Everyone has heard of the “Seven wonders of the World”, but few know how they came to be known as such. There is a bit of history behind the famous list that has been handed down to us today. The very first list of ancient wonders is lost to us today. It was composed by Greek historians who decided that monuments which met high standards of beauty and design should be commemorated as “Wonders” of the world. It was actually a much longer list than the seven which we know of today.
The surviving list was altered in the middle ages by the Roman Catholic Church. This list, referred to as the Canonical list of wonders, is the one which most of us know today. The church compiled a list gathered from over 14 different authors and chose those that reflected beauty, splendor, magnitude and the technological prowess of the ages. Though only one of these seven actually still exists today, the Seven Wonders of the World are still considered an important part of learning ancient history.
The list of Ancient Wonders includes:
1. The Great Pyramid of Giza
2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
3. The Statue of Zeus of Olympia
4. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
6. The Colossus of Rhodes
7. The Lighthouse of Alexandria
All of these monuments were chosen as great works of art and architecture. The list builders felt these monuments reflected the greatness of the ancient world and stood as shining examples of mans ingenuity. These same requirements are used to today to determine if a monument can attain the level needed to be called a world wonder.
A new list of Modern monuments was created in 2007 by a private foundation called New7wonders in Switzerland. The project used a popularity poll to determine the final candidates for the new list which it was hoped would compile the Ancient Wonders with modern monuments of similar magnitude. In order to be included on the list, the following criteria had to be met: The structure had to be man made, should have been completed before the year 2000 and must be in an acceptable state of preservation. The structures also had to be of significant magnitude, show impressive technological advancement for the era in which they were constructed, and exhibit impressive beauty in their architectural design.
The following list was published as the modern list of world wonders:
1. Chichen Itza in Yucatan Mexico
2. Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3. The Coliseum in Rome, Italy
4. The Great Wall of China in China
5. Machu Picchu in Cuzco, Peru
6. Petra in Jordan
7. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India
It seems that throughout history, these same standards have held fast in determining if a monument can be considered a work worthy of the title “Wonder”.