Love travelling but sometimes worry you’ve missed something?
In 2001 the Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation was established by a Swiss-born Canadian filmmaker, author and all-round adventurer named Bernard Weber. The purpose of this independent project was to contribute to the protection of the world’s man-made and natural heritage whilst promoting respect for earth’s beauty and diversity.
Although there have been many collations of ‘wonders of the world’, as a non-government funded initiative, New7Wonders is supported by licensing and commercial partnerships only and, to date, reports generating over US$5 billion worth of economic, tourism and national promotional value for the locations participating in its campaigns. Of this sizeable income, New7Wonders has pledged to dedicate 50% of surplus net revenue to the main New7Wonders Foundation cause – Global Memory, the documentation and 3D virtual recording of all New7Wonders.
The New7Wonders began by enlisting a panel of experts whose job it would be to generate a shortlist of 21 sites from 77 nominated by people from around the world. The 21 finalists were then put to public vote and the official winners of the New7Wonders of the World were eventually decided in 2007 by more than 100million votes – the criteria being that the sites should ‘represent global heritage throughout history’.
How many of these modern wonders of the world can you tick off your travel list?
This article courtesy of Holly Wadsworth-Hill for Mail Travel
Taj Mahal, India
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as one of the New7Wonders of the World and a regular on the prescribed bucket-lists of many a qualified travel-writer. The exquisite white marble masterpiece that is the Taj Mahal more than earns its place as a must-see tourist attraction for many reasons.
The result of a beautiful love story, the Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world and its history has charmed generation after generation.
Built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, in 1631, in memory of his loyal wife and soul mate Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is shrouded in fable – even its architect remains unknown, and yet it remains completely unforgettable for anyone who has the pleasure of visiting it.
Petra, the famous Treasury carved into the cliff, was once the magnificent capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV and is considered the jewel of Jordan. Architecturally fascinating, this ancient site is half built and half carved into the rocks – its maze of passages and hidden gorges, coupled with the fact that it has been inhabited since prehistoric times, make Petra a historians, and the inquisitive traveller’s, dream destination. Petra will take your breath away.
Commissioned in AD 72 by Emperor Vespasian, the Colosseum was eventually finished by his son, Titus, with latter enhancements by Domitian. One of the earliest and longest surviving examples of the Italian aptitude to combine splendour with pragmatism, the Colosseum was originally known as the Flavian amphitheatre and was designed to hold 55,000 spectators. With its bloody history and unimaginable size, the Colosseum is not only considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering of all time, it is also completely enthralling.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
An obvious addition the magnificent 7 if you ask us. So much is known and so much has been lost of the ancient Mayan civilisation that Chichen Itza continues to enthral modern day scholars and historians – not to mention your average holidaymaker looking for something different. Chichen Itza means ‘at the mouth of the well of the Itza’ and is a Mayan City on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, between Valladolid and Merida. The Maya were accomplished mathematicians and scientists with a sophisticated and established society, housing the recorded Maya and Toltec ideas of the world and the universe, Chichen Itza is an invaluable fragment of history that draws people from all around the world. It is not known why, in the 1400s, people fled Chichen Itza for the jungle, but what they left behind is a history lesson that one will never forget.
Machu Picchu, Peru
We do know that Machu Picchu was built around 1450 and then abandoned by the Incans about a century later during the Spanish Conquest. On top of the mysterious history, Machu Picchu’s phenomenal and resilient architecture has also drawn visitors to witness the remarkable site first-hand.
Great Wall of China
Most of what we know as the Great Wall today, originates from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and perhaps the best viewing spot in the whole of China is the Great Wall at Badaling where you can capture a long sprawling view of the wall in all its postcard-worthy glory.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Christ the Redeemer is the most recent of all the New7Wonders of the World, constructed between 1922 and 1931 as a prominent and now eminent symbol of Brazilian Christianity. It is a huge Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ, crafted by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and French engineer Albert Caquot.
Christ the Redeemer overlooks the energetic city of Rio and is located at the peak of the 2,300 ft Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park. Most of us have seen the panoramic shots of Christ the Redeemer in magazines, holiday brochures, on television and the like but few will have the pleasure of seeing it first-hand and exploring this dynamic part of the world.