Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled over the ages to catalogue the most spectacular man-made constructions and natural things in the world.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable man-made creations of classical antiquity, and was based on guide-books popular among Hellenic sight-seers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it to be the representation of perfection and plenty. Many similar lists have been made, including lists for the Medieval World and the Modern World.
The historian Herodotus (484—ca. 425 BCE), and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene (ca. 305—240 BCE) at the Museum of Alexandria, made early lists of Seven wonders but their writings have not survived, except as references. The seven wonders included:
The Greek category was not Wonders but "thaumata"(Greek: Θαύματα), which translates closer to "things to be seen". The list that we know today was compiled in the Middle Ages—by which time many of the sites were no longer in existence. Today, the only ancient world wonder that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Many lists of wonders of the world are said to have existed during the Middle Ages, although it is unlikely that these lists originated at that time because the word medieval was not even invented until the Enlightenment-era, and the concept of a Middle Age did not become popular until the 16th century. Brewer's refers to them as "later list[s]" suggesting the lists were created after the Middle Ages.
Many of the structures on these lists were built much earlier than the Medieval Ages, but were well known. These lists go by names such as Wonders of the Middle Ages (implying no specific limitation to seven), Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages, Medieval Mind and Architectural Wonders of the Middle Ages.
Other sites sometimes included on such lists:
Many lists have been made of the greatest structures built during modern times or of the greatest wonders existing today. Some of the most notable lists are presented below.
|Wonder||Date Started||Date Finished||Location|
|Channel Tunnel||December 1, 1987||May 6, 1994||Strait of Dover, between the United Kingdom and France|
|CN Tower||February 6, 1973||June 26, 1976, tallest freestanding structure in the world 1976–2007.||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Empire State Building||January 22, 1930||May 1, 1931, Tallest structure in the world 1931–1967. First building with 100+ stories.||New York, NY, U.S.|
|Golden Gate Bridge||January 5, 1933||May 27, 1937||Golden Gate Strait, north of San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Itaipu Dam||January 1970||May 5, 1984||Paraná River, between Brazil and Paraguay|
|Delta Works/ Zuiderzee Works||1950||May 10, 1997||Netherlands|
|Panama Canal||January 1, 1880||January 7, 1914||Isthmus of Panama|
In 2001 an initiative was started by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation to choose the New Seven Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments for profit. Twenty-one finalists were announced January 1, 2006. Egypt was not happy with the fact that the only original wonder would have to compete with the likes of the Statue of Liberty, the Sydney Opera House, and other landmarks; and called the project absurd. To solve this, Giza was named an honorary Candidate. The results were announced on July 7, 2007:
|Wonder||Date of construction||Location|
|Great Wall of China||5th century BCE – 16th century CE||China|
|Christ the Redeemer||Opened 12 October 1931||Brazil|
|Machu Picchu||c.1450 CE||Peru|
|Chichen Itza||c.600 CE||Mexico|
|Roman Colosseum||Completed 80 CE||Italy|
|Taj Mahal||Completed c.1648 CE||India|
|Great Pyramid (Honorary Candidate)||Completed c.2560 BCE||Egypt|
In November 2006 the American national newspaper USA Today in conjunction with the American television show Good Morning America revealed a list of New Seven Wonders as chosen by six judges. The wonders were announced one per day over a week on Good Morning America. An eighth wonder was chosen on November 24, 2006 from viewer feedback.
|1||Potala Palace||Lhasa, Tibet, China|
|2||Old City of Jerusalem||Jerusalem, Israel|
|3||Polar ice caps||Polar regions|
|4||Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument||Hawaii, United States|
|6||Maya ruins||Yucatán Peninsula, México|
|7||Great Migration of Serengeti and Masai Mara||Tanzania and Kenya|
|8||Grand Canyon (viewer-chosen eighth wonder)||Arizona, United States|
Similar to the other lists of wonders, there is no consensus on a list of seven natural wonders of the world, as there has been debate over how large the list should be. One of the many lists was compiled by CNN:
New7Wonders of Nature is a contemporary effort to create a list of seven natural wonders chosen by people through a global poll, organized by New Open World Corporation (NOWC), which ran the New Seven Wonders of the World campaign.
The Seven Underwater Wonders of the World was a list drawn up by CEDAM International, an American-based non-profit group for divers, dedicated to ocean preservation and research.
In 1989 CEDAM brought together a panel of marine scientists, including Dr. Eugenie Clark, to pick underwater areas which they considered to be worthy of protection. The results were announced at The National Aquarium in Washington DC by actor Lloyd Bridges, star of TV's Sea Hunt:
British author Deborah Cadbury wrote Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, a book telling the stories of seven great feats of engineering of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 2003 the BBC made a seven-part documentary series on the book, with each episode dramatising the construction one of the wonders. The seven industrial wonders are: