The Seven Wonders of Your World Global voting by 100 million people and travellers has seen the introduction of Seven New Wonders and this list has something for everyone. Almost all the new wonders are of a magical, religious or sacred nature. And all are sights of great beauty. The new Seven Wonders of the World are: the Great Wall of China, India's Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu in Peru, Brazil's Statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Colosseum in Rome, the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in Mexico and Jordan's Petra, while the Pyramids of Giza have achieved honorary status. Travel around the world with Flight Centre to each of these Wonders in our modern world. Machu Picchu, Peru Lost to the world for hundreds of years until the ruins were rediscovered in 1911, Machu Picchu (meaning old peak) is symbolic of the ancient Inca civilisation. Known as the ‘lost city of the Incas’ Machu Picchu was built in the fifteenth century during the height of the Inca Empire, and abandoned less than 100 years later, in the face of the Spanish conquest. Machu Picchu was built primarily as an astronomical observatory. The Intihuatana stone (meaning 'Hitching Post of the Sun') has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the equinoxes and other significant celestial periods. The ruins are also some of the most enigmatic in the world. Shamanic legend holds that should very sensitive visitors place their forehead on the Intihuatana stone, a doorway to the spirit world will open. So expect to feel a certain energy at Machu Picchu as you explore the palaces, baths, storage rooms, temples and houses of the ancient Incas The Great Wall of China China’s Great Wall is a series of stone and earthen buildings that were built between the 5th and 16th Centuries to protect the country’s northern borders from raiding Mongol hordes. This handsome, albeit irregular, construction of brick, stone, wood and mud rises along the mountainous paths and open plains. Built using the natural materials found in the area some parts of the Wall have faded into nothingness over time. But some sections, like the Simitai-Jinshanling Wall are fairly well preserved, and the Wall was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The Wall may have failed as a defense mechanism but it was a very effective communication tool. The game ‘chinese whispers’ or ‘broken telephone’ is said to have originated when soldiers stationed on the Wall passed on messages from one rampart to the next. By sending a runner along the Wall army units would be warned of enemy movements and be able to call for reinforcements. These watch towers were also used to send smoke signals, house troops and store weapons. Petra, Jordan The pink ruins of Petra is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be found 200 kilometres south of Amman, the capital. Petra's location in the Holy Land of Arabs, Christians and Jews has added enormously to its allure. The ruins are comprised of temples and tombs carved into the rock nearly 2000 years ago. Camel caravans passed through Petra, loaded with spices, textiles and incense making the city a junction for trade that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. The hand-chiseled ruins are testimony to Nabataean engineering and nearly 3000 tombs, dwellings, banquet halls, niches and altars, all elaborately carved, can be viewed. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro The statue of Christ, with arms wide open, welcomes visitors to Rio and has become the city’s top tourist attraction. It is also the iconic symbol of Brazil. The statue of Christ the Redeemer stands nearly 40 metres high on top of Mount Corcavado and weighs over 700 tons. The statue took over five years to complete and engineers had to build a road and rail line to facilitate the construction. It was inaugurated in 1931 and on the 75th anniversary a chapel under the statue was consecrated to allow Catholics to hold baptisms and weddings there. The Colosseum in Rome Ut quisquem vicerit occidat - Kill the loser whoever he may be The Colosseum, symbol of both the grandeur and the cruelty of the Roman Empire, was built nearly 2000 years ago. It stands as a reminder of a civilisation that imploded after centuries of debauched behaviour and countless conquests. The Colosseum was financed by the Roman victories in Judea and the pillage of the Temple of Jerusalem and was used to host gladiatorial shows and animal hunts. It is also believed that the Colosseum was the site of many Christians being martyred but this has not been proven. Either way the site was home to much blood shed and death. In 107 A.D. Trajan, the emperor Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus, is said to have celebrated his victories with contests involving over 11 000 animals and more than 10 000 gladiators over the cours of 123 days. Today the Colosseum is one of Rome’s best-known tourist attractions. The Taj Mahal mausoleum The Taj Mahal was constructed under the orders of the grief stricken emperor Shan Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz. Mumtaz died while giving birth to their 14th child, and was the emperor’s favourite wife. Built over a period of 16 years the mausoleum can be found north of Agra and attracts over three million visitors every year. The Taj incorporates many design traditions, drawing on Persian and Mughal influences, and the materials were sourced from India and the rest of Asia. More than 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials ranging from white marble to semi-precious stones like jade, crystal, sapphire and turquoise. The architectural beauty of the Taj Mahal is particularly evident at dawn and sunset, when the Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Jamuna River. And the remains of a beautiful, much loved woman lie in a crypt beneath the inner chamber, alongside her Shah. Chichen Itza, Mexico Marvel at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico, the centre of political, religious and military power in the Yucatan between 800 and 1200 A.D. While the rest of the known world was still in the midst of the Dark Ages, the Mayans had mapped the heavens, evolved a writing system and mastered mathematics. And developed the calendar we all use today. Strong Toltec influences at Chichen Itza reflect in the architecture and certain religious practises. The site shows evidence of large-scale human sacrifice with the Cenote of Sacrifice reserved for rituals involving their rain god. As the political base of ChichenItza expanded, the city added even more spectacular buildings: the Observatory, Kukulcan's Pyramid, the Temple of the Warriors, The Ball Court, and The Group of the Thousand Columns. The mighty Mayan civilisation started an inward decline from the late 1100’s and now only a few buildings remain as testament to this great nation. Only one of the original Seven Ancient Wonders, the Pyramids of Giza, is still standing. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Lighthouse of Alexandrian, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus have all been lost to time.
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