On the day of the “three sevens” – July 7, 2007 – the “Seven New Wonders of the World” were named in the capital of Portugal. It is worth noting that such a need was long overdue – of the former wonders, the most outstanding architectural structures of its time, only one survived – the pyramids of Giza, the rest were destroyed by earthquakes, burned down during fires or were simply abandoned and did not stand the test of time.
This unfortunate omission has decided to correct the non-profit organization New Open World Corporation (NOWC). The initiative was taken by the Swiss Bernard Weber, and it was possible to vote for the most outstanding architectural structures of the planet both via the Internet and by telephone, using SMS. The competition aroused great interest in various countries – everyone wanted the landmark of their state to win and enter the top seven. By the way, the Moscow Kremlin was also among the contenders, but it failed to defeat its competitors.
In total, almost 100 million people voted in the competition for seven new wonders of the world, and as a result, a special commission, having carried out complex calculations, determined the best. “Seven New Wonders” can rightfully be called amazing corners of our planet, which must be visited before they can disappear from the face of the Earth.
The great Wall of China
The victory of this largest architectural structure on earth was not in doubt – until 2007, the building was called “the eighth wonder of the world”. Indeed, the huge wall encircling the old northern border of China is of interest to scientists and travelers from all over the world. The Russians, in a recent poll conducted by one travel agency, named it the most famous attraction in the world, this is a must-see point for those who come to the PRC for the first time.
The great Wall of China
Some interesting facts about the “Wall 10,000 li long”:
- until recently it was believed that the length of the Great Wall of China was just under 9 thousand kilometers. Five years ago, scientists nevertheless decided that it was impossible to trust the chroniclers at their word and that measurements should be taken on the spot. It took a long time to walk with the ruler, but the results were worth it – it turned out that the wall is almost 2.5 times larger than previously thought and its length reaches 21,196 kilometers, however, with all the branches, which are often in a very neglected and dilapidated state;
- It is believed that the Great Wall of China was built to protect the northern border of the country from wild nomads, but in fact it was a very effective way to unite the population and prevent the Chinese from switching to a nomadic way of life, turning them into barbarians. Hiding from the world behind a high wall, the Chinese managed to preserve their traditions and national characteristics for centuries;
- if all the materials that were used in the construction of the wall are laid out in a row 5 meters high and 1 meter wide, the length of the wall will be sufficient to circle the entire planet along the equator;
- it is impossible to see with the naked eye the “Wall 10 thousand li long” from the orbital station, despite the prevailing opinion, but it is perfectly visible on satellite images;
- an athletics marathon has been held for many years, during which athletes and everyone who wants to take part in the competition run along the best-preserved part of the Great Wall of China;
- the Chinese builders managed to achieve such durability of the structure by connecting stone blocks with sticky rice porridge.
The majestic and beautiful fortress-mausoleum, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, by the way, a descendant of Tamerlane himself, in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The emperor lived with his wife for many years, she bore him 13 children and died trying to give birth to the fourteenth. Saddened Shah Jahan decided to build a mausoleum that would become a worthy burial place for his beloved wife.
Taj Mahal, India
Construction lasted 22 years, initially the emperor planned to erect the twin Taj Mahal from black marble and connect both buildings with an arched bridge, but life made adjustments to the ruler’s plans. One of his sons decided not to wait for the throne to free itself naturally and imprisoned the deposed emperor in prison. So Shah Jahan was simply buried next to Mumtaz Mahal, and his tomb became the only object out of the overall ideal symmetry of the Taj Mahal..
- there is a legend that the architect of the Taj Mahal was generously awarded, but at the same time they cut off his right hand so that he could not repeat his masterpiece anywhere else. A similar legend exists about the builder of St. Basil’s Cathedral, whom Ivan the Terrible allegedly blinded. True, historians are practically sure of a more prosperous fate of the Russian architect, but nothing is known about the future career of his Indian colleague, which leads to sad thoughts about the veracity of the legend;
- To visit the Taj Mahal, ordinary Indians stand in line for several hours, however, for the convenience of foreign guests, another entrance has been created, so that tourists from other countries can see the interior of the mausoleum without a long wait. But such a special ticket costs ten times more;
- at the entrance to the mausoleum it is necessary to take off your shoes, while the locals put their sandals in ordinary boxes, and foreigners are given special bags so that they can carry their shoes with them;
- inside the Taj Mahal you can take only a phone, a camera, a camera and a bottle of drinking water, a thorough search is carried out;
- a special zone has been created around the mausoleum where there are no industrial enterprises – due to air pollution, the snow-white walls of the Taj Mahal began to turn yellow and the authorities are forced to clean them annually with white clay. The ecologically clean zone did not help too much – the yellowing of the walls is still observed, but the locals are not happy with such a special situation. Traffic is prohibited around the Taj Mahal and residents of the surrounding villages have to travel home on foot or by bicycle.
Translated from the Quechua language, the name Machu Picchu means “old peak”, and the real name given by the builders to historians and scientists is still unknown. The majestic buildings of Machu Picchu are really high in the mountains, in Peru, it is not so easy to get here, thanks to which the city has survived – the Spanish conquerors at one time failed to find the lost village, it was officially discovered only in 1911.
Machu Picchu, Peru
True, the local peasants knew about the lost city for a long time, they even hid here from tax collectors, but they were in no hurry to report the unique object to the authorities.
- the population of Machu Picchu was no more than 1.2 thousand people, there are only about 200 buildings, mostly temples and other religious buildings;
- why the inhabitants left the city is still unknown, it was not destroyed by an earthquake, all buildings are intact, so why in 1532 the inhabitants left their homes is unknown;
- every day about 2 thousand people visit Machu Picchu, however, UNESCO experts strongly advise to reduce the number of visitors to 800 people, because a large number of tourists pose a danger to the city. For the same reason, the organization opposed the construction of the cable car to Machu Picchu, fearing that an easier way to reach the site would significantly increase the flow of people wishing to see the stunning beauty of the mountain city;
- the road from Cusco to Machu Picchu is still perfectly preserved, even in the height of the rainy season, it remains convenient and passable. The secret of the builders is also unknown to scientists, which is a pity, because modern specialists have not learned how to build roads for centuries.
The rocky city of Petra is the most famous structure in Jordan, mysterious, stunningly beautiful, which has become one of the “main characters” of films such as “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, “Arabian Nights”, “Passion in wilderness “,” Mortal Kombat 2: Annihilation “and” Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen “.
- it is known that Petra, the capital of the Nabataean kingdom, was erected at the intersection of trade routes, but why the builders chose this method of construction – they carved the buildings simply in the rocks, as the main purpose of erecting colossal buildings is unknown;
- excavations in the tombs of Petra have been going on for many years, but so far not a single skeleton has been found. It seems that there are no remains in the rocky city at all, then it remains a mystery why the builders erected such a large number of crypts;
- among the many rock structures of Petra, there are no two identical facades, they all differ in carving and ornaments;
- for its unique shade of rocks, Petra received its second name – “Pink City”;
- over the years of excavations in the rocky city, temples, tombs, palaces, an ancient theater and other structures were found, but Petra has not yet revealed all her secrets, it is only known that the buildings were built at different periods of time and under different rulers;
- Petra is located in a very desolate area – only 15 centimeters of precipitation falls here per year, over the centuries of the city’s existence, the climate in this area has changed for the worse, many scientists believe that this was one of the reasons for the abandonment of the former capital. However, Petra was originally built in an area where there was practically no drinking water, so its inhabitants cut down canals and reservoirs just in the rocks, creating an extensive and very efficient water supply system.
The famous Roman Colosseum is well known to all European travelers, is included in the must-see list, and is also the largest attraction in Rome.
- the name of the Colosseum itself is translated as “colossal” or “huge”, it is the largest structure of the ancient “eternal city”;
- at the grand opening of the Colosseum, 2,000 gladiators and more than 3,000 slaves were killed;
- over the entire history of the arena’s existence, over 300 thousand people died on it, the most massive killings took place during the time of persecution of Christians;
- after the arrival of the barbarians and the fall of Rome, the Colosseum serves as a defensive fortress for noble Roman families who were hiding here from invasion;
- the image of the Colosseum has been repeatedly used in numerous films, but the shooting itself is most often held in other places, for example, in the Amphitheater of Marcus Antony Gordian in Tunisia, which has been preserved much better than the Roman arena.
In Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, there is another “wonder of the world” – the dilapidated city of Chichen Itza, built by the Mayans in the pre-Columbian era. The name of the city can be translated as “the area near the well of the Itza tribe”.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
- the area of the city is more than 400 square kilometers;
- the reasons why the tribe left the city after a thousand years of quiet residence are still unknown;
- the city is perfectly preserved, there are seven ball courts, bazaars, palaces, temples and other structures;
- the most famous building of Chichen Itza is the El Castilio pyramid, which was the temple of the god Kukulkan, according to the Mayan beliefs, who looked like a big snake;
- each of the four sides of the pyramid has 91 steps leading to the top. There are 364 of them, that is, together with the summit 365, according to the number of days in a year;
- September 21 and March 21, on the days of the equinox, a thin ray of light penetrates the very top of the pyramid and, as a result of an intricate play of shadows, it seems as if a large serpent is climbing the steps (in spring) or descending them (in autumn). On these days, a holiday is held here, crowds of tourists come, and in Mayan times, these days they celebrated the advent of the god Kukulkan;
- if you sit at the foot of the pyramid and wait for other tourists to start climbing the steps, you can hear sounds very similar to the sound of rain.
Statue of Christ the Redeemer
A visiting card of Rio de Janeiro and all of Brazil, towering over the city, as if protecting the former capital of the country from troubles and misfortunes, stretching out its hands over its inhabitants, the statue of Christ the Redeemer was awarded the status of a “new wonder of the world” quite deservedly.
Christ the Redeemer statue over Rio de Janeiro
- Christ the Redeemer “starred” in such films as “2012”, “Twilight. Saga. Dawn “,” Life After People “,” Twilight. Saga. New Moon “,” Fast and Furious 5 “and many others;
- in the conditions of Brazil, it was impossible to create a statue of this size, so all the parts were made in France and transported across the ocean on specially equipped liners;
- over 5 thousand tourists come to see the statue up close every day;
- the height of the pedestal of Christ the Redeemer alone is 8 meters, the entire statue as a whole is 38 meters, the arm span of the giant Christ is 30 meters, and the weight of the structure is 1,145,000 kg;
- it was originally planned that Christ would stand on the globe, however, due to difficulties with the implementation of this idea, it had to be abandoned;
- the statue was consecrated twice – after opening in 1931 and in 1965, when Pope Paul VI arrived in Brazil. And John Paul II was present at the solemn celebration of the half-century anniversary of the monument in 1981;
- you can get to the statue by taking the first electric railway in Brazil, which runs a miniature train carrying tourists.
Thus, the old “Seven Wonders of the World” – the Pyramid of Cheops, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Lighthouse of Alexandria – received quite worthy successors, and the new wonders represent different continents and countries … Of course, if our, familiar and familiar “miracles” of architecture took the places of the winners, it would be especially nice, but in any case, all these monuments deserve special attention.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
It is interesting that the Giza pyramids did not take part in the new competition, they were already out of competition, having survived the millennia and became the most important evidence that “everything flows, everything changes, but the pyramids remain.” As a result, they received the honorary title of “the eighth wonder of the world” and another recognition of their importance for the history of mankind.