Herodotus in his travels was the first to refer to the "wonders" of the world and Callimachus of Cyrene in the 3rd century BC as a scholar at the library of the Alexandria Mouseion wrote A Collection of Wonders around the World .
The original idea of identifying Seven Wonders of the Ancient World comes from a list originally compiled in the 2nd century BC by Antipater of Sidon, who, instead of the Lighthouse of Alexandria listed below, included the Ishtar Gate.
These wonders, however, were not wonders of the natural world, but were all man-made engineering and construction wonders which the ancient Greeks as travelers (tourists) could visit several thousand years ago.
Listed in their order of construction, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were:
- The Great Pyramid of Giza
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- The Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus
- The Colossus of Rhodes
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Various locations accessible to travelers in the Middle Ages - and some of these of course were totally unknown to the ancient Greeks - have been included by various sources among the much later Seven Wonders of the Medieval World. This is our selection from a longer list of alternatives:
- Colosseum of Rome
- Great Wall of China
- Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
- Hagia Sophia
- Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Taj Mahal
Modern archaeological discoveries have also opened up our eyes to new, previously unknown wonders which fully qualify as Ancient Wonders of the World, of which this list, created by us, is only a limited example:
- The Tomb of Tutankhamun and other tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt (see National Geographic presentation) and the King Tut artifacts now found in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (see also an interpretation of these artifacts at Ark of the Covenant)
- Lascaux (also here), France, a cave featuring early human art (see decipherment)
- Chauvet-Pont-D'Arc, France, a cave featuring early human art
- Catal Huyuk, Anatolia (today Turkey), one of the most ancient Neolithic settlements
- The Temples of Malta and Gozo, early megalithic buildings
- Schliemann's Troy
- Evans' Knossos, Crete (see Phaistos Disc and the Lost Proof of Parallel Lines)
- Machu Picchu, Peru, lost city of the Incas
- Easter Island (see also Easter Island Script)
- Angkor Wat, Cambodia, a temple (see Sacred Sites)
- Val Camonica (see also here), ancient rock drawing site
- The Temple of Petra and the Nabateans in Jordan
- Yin Xu (Yin Ruins), Anyang, Henan, China, root of Chinese culture
- Emperor Qin's tomb and its terracotta army in China
- The Pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico
- Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville, Illinois, USA (see this interpretation)
- Qumran Caves, Israel (West Bank), where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found (see the Mishnayot and explanatory materials)
- Nazca Lines and Figures, Peru
- Pompeii, Italy, the buried, forgotten city
- Ur and the Great Ziggurat, Sumer in Mesopotamia, today Iraq
- Newgrange in Ireland (see alleged astronomical connection)
- Balnuaran of Clava, the Clava Cairns in Scotland (see alleged astronomical connection)
- Carnac, France (see alleged astronomical connection)
- Ancient World Megaliths and Megalithic Sites
As world populations and technology have expanded, it has become more difficult to pick out just seven world wonders from the many now available. The Seven Wonders of the Modern World according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (in 1994) were:
- The 31-mile Channel Tunnel under the North Sea, linking Britain and Europe
- The CN Tower in Toronto, the world's tallest freestanding structure on land
- The Empire State Building in New York City
- The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay
- The Itaipu Dam between Brazil and Paraguay
- The Netherlands North Sea Protection Works
- The Panama Canal
In our view, a number of new building structures definitely fall into the category of world wonders:
- - The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge on the Kobe-Naruto Route, Japan, is the world's longest suspension bridge.
- - The Oresund Bridge linking Denmark (Copenhagen) and Sweden (Malmö), is the world's longest single bridge for both road and railway traffic (see NASA photo)
- - The Viaduct de Millau in France, the world's highest road bridge, is higher even than the Eiffel Tower (beautiful opening page) (for the Viaduc de Millau see also the French sites here and here).
- - The Troll A Gas Platform is the world's largest offshore gas platform (Norway)
- - The Millennium Dome at Greenwich, United Kingdom, is the world's largest dome and was built on the Meridian Line in Greenwich (Longitude 0° 0' 0") from which world time is measured and world location is reckoned.
- - The Laerdal Road Tunnel, Norway, is the world's longest road tunnel, on the road connecting Oslo with Bergen.
- - The Falkirk Wheel, Scotland, is the world's first and only rotating boat lift.
- - The Three Gorges Dam in China is the largest dam in the world.
The World's Tallest Man-Made Structures and Buildings
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and Emporis have partnered recently and rank the world's tallest structures and buildings. As written at Emporis: "Taipei 101 is the world's tallest building, surpassing the height of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur in late August 2003."
See the Wikipedia for a current list of tallest buildings and structures in the world, ranked by category. Many of these man-made structures are true world wonders in our modern age. See also a list of the historical development of the world's tallest man-made freestanding structures on land.
Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century
The National Academy of Engineering has a list of their selection of the Greatest Engineering Achievements of the just past 20th century but none of these are architectural or archaeological tourist travel sites, even though they are world wonders in their own right:
- Water Supply and Distribution
- Radio and Television
- Agricultural Mechanization
- Air Conditioning
- and Refrigeration
- Household Appliances
- Health Technologies
- Petroleum and
- Petrochemical Technologies
- Laser and Fiber Optics
- Nuclear Technologies
- High-performance Materials