By Jackie Craven, About.com GuideYou may know about the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Only one - the Great Pyramid at Giza - still stands. So, Swiss film producer and aviator Bernard Weber launched a global voting campaign to let you, and millions of other people, create a NEW list. Unlike the list of Ancient Wonders, the New 7 Wonders list includes both ancient and modern structures from every part of the world.
From the hundreds of recommendations, architects Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Cesar Pelli, and other expert judges selected 21 finalists. Then, voters around the world picked the top seven New Wonders of the World.
The New 7 Wonders of the World were announced in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, July 7, 2007. Shown below are the winners and also the finalists in the New 7 Wonders of the World campaign.
The Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, MexicoPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout Chichen Itza Chichen Itza, or Chichén Itzá, offers a rare glimpse into Mayan and Toltec civilization in Mexico. Located about 90 miles from the coast in the northern Yucatan peninsula, the archaeological site has temples, palaces, and other important buildings.
There are actually two parts to Chichen: the old city that thrived between 300 and 900 AD, and the new city that became the center of Mayan civilization between 750 and 1200 AD.
Chichen Itza is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2007, Chichen Itza was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Ancient Colosseum in Rome, ItalyPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout the Colosseum in Rome The Flavian emperors Vespasian and Titus built the Colosseum, or Coliseum, in central Rome between 70 and 82 AD. The Colosseum sometimes called the Amphitheatrum Flavium (Flavian Amphitheater) after the emperors who constructed it.
Much of the Colosseum has deteriorated, but major restoration efforts are preserving the structure. The ancient amphitheater is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Rome, and one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions. In 2007, the Colosseum was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Christ Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout the Christ Redeemer Statue Towering over Rio de Janeiro, the Christ Redeemer statue is 125 feet (38 m) tall, including the pedestal. The pedestal contains a chapel large enough for 150 worshipers.
The Christ Redeemer statue was designed by Heitor da Silva Costa and carved by French sculptor Paul Landowski. The Christ Redeemer statue took five years to construct and was inaugurated on October 12, 1931.
In 2007, the Christ Redeemer statue was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Great Wall of China snakes along the hills in the Mongolian plainPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout the Great Wall of China No one is sure exactly how long the Great Wall of China is. Many say that the Great Wall extends some 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers). But the Great Wall is not actually a single wall but a series of disconnected walls.
Snaking along the hills in the southern part of the Mongolian plain, the Great Wall (or Walls) were built over centuries, beginning as early as 500 BC. During the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), many walls were joined and re-enforced for greater strength. In places, the massive walls are as tall as 29.5 feet (9 meters).
The Great Wall of China is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2007, the Great Wall of China was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, in PeruPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout Machu Picchu In the fifteenth century, the Inca constructed the small city of Machu Picchu in a ridge between two mountain peaks. Beautiful and remote, the buildings were constructed of finely cut white granite blocks. No mortar was used. Because Machu Picchu is so difficult to reach, this legendary city of the Inca was almost lost to explorers until the early 1900s.
The historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2007, Machu Picchu was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The ancient desert city of Petra, JordanPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout Petra, Jordan Inhabited since prehistoric times, the strikingly beautiful desert city of Petra, Jordan was home to a vanished civilization that combined Eastern and Hellenistic architecture. Petra's location between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea made it an important center for commerce where Arabian incense, Chinese silks, and Indian spices were traded. The rock-carved city of Petra also had a sophisticated system for providing water to the arid region.
Petra, Jordan was lost to the Western World from about the 14th century until the early 19th century. Today, Petra is one of the world's largest and most important archaeological sites. Petra, Jordan is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. In 2007, Petra, Jordan was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The grand marble Taj Mahal in Agra, IndiaPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld Foundation
A masterpiece of Muslim architecture, the Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2007, the Taj Mahal was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The fanciful Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, GermanyPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout Neuschwanstein Castle Although it is called a castle, this building in Schwangau, Germany is not a medieval fortress. With towering white turrets, Neuschwanstein Castle is a fanciful 19th century palace built for Ludwig II of Bavaria. Ludwig II died before his romantic home was completed. Eventually the graceful building was named Neuschwanstein, which means new swan stone.
In 2007, Neuschwanstein Castle was named a finalist in the campaign to designate New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Parthenon Temple crowns the Acropolis in Athens, GreecePress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout the Acropolis in Athens, Greece Acropolis means high city in Greek. There are many acropoleis in Greece, but the Athens Acropolis, or Citadel of Athens, is the most famous. The Acopolis in Athens was built on top of what is known as the Sacred Rock, and it was supposed to radiate power and protection for its citizens.
The Athens Acropolis is home to many important archaeological sites. The most famous is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. Much of the original Acropolis was destroyed in 480 BC when Persians invaded Athens. Many temples, including the Parthenon, were rebuilt during the Golden Age of Athens (460–430 BC) when Pericles was the ruler.
Phidias, a great Athenian sculptor, and two famous architects, Ictinus and Callicrates, played key roles in the reconstruction of the Acropolis. Construction on the new Parthenon began in 447 BC and was mostly completed in 438 BC.
Today, the Parthenon is an international symbol of Greek civilization and the temples of the Acropolis have become some of the world's most famous architectural landmarks. The Athens Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2007, the Athens Acropolis was designated a pre-eminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list, and was also named a finalist in a campaign to designate New 7 Wonders of the World. The Greek government is working to restore and preserve the ancient structures on the Acropolis.
Alhambra Palace, the Red Castle, in Granada, SpainPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAbout Alhambra Palace Perched on a hilly terrace on the southern edge of Granada, Spain, Alhambra is an ancient palace and fortress complex with stunning frescoes and interior details. The Alhambra Palace was first constructed in the mid-1300s for the last Muslim Emirs (kings) in Spain and the Nasrid Dynasty. Later, in the 16th century, Alhambra Palace was renovated and modified for King Charles V. As a result, European features mingle with some of the finest examples of Moorish architecture in world.
In the characteristic style of the Mudéjar (Muslims who remained in Europe), Alhambra Palace incorporates many traditional Islamic details:
For many centuries, Alhambra Palace was neglected. Scholars and archaeologists began restorations in the nineteenth century, today the Palace is a major tourist attraction. Along with the Generalife summer palace in Granada, Alhambra Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2007, Alhambra Palace was also named a finalist in a campaign to designate New 7 Wonders of the World.
Angkor, CambodiaPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationAngkor, Cambodia is the largest sacred temple complex in the world. Beautiful and ornate temples extend 40 miles (64 km) around the Cambodian village of Siem Reap. Ranging from simple brick towers to complicated stone structures, the temples were constructed between the 8th and 13th centuries.
The most famous temple in Angkor is Angkor Wat, a huge pyramid temple built by Suryavarman II between 1113 and 1150.
Easter Island StatuesPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationEaster Island, also known as Rapa Nui and Isla de Pascua, is an isolated island owned by Chili and located about 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from Chile and Tahiti. Polynesians traveled to Easter Island and formed a community that flourished between 1,000 and 1,500 AD. During this time, they carved more than 800 statues, or Moai, from porous rock volcanic rock.
The Moai of Easter Island stand as tall as 33 feet (10 metres) and weigh many tons. They resemble enormous heads with truncated torsos. Some faces were decorated with coral eyes. Archaeologists speculate that the Moai represented a god, a mythical creature, or a revered ancestor.
The Eiffel Tower, tallest structure in ParisPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationThe Eiffel Tower Pioneers Metal Construction The Industrial Revolution in Europe brought about a new trend: the use of metallurgy in construction. Because of this, the engineer's role became increasingly important, in some cases rivaling that of the architect. Built in 1889, Eiffel Tower in Paris is perhaps the most famous example of this new use for metal. The Tower is named after Gustave Eiffel, the architect, designer, and engineer.
Engineering the Eiffel Tower Rising 324 feet (1,063 meters), the Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris. For 40 years, it measured the tallest in the world. The metal lattice-work, formed with very pure structural iron, makes the tower both extremely light and able to withstand tremendous wind forces. The Eiffel Tower open to the wind, so when you stand near the top you may have the sensation that you are outside. The open structure also allows visitors to look "through" the tower - to stand in one part of the tower and look through the latticed wall or floor to another part.
The Eiffel Tower Becomes a Landmark The Eiffel Tower was originally built for the 1889 World Fair to commemorate 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. During construction, the Eiffel was considered an eyesore by the French, but the criticism died down once the tower was completed. In 2007, the Eiffel Tower was a finalist in a world-wide campaign to name New 7 Wonders of the World. Today, a trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, TurkeyPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationThe English name for Hagia Sophia is Divine Wisdom. In Latin, the cathedral is called Sancta Sophia. In Turkish the name is Ayasofya. But by any name, Hagia Sophia is an architectural treasure with remarkable examples of Byzantine mosaics.
Christian and Islamic art combine in the Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia was a great Christian cathedral until the mid-1400s. After the conquest of Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia became a mosque. Then, in 1935, the Hagia Sophia became a museum.
Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, JapanPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationThe words Kiyomizu, Kiyomizu-dera or Kiyomizudera can refer to several Buddhist temples, but the most famous is the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. In Japanese, kiyoi mizu means pure water.
Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple was constructed in 1633 on the foundations of a much earlier temple. A waterfall from adjacent hills tumbles into the temple complex. Leading into the temple is a wide veranda with hundreds of pillars.
St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, MoscowPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationCathedral Square in Russia's Kremlin has some of Russia's most important architecture, including:
Ivan IV built St. Basil's Cathedral to honor Russia's victory over the Tatars at Kazan. It is said that Ivan the Terrible had the architects blinded so that they could never again design a building so beautiful.
The Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral were finalists in a campaign to choose New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu (center) is the largest, oldest, and the best preserved of the three Pyramids of Giza, EgyptPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationIn the valley of Giza, Egypt are three large pyramids: the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Kafhre, and the Pyramid of Menkaura. Each Pyramid is a tomb constructed for an Egyptian king.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest, oldest, and the best preserved of the three Pyramids. Its enormous base covers approximately nine acres (392,040 square feet). Constructed in about 2560 BC, the Great Pyramid of Khufu is the only surviving monument from the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The other Wonders of the Ancient World were:
The Statue of Liberty in New York, USAPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld Foundation
Towering over Liberty Island in New York, the Statue of Liberty is recognized world-wide as a symbol of the United States. French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi designed the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from France to the United States.
Fast Facts About the Statue of Liberty Construction began in France in 1875. Ten years later, a French transport ship carried the statue to New York in 214 crates holding 350 separate pieces.
The Statue of Liberty was assembled on a pedestal designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt. The statue and pedestal were officially completed in 1886.
Stonehenge in Amesbury, United KingdomPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationStonehenge is made from 150 huge rocks set in a circular pattern on the Salisbury Plain in southern England. Most of Stonehenge was built in about 2000 BC.
Sydney Opera House, AustraliaPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationJørn Utzon began work on the Sydney Opera House in 1957, but controversy surrounded the construction. The modern expressionist building wasn't completed until 1973, under the direction of Peter Hall.
During recent years, updates and renovations to the shell-shaped theater have remained a subject of heated debate. Despite the many controversies, the Sydney Opera House is widely praised as one of the world's great landmarks. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007. The same year, the Sydney Opera became a finalist in the New 7 Wonders of the World campaign.
Timbuktu in Mali, West AfricaPress photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld FoundationThe name Timbuktu has taken on mythic meaning, suggesting a place that is very far away. The real Timbuktu lies in Mali, in West Africa. During medieval times, Timbuktu became a center for wealth, culture, art, and higher learning. Founded in the fourteenth century, the famous University of Sankore in Timbuktu drew scholars from far away.
The splendor of Timbuktu is reflected today in Timbuktu's fascinating Islamic architecture.