Before this trip, I didn't know anything about the seven wonders of the world. Wasn't King Kong the 8th? And Chyna from the WWF was the 9th, right? Anyway, unless you're a historian or really damn good at Trivial Pursuit, you probably couldn't name the original 7 wonders. They are:
- The Great Pyramids of Giza
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- The Colossus of Rhodes
- The Pharos of Alexandria
I probably would have gotten the pyramids. Turns out every item on the list except for the pyramids are gone. They were destroyed through the years by wars, erosion or natural disasters. Since then, there have been debates on what the "new" seven wonders of the world are/should be. Some even argued the original list as the Greeks didn't know about everything - like, say, the Great Wall of China.
In modern times, there are differing opinions on the "new" seven, and an endless number of lists. There are lists for Underwater Wonders, Natural Wonders, Modern Wonders, Forgotten Wonders, Forgotten Natural wonders, etc.
A few months ago, an international organization set up a site where people from around the world could vote for what they thought to be the seven wonders of the world. Hundreds of options were whittled down to 21 finalists, with the top vote-getters being named the "New 7." If you'd like to see the site, you can visit it here.
Now, as with any type of public online voting system, the process was flawed, and inherently arguable. As you might expect, voting in the areas containing the wonders was disproportionately high. There was even some campaigning in Jordan. Voting in the United States was very low. As only around 25% of Americans have a passport, it's not surprising.
Regardless, there are "officially" Seven "New" Wonders of the World. I don't necessarily agree with all of them, but they are all pretty spectacular. If you don't know them all by heart, I'll walk you through them:
The Colosseum - Italy
Machu Picchu - Peru
The Great Wall - China
The Statue of Cristo Redentor - Brazil
Petra - Jordan
The Taj Mahal - India
Chichen Itza - Mexico
I certainly didn't set out to see everything on the new list - the voting wasn't even finished until the summer. It just sort of happened. Funny how things work out.