Interesting Facts About the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’
Written by Sanjana Nayakanti a grade 5 student (originally written in April 2021)
The new wonders fascinate the old and the young. Let’s have a look at some lesser-known facts about these monuments.
Written by Sanjana Nayakanti a grade 5 student (originally written in April 2021)
What are the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’? Are the old ones on the list too?
The New Seven Wonders of the World is a campaign, launched in 2000 by a Swiss foundation to choose new Wonders of the World from a selection of about 200 most spectacular natural and man-made monuments.
The old (and original) Seven Wonders list was created in ancient times, in the 2nd century BCE. Out of that list, only the Pyramids of Giza still exist.
This is why a new list has been brought forward by the New7Wonders Foundation. The New7Wonders Foundation was set up by Canadian filmmaker Benard Weber. Weber is known for his movies like Rule of the Fists (2006) and Of the Voice (2018).
How were they chosen?
The wonders of the world were chosen by a public poll (online voting and telephone voting). This whole initiative was organized by the New 7 Wonders Foundation (N7W) based in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2007, more than 100 million people voted and selected the below-listed new wonders of the world.
The New 7 Wonders of the World were officially declared to the world on 07.07.2007 in Lisbon, Portugal.
These new wonders fascinate the old and the young. Let’s have a look at some lesser-known facts about these monuments.
Fun facts about the 7 wonders of the world
Taj Mahal, India
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Taj Mahal is a marble mausoleum built by the erstwhile Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The 42-acre complex with gardens, a mosque, guest houses, and the centerpiece tomb of Mumtaz Mahal is regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture.
The Taj Mahal has 4 minarets/towers on its four corners. If you notice, all the minarets slant a bit – that was on purpose. Such architecture allows for the towers to fall away from the main sculpture in the event of an earthquake.
The monument in Agra near the Yamuna river gets its name from Persian– it means the Crown of Palaces. The distinct white Makrana marble is yellowing because of pollution.
In its original condition, the white marble would refract and reflect light: this made it appear pink at dawn, orange at sunset, and pale blue in the moonlight.
The Great Wall of China, China
The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world (the wall is 13,171 miles long).
It is a series of fortifications made from stone, brick, wood, and other materials. The wall served as a defense, a transportation route, and a trade corridor
The wall stretches from east to west along the northern borders of China. It was made to protect the then-Chinese territories from the invasions of the people of the Eurasian Steppes.
Many Chinese royal dynasties have contributed to building the wall. The Ming dynasty has the greatest contribution to the existing walls.
The wall even has natural defensive barriers like rivers and hills!
Scientists have found human body remains in this wall. Though many hypothesize that this makes the Wall a tomb, these remains belong to the workers who made the fortifications. The magnitude of the remains has proved that the wall was made by several generations of people. The wall took a total of 2,000 years to build.
It is a myth that the Great Wall of China can be seen from outer space. It certainly isn’t visible to the naked eye from the Moon. RADAR technology can make it visible.
This ancient city in Jordan was founded by a Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig, in the year 1812.
The city, originally known as Raqmu, was the capital of the Nabataean Empire. The Nabataeans were an ancient Arab tribe, annexed into the Roman Empire in 106 CE.
This archaeological site is famous for its rock-cut structures and water-conduit system. The city is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges, a perfect blending of ancient Eastern traditions with Hellenistic architecture.
A very interesting fact about this place is that the bigger half of the city is carved out of a single huge rock. Imagine all of that! It must be so beautiful!
It’s also called Rose city as the rock it was carved from was in pink colour.
This UNESCO World Heritage site was a part of the Hollywood blockbuster movie – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed in Petra because of its beautiful architecture.
Machu-Picchu is the most popular tourist location in the country of Peru. The city was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale University lecturer. It is the most well-known symbol of the Inca Civilization.
The Inca Civilization arose in the highlands of Peru around the 13th century. A famous media portrayal of the Inca people is the Disney movie The Emperor’s New Groove.
Machu-Picchu was built in 1450. When the Spanish invaded the place, it was abandoned. It was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1983.
It was built with dry stone walls and spans an area of 80,536 acres or approximately 353 square kilometres. With classic Inca architecture, the city has three prominent buildings: Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. More than 30 percent of the city has been reconstructed to give an idea of the city’s original layout.
It is among the top 100 endangered places and is under threat of destruction by earthquakes. Yearly reforestation efforts continue in the regions surrounding the city.
The Colosseum, Italy
The Colosseum is an oval amphitheater built in the centre of Rome, Italy. The original name of the Colosseum was Flavian Amphitheater. The structure was commissioned and built during the reign of the Flavian dynasty.
The Colosseum is huge, has 80 entrances, and can host around 65,000 people at a go in its stands. It is the world’s largest amphitheater.
It was built in just 9 years from 72 AD to 81 AD by about 60,000 slaves.
The iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, the Colosseum was a venue for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, mock battles, animal exhibitions, and the execution of criminals.
There are tunnels and chambers under the arena floor, to store slaves and animals. After the fall of Imperial Rome, the structure was repurposed for markets and housing. It has been partially damaged by earthquakes and stone-robbers.
The Colosseum has been etched onto the Italian five-cent euro coin.
In recent times, a few popular concerts by Billy Joel, Elton John, and Paul McCartney were held in the Colosseum.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Cristo Redentor, or Christ the Redeemer, is a massive statue of Jesus Christ in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The statue, built with concrete in 1931, has 6.2 million soapstone tiles on it. It took 11 years to complete the statue.
The Art Deco statue was created by Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot. The face was created by the Romanian artist Gheorghe Leonida.
The statue is 125 feet tall, excluding the 22 feet pedestal on which it stands, and 92 feet wide. It is as tall as the mountains surrounding it. By comparison, it is approximately two-thirds the height of the Statue of Liberty.
Jesus Christ has outstretched arms because the statue is a symbol of redemption. The arms have a span of 28 metres.
The statue is struck by lightning three to five times on average per year. Once during a storm, a lightning bolt struck the thumb of Christ’s hand. The lightning chipped the thumb. The damage has been repaired since then
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Chichen Itza is believed to be the largest city ever built by the Mayan civilization and is famous for the pyramid temple, El Castillo which means castle.
Chichén Itzá means ‘At the mouth of the well of the Itza’.
It is said that ‘itza’ means water magicians. So, it is believed that if someone drinks water from here, their sins are all gone and removed from their fate.
Present in Yucatan, Mexico, the structure is also called the Temple of Kukulcan. Kukulcan is a feathered serpent, worshipped by most Meso-American people. The serpent is a creator god and also a god of rain, storms, and wind.
The Meso-American pyramid consists of a series of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. Each of the pyramid’s four sides has 91 steps which, when added together and including the temple platform on top as the final “step”, produces a total of 365 steps (which is equal to the number of days of the Haab’ year).
Sculptures of plumed serpents run down the sides of the northern balustrade. These serpents represent the union of the earth and the sky in Aztec mythology (Aztecs were an ethnic group that lived around the 13th century). They also represent the major deity Kukulkan.
During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the late afternoon sun strikes off the northwest corner of the pyramid and casts a series of triangular shadows against the northwest balustrade, creating the illusion of a feathered serpent “crawling” down the pyramid. The event has been very popular, but it is questionable whether it is a result of a purposeful design.
There are over 80 paved walkways in El Castillo.
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