One of the traditionally most interesting tourism-related topics is certainly that of Wonders of the World. Now, before we begin, you have to divide ancient and recently established, new 7 Wonders of the World. Apart from honorary candidate, Great (Cheops’) Pyramid of Giza, wonders of the ancient world don’t appear on the list at all. While their historical, architectural, and artistic value can’t be neglected, most of the ancient wonders have already been destroyed by the tooth of time, and Hanging Gardens of Babylon have never actually been excavated to begin with.
Modern tourism demands both the clear existence of structures in question and developed accompanying infrastructure which has to lead to the establishment of the new 7 Wonders of the World. This new list is composed of: Great Wall of China, Petra, Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza, Colosseum and Taj Mahal respectively.
Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China is the only structure on Earth, still visible from Earth’s low orbit. That alone speaks volumes of 8,850 km (5,500 mi) long combination of walls, trenches, and natural defensive barriers. As such, Great Wall of China is clearly deserving of a visit. The biggest problem for potential visitors is its length which clearly disables people from strolling through the whole length of the wall. However, there are more than a few diverse spots where one can gaze and even walk upon the wall. Great wall tours are numerous and include different commodities at the same time.
Currently, the Chinese government allows you to visit Badaling, Jinshanling, Mutianyu, Simatai, Gubeikou, Huangyaguan, Shanhaiguan, and Jiayuguan. Most of these sites are in proximity to Chinese capital, Beijing which opens up additional opportunities like seeing the Forbidden City, Ming Tombs, and Tiananmen Square.
Ch’in Shih-huang is the first emperor of China. He united seven separate kingdoms into a single nation. He built the Great Wall and was buried with the terra-cotta soldiers. The Chinese have mixed feelings about him. They’re proud of the nation he created, but he was a maniacal tyrant.– via Gene Luen Yang
7 Wonders of the World – Petra
Petra is clearly a deserving member of the new 7 Wonders of the World family. Nabataeans’ capital was most likely established sometimes in the 6th century BC, but it reaches its golden age under the Roman rule. Petra is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Even though Jordan finds itself in a traditionally unstable region of the Middle East, Petra has seen the rising of the number of visitors. Still, Petra can be comfortably explored within a day.
The Siq, Treasury, Monastery, pillars of the Hadrian Gate, Cardo, the tomb of Uneishu, Obelisk, and Urn and the Silk Tomb don’t require that much time but are well worth the visit nevertheless. It’s best to visit during spring or autumn, however, as summer heat tends to be rather exhausting.
Christ the Redeemer
Built from 1922 to 1931, Christ the Redeemer represents one of the most – if not the most prominent symbols of Christianity in the world. It’s 30 meters (98 feet) tall, and weighs 625 metric tons. If you find yourself in Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer will likely be among your first landmarks to see. There are a few options to get to the top of Corcovado mountain where Christ is built, but most people decide to take the train to the top. If you are among them, our advice is to take the first-morning train as later on things tend to become crowded and you might end up stranded at the top.
Taking a shuttle or a cab is more expensive, but still beats the aforementioned method – especially during hot days.
We were promised that we would have Jehovah, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Redeemer. He would assure that we would all be resurrected. And He would make it possible for us to pass the test of life if we exercised faith in Him by being obedient.– via Henry B. Eyring
Machu Picchu – Peru
Machu Picchu, a 15th century Inca city finds itself in the Peruvian Cuzco region – in the southern part of the country. This high-elevation marvel was only inhabited for a century; give or take, but was more than well-preserved for future generations. Machu Picchu is definitely one of the most beautiful and interesting landmarks in the world, and clearly a deserving member of the new 7 Wonders of the World family. If you decide to visit it, you’ll likely start your journey from Cuzco. The train is the most common and affordable option, but brace yourself for a 3 to 4-hour ride. You can always get a cab as well, but it’s by far a more expensive option.
Finally, if you feel adventurous enough, hiking the Inca trail comes as a recommended option, but do bear in mind the fact that it requires an above-average level of physical fitness as hike lasts a few days, and the terrain is rugged and mountainous.
Moving on from Incas to Mayas. This medieval civilization has left many landmarks on their ancient lands spanning across Yucatan, southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. Chichen Itza, being the most astonishing one, finds itself on the list of the new 7 Wonders of the World. Most people come to Yucatan peninsula for its sun, sea, and sand, and eagerly take advantage of being there to take a look at marvelous Mayan ruins. Cancun and Playa del Carmen are not that far away and are well-connected with Yucatan’s interior by the road 180D.
This is your best bet of reaching Chichen Itza fast, but Merida airport is more or less the same length in the opposite direction too.
How to Get There
Chichén Itzá is located near the small town of Piste. Bus services connect to the international airports at Mérida (under two hours) and Cancun (two and a half hours).
When to Visit
The ruins are open daily. Chichén Itzá’s climate is consistently tropical—average temperatures are 93ºF (34ºC). Spring and autumn equinoxes offer the chance to see the incredible shadow serpent of El Castillo—but the often crowded site is absolutely packed at these times.
How to Visit
Staying in the Chichén Itzá area allows visitors to visit early in the morning, out of the hot sun and without the company of the many tourists who arrive on day trip tours from Mérida and Cancun. There is also a light show on the site at night.
Colosseum – Rome, Italy
Colosseum was built between 70 and 80 AD during the reigns of Roman emperors Vespasian and his son Titus. This grandiose antic theater is famous or infamous for many events that took place inside its walls. Best-known for gladiatorial events, Colosseum was able to receive between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators – more than most modern stadiums. It is said that all roads lead to Rome, and all roads in Rome certainly lead to the Colosseum. UNESCO World Heritage Site is open from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM every day, but be prepared to wait in line if you don’t intend on getting there early.
In fact, most people will advise you to be an early bird and arrive an hour or two prior to opening hours. That way you’ll get the chance to study the landmark and take pictures without anyone bothering you.
I like things that are kind of eclectic, when one thing doesn’t go with another. That’s why I love Rome. The town itself is that way. It’s where Fascist architecture meets classic Renaissance, where the ancient bangs up against the contemporary. It has a touch of everything. That’s my style, and that’s what my work is about.– via Giambattista Valli
Taj Mahal – Agra, India
Last, but not the least, the Taj Mahal concludes the list of 7 modern Wonders of the World. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in love for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is found in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Found in the city of Agra, the Taj Mahal is easy to gain access to. Even India’s capital of New Delhi isn’t that far away which is a lucky feat since Agra doesn’t have an airport. The road between the two cities takes around 200 kilometers (125 miles), and your best option would be a car.
Shatabdi Express train isn’t at all express as it travels for around 5 hours. In any case, the Taj Mahal is well-worthy of the visit, both in the morning and especially at sunny sunsets.
Shah Jahan was a member of the Mughal dynasty that ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to the mid-18th-century. After the death of his father, King Jahangir, in 1627, Shah Jahan emerged the victor of a bitter power struggle with his brothers and crowned himself emperor at Agra in 1628. At his side was Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”), whom he married in 1612 and cherished as the favorite of his three queens.
In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died after giving birth to the couple’s 14th child. The grieving Shah Jahan, known for commissioning a number of impressive structures throughout his reign, ordered the building of a magnificent mausoleum across the Yamuna River from his own royal palace at Agra. Construction began around 1632 and would continue for the next two decades. The chief architect was probably Ustad Ahmad Lahori, an Indian of Persian descent who would later be credited with designing the Red Fort in Delhi. In all, more than 20,000 workers from India, Persia, Europe, and the Ottoman Empire, along with some 1,000 elephants, were brought in to build the mausoleum complex.
All 7 modern Wonders of the World deserve their respective spots on the list. Ever since the list was announced in 2007, these landmarks have seen a substantial increase in numbers of visitors which doesn’t have to be a good thing. For starters, crowds can lower your overall enjoyment and sustainable tourism can’t be implemented. That doesn’t bode well for the landmark itself, especially for the likes of Petra, Colosseum and Machu Picchu as they are much too fragile.
If you are planning on visiting one of the new Wonders of the World, please don’t forget to be responsible and respectful towards the sites that have given us so much lovely memories during the years.