7 Ancient Wonders of the World
The 7 wonders of the ancient world are a collection of structures and monuments which were built and held significance throughout classical antiquity. The Greek conquest of the western world throughout the 5th century BC gave Hellenistic travellers insight into Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian and Phoenician life. Almost all of the monuments were destroyed.
- THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA, EGYPT
The largest of the three pyramids in the Giza complex, the Great Pyramid is believed to have been built as a tomb for a Pharaoh around 2560 BC. At 481 feet, it was the largest man-made structure in the world for over 3,000 years until Lincoln Cathedral was completed in 1311 AD. And no, the pyramids were not built by aliens.
- LIGHTHOUSE OF ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT
Built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the 3rd century BC, the Lighthouse was a significant landmark and an incredible feat at the time, before its destruction and abandonment following a series of earthquakes.
- STATUE OF ZEUS AT OLYMPIA, GREECE
The statue of Zeus was a giant seated figure made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC.
- HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON, IRAQ
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were fabled to be representative of the most beautiful accomplishments of the Hellenic world. Its exact whereabouts are unknown, with some doubting its existence entirely.
- COLOSSUS OF RHODES, GREECE
The Colossus of Rhodes was a mighty statue of the Greek Sun God Helios, erected on the island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC. There are many theories as to what the statue really looked like.
- TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS AT EPHESUS, TURKEY
A Greek temple dedicated to the warrior goddess Artemis, which now stands in ruins.
- MAUSOLEUM AT HALICARNASSUS, TURKEY
The longest-standing ancient wonder by the time of its destruction by erathquakes in the 15th century, the Mausoleum was built around 350 BC for Mausolus and his sister-wife Artemisia.
Who knew there were so many different types of world wonders! There’s definitely more that I would consider putting on these lists too.
Which of these places have you visited? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it!