Wonders of the New World
Seven Natural Wonders of the World
- Mount Everest in Nepal.
- Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe.
- Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.
- Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
- Northern Lights.
- Paricutin volcano in Mexico.
- Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Here’s a look at the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
This massive gorge in Arizona created by the Colorado River spans 277 miles with widths from four to 18 miles and a depth of one mile. Most is contained within Grand Canyon National Park. Perhaps the best way to see it is from the South Rim.
This active volcano in Michoacan, Mexico, is the youngest in North America. The 9,101-foot cinder cone volcano last erupted in 1952 and is the first birth of a volcano witnessed by humans. Within its first year, it reached three-fourths of its current size. A 12-mile trip around the top of volcano can be done by hiking or horseback.
This waterfall in southern Africa borders Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is one mile wide and 360 feet high, making it the largest waterfall in the world. The falls are bordered by natural parks in both countries. A view of the falls gives you a chance to see hippos, elephants and other “Big 5” wildlife along the way.
The highest mountain in the world reaches 29,029 feet in the Himalaya Mountains on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Guided flights of Mount Everest can take you around the mountain, while the more adventuresome will want to hike to the base of the mountain.
Great Barrier Reef
Spanning 133,000 square miles, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world and contains more than 2,900 separate reefs, 900 islands and supports one of the most diverse eco-systems in the world. The stretch of 1,600 miles can be seen from outer space. Located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, the best way to see it is by snorkeling or scuba diving for a view of the fish, coral and marine life.
Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
This bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is surrounded by mountains and is the largest bay in the world based on the volume of water. Also known as Guanabara Bay, the harbor features granite monolith mountains such as Sugar Loaf Mountain at 1,296 feet, Corcovado Peak at 2,310 feet and the hills of Tijuca at 3,350 feet. Get up high to take in the entire harbor or visit one of the islands that dot the bay.
The classic seven wonders were:
- Great Pyramid of Giza.
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia.
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
- Colossus of Rhodes.
- Lighthouse of Alexandria.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (often called simply, the Seven Wonders of the World) is a list of man-made structures built during the classical era. Scholars believe that ancient historians began compiling the list in the second century B.C. The final list of the Seven Wonders that we currently reference was defined in the Middle Ages.
The Great Pyramid at Giza
Noted for being the only surviving member of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid is the largest of the 3 pyramids built in the ancient city of Giza, now part of greater Cairo, Egypt. The pyramid is believed to have been built around 2560 B.C. as a tomb for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, and likely took 20 years to construct. (Egyptologists argue over man-power numbers, and estimates have ranged from 14,000 to 360,000 men). When built, the pyramid measured nearly 480 feet high, with the sides each measuring about 755 feet long. In addition, each side is oriented with one of the cardinal points (north, south, east and west). Nearly 2.3 million blocks of stone, each weighing approximately 2 tons, comprise the pyramid. The pyramid remained the world’s tallest building for 4 millennia after it was built.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have been built by Nebuchadnezzar II, a ruler of Babylon, around 600 B.C. Though historians often debate the actual existence of the gardens, because there’s no physical evidence and Babylonian documents never mention them (Greek scholars first described the gardens), accounts state that the gardens consisted of vaulted terraces raised above one another and supported on pillars — in other words, an artificial rising mountain of gardens. The terraces were filled with dirt and planted with trees and flora, which were said to hang over the sides. The amazement over the gardens stems from what would have been an extraordinarily complicated irrigation system, which brought water from the Euphrates to the gardens in an otherwise arid environment. The gardens are thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake around the first century B.C.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Completed around 550 B.C. to honor the Greek goddess of hunting and nature, the Temple of Artemis was built during the Achaemenid Dynasty of the Persian Empire. Arson destroyed the temple in 356 B.C. The ancient author and philosopher Pliny described the temple as being 377 feet long and 180 feet wide (about 3 times the size of the Parthenon), with 127 Ionic columns measuring 60 feet high, and made solely of marble. Used as both a marketplace and a place of worship, the temple housed numerous works of art and sculpture.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
This enormous statue honoring the god Zeus was built at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia around 450 B.C. Designed by the Greek sculptor Pheidias, the statue of a seated Zeus measured 40 feet tall and was carved from ivory with gold-plated accents. The statue depicts him seated on a cedar throne inlaid with jewels, holding a statue of Nike (goddess of victory) in his right hand and a scepter with an eagle on top in his left hand. Various theories exist to explain the statue’s destruction. Some scholars believe that it was destroyed along with the temple in the fifth century. Others argue that the statue was brought to Constantinople, where it was destroyed in a fire in A.D. 462.
Tomb of Maussollos at Halicarnassus
The tomb built to hold the remains of the Persian king Mausollos and his wife, Artemisia, was designed by the Greek architects Satyrus and Pythius and constructed around 353 B.C. on a hill overlooking the ancient city of Halicarnassus. The tomb stood 135 feet high, and its exterior was surrounded by an ornamental frieze. Numerous statues, bas-reliefs and columns decorated the exterior of the ornate and enormous tomb, and eventually the term “mausoleum” became used to describe any large and impressive tomb. Multiple earthquakes ultimately led to the destruction of the tomb in the 14th century.
Colossus at Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was actually an enormous, looming 100-foot tall statue of the Greek god Helios, built on the island of Rhodes around 280 B.C. The statue was erected to commemorate the island’s patron god, Helios, after Rhodes successfully defended itself in 304 B.C. from an invasion. Scholars believe that the statue stood either on a pedestal at the entrance to the island’s harbor or on a breakwater in the harbor. An earthquake destroyed the statue in 226 B.C., a mere 54 years after its construction.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Pharos Island, Alexandria, Egypt
Scholars estimate the Lighthouse of Alexandria measured between 383 and 450 feet high and was built in the third century B.C. to act as a landmark for Pharos, a small island off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. The lighthouse’s tower was built using light-colored stone, and at its highest point, a mirror was placed to reflect sunlight during the day; at night a fire burned to give off light. Some historians believe that the light given off could be seen for some 35 miles. The lighthouse was damaged by 2 earthquakes in 1303 and 1323, and its remains were destroyed in 1480, when a fort was built on the site.
Wonders of the United States
7 Must See Wonders in the United States
If you want to confine your travels to must-see historical and natural sites in the United States, there’s plenty to see. Check out iconic monuments and nature at some of these must-see landmarks that showcase our country’s beauty and historical significance in all their glory. Take a look at these epic seven attractions offering a variety experiences that are truly a slice of Americana.
The most powerful falls in North America straddle the border between Canada and the United States in the twin cities of Niagara, N.Y., and Niagara, Ontario. Every minute, as much as six million cubic feet of water plummets over the gorge. The Niagra Falls are made up of two sections separated by Goat Island. Be sure to drive over the Canada for the view from there, as well.
Sixty-foot heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln make up the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota. Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln Borglum carved the faces between 1927 and 1939. About two million people visit the monument in the Black Hills every year.
The highest mountain in North America sits in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, has a summit elevation of 20,320 feet above sea level. The entire park covers 9,429 miles, giving you more than enough places to explore.
Yellowstone National Park
The first national park in the world was established March 1, 1872 by Ulysses S. Grant. Sitting mostly in Wyoming, parts of the vastness extend into Montana and Idaho. Once used as a laundry, Old Faithful Geyser is the most popular attraction in Yellowstone National Park, where you can see wildlife galore and different ecosystems. Lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges make up the rest of the 3,468-square-mile park.
While the Taj Majal and Great Pyramids memorialize individuals, so too does the Washington Monument, a tribute to the life of America’s first president George Washington. The 555-foot tall monument in Washington, D.C., contains more than 36,000 blocks. Architect Robert Mills won a contest to design the obelisk. Construction started in 1848 and was completed in 1884, nearly 30 years after the architect’s death.
The 726-foot high Hoover Dam has been called one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century. The dam sits on the border of Arizona and Nevada about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, backing up water from the Colorado River and creating Lake Mead. Construction began in 1930 by the Six Companies and finished in five years, nearly two years ahead of schedule.
You might remember this monument from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” One of the nation’s most interesting rock formations rises 1,267 feet above the surrounding terrain with a summit at 5,112 feet. Devils Tower in the Black Hills of South Dakota was called Bear Lodge by the Lakota Indians for its striking surface that looks as if it was clawed by a bear. In reality, it’s a volcanic neck.
Seven Man-made Wonders of the New World
Take an inside look at 7 man-made wonders of the US. From a sculpture carved out of a mountain to bridges of magnificent beauty, these wonders are marvels of engineering and design and works of pure genius.
Where: East River, Park Row, Manhattan to Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY
In the early 1800s, the residents of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan discussed the idea of a bridge to link the 2 cities together — allowing people and goods to easily cross the East River. After multiple attempts to get something underway, John Roebling, a bridge designer, proposed a suspension bridge in 1855. Believe it or not, he actually designed the bridge hoping that it would be perceived as a great work of art one day. The proposal was approved 2 years later and work began on Jan. 3, 1870. Roebling had since passed away, so his son, Washington, took over as chief engineer of the project with help from his wife, Emily. Even before it opened in 1883, the bridge was seen as a symbol of greatness in New York, but folks across America were also mesmerized by the size and ingenuity of the project. Today, the bridge is a National Historic Landmark and still has the 44th longest main span among the world’s suspension bridges.
Empire State Building
Where: 350 5th Avenue, New York, NY
Built during the Depression, the Empire State Building is a work of determination and pride both in New York and U.S. history. It all started when the Chrysler Corporation and General Motors were in competition to build the tallest building. Architect William Lamb was chosen to design the building and construction began in March 1930. By October that same year, 88 floors were finished with just 14 left to go. Workers were able to maintain this speedy construction pace since the posts, beams and windows were made in factories and then brought in by train to be put up on site. During the time the building was built, there was much talk among New Yorkers and Americans across the country about the incredible speed at which the building was being constructed, as well as weekly updates and stories about the men who built it. The Empire State Building is also a National Historic Landmark.
Golden Gate Bridge
Where: Located on US Highway 101 in San Francisco, CA
Millions of visitors each year flock to San Francisco for warmer weather, unique attractions and to see the Golden Gate Bridge. It was Joseph Strauss who submitted final plans for the bridge in 1930. The 6 counties involved with the bridge approved the $35 million project, and on Jan. 5, 1933, construction began. Just a few short years later, in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge welcomed its first visitor. To everyone’s surprise, it opened ahead of schedule and under budget. Since then, the bridge has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, such as the first non-building structure to receive the “Distinguished Building Award” from the Society of American Registered Architects. The bridge can also be found on a commemorative stamp unveiled in 1998 by the United States Postal Service.
Where: The dam is located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas on US Highway 93 at the Nevada-Arizona border.
It took over 60 years from the time Maj. John Wesley Powell began to conduct geological studies of the Colorado River in 1869, to the concrete being poured in 1933, for Hoover Dam to be materialized. During this time the 7 basin states had to go through lengthy negotiations on how the water would be distributed, and of course, there were bidding wars on what construction company would get the job. In the end, a group called Six Companies was awarded the contract — the winning bid was over $48 million. Despite the long years of bids, planning, site inspections and more, it took just five years to complete the mammoth structure. Today, the dam is a testament to the dedication of the country’s ability to construct such a structure, especially during the years of the Depression. Hoover Dam is also a National Historic Landmark.
Where: The Black Hills of South Dakota, along Highway 244
The location of Mount Rushmore was once property of the Sioux, including an area called the Black Hills. But once gold was discovered there, prospectors soon displaced the Sioux and began building mining camps. In 1885, an American businessman named Charles Rushmore paid a visit to the Black Hills to check on some titles to properties for a mining company. It was a few years later, after winning over the hearts of the miners and prospectors, that the mountain was named in his honor. So how did those faces end up on the rock? Historian Doane Robinson, in 1923, started the process that later turned into the Mount Harney Bill, allowing a monument to be carved. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum arrived two years later to begin the carving. The monument was officially completed on Oct. 31, 1941. Today, Mount Rushmore sees over 2.6 million visitors per year.
Seattle Space Needle
Where: 219 4th Avenue N, Seattle, WA
Designed for the 1962 World’s Fair by Edward E. Carlson, this 605-foot-tall structure was to represent the future but quickly became a symbol for the city of Seattle. The structure is designed to withstand winds of 200 miles per hour, but earth tremors and storms have caused the structure to sway occasionally and close for a day or two. Today, the Space Needle is getting a face-lift as the city of Seattle begins to revitalize the entire centerpiece, including the observation deck, restaurant and surrounding grounds.
Where: 15th Street, SW, Washington, DC
It doesn’t matter what part of the world people come from, one sight of this obelisk design and they know they’re in America. Similar to other memorials such as the Taj Mahal or the Great Pyramids, the Washington Monument is a celebration of 1 person’s life or legacy — in this case, the life of America’s first president, George Washington. Architect Robert Mills won a contest to design the sculpture. It was intended to be the centerpiece of the capital city, symbolizing each state of the Union. Work on the monument began in 1843, and was completed in 1884. It is 555 feet tall and contains over 36,000 blocks.
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