Kate Shrewsday’s recent post ‘Seven wonders’ couldn’t have appeared at a more apt time for me. Coincidentally, that is, as I’m in the process of telling a tale featuring the Greek Gods and vast journeys across the years.

Also coincidentally (or maybe not) is the fact that the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World from the original list is the Pyramid at Giza. A wonder that I have been able to see with my own eyes. In fact, I actually got to touch it with my own hands (well, one of the pyramids there, anyway!) All that history within such a giant structure was at my fingertips. I suppose that is one way of connecting with the past on an epic scale.

Kate’s post caused me to wonder about an updated Seven Wonders list. The fact that Kate mentioned updated lists in her post wasn’t exactly missed by me, but it wasn’t noticed completely when I first read her words. I went off on a tangent, wondering if the latest list had actually been created, or if it had appeared merely as part of one of my dreams.

Away I went, in search of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Apparently, there are eight of them now. Well, seven and an honorary one. The honorary one being the last remaining original Wonder, the pyramids.

What I found interesting is that the new wonders represent seven human virtues:

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, represents passion; the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, represents joy; the statue of Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, represents openness; Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico, represents knowledge; Machu Picchu in Cuzco, Peru, represents dedication; the Great Wall of China represents perseverance; and Petra, in Jordan, represents protection.

When I was younger, I could never name all of the original Seven Wonders. I’d still have to look them up now if asked, although I could name a couple more than I used to manage. Although, I always thought the Great Wall of China was an original Wonder, so that confuses things somewhat with the updated list.

Machu Picchu is on my to do list, and I’m sure I’ll get there one day, so I’m pleased that has become a Wonder. When I finally get there, I’ll have experienced a wonder from both lists… however, that is not a plan for my immediate future.

The seven ‘new’ wonders were shortlisted from a list of 21 ‘finalists’ which included wonders old and new. One of which is here in the UK. Representing intrigue and endurance, Stonehenge therefore must be classed as one of the twenty-one wonders of the world.

The original Henge was built sometime around 3100BC, with the current Henge, the stone circle, being started around 2150BC. The Pyramid of Giza was completed around 2560BC, somewhere in the middle!

I haven’t actually been to the site of Stonehenge, although I have driven passed it once (actually stopping to view the stones from the side of the road) so I’ll class that as experiencing it anyway. I remember standing, looking on in awe at the stones, actually seeing them for myself rather than just in a photo. I love the mysticism associated with Stonehenge, and, of course, the history. I’d love for the theory of stone tape recording to be proved, and enhanced to be able to show what the stones, and other ancient sites have been witness to over the years… I think that would be well worth seeing!

Other finalists, or others included in the twenty-one wonders, include the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA, another site I have experienced first-hand! The statue represents the virtue of generosity and hope, and is a very modern inclusion to the list of wonders. Other modern day wonders are the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, and the Opera House, at Sydney, Australia, representing challenge and progress, and abstraction and creativity respectively.

One final wonder I have to mention is, or are, the Easter Island statues, in Chile, which represent mystery and awe. They, in comparison to Stonehenge and the Pyramid at Giza, are actually quite modern to the world, being carved between 1250 and 1500AD by Polynesian colonisers to the island. I think I’ll add this to my list of things to see in person as well…

And, finally, here are the twenty-one Wonders of the World, with their virtues:

Acropolis, Athens, Greece Civilization & Democracy
Alhambra, Granada, Spain Dignity & Dialogue
Angkor, Cambodia Beauty & Sanctity
Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico Worship & Knowledge
Christ Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Welcoming & Openness
Colosseum, Rome, Italy Joy & Suffering
Easter Island Statues, Chile Mystery & Awe
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France Challenge & Progress
Great Wall, China Perseverance & Persistence
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey Faith & Respect
Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan Clarity & Sanctity
Kremlin/St.Basil, Moscow, Russia Fortitude & Symbolism
Machu Picchu, Peru Community & Dedication
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany Fantasy & Imagination
Petra, Jordan Engineering & Protection
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt Immortality & Eternity
Statue of Liberty, New York, USA Generosity & Hope
Stonehenge, Amesbury, United Kingdom Intrigue & Endurance
Sydney Opera House, Australia Abstraction & Creativity
Taj Mahal, Agra, India Love & Passion
Timbuktu, Mali Intellect & Mysticism

40 thoughts

  1. Good stuff Tom….Machu picchu is a dream for me. I best hurry up while my old legs are still working. Such a magical place indeed. Talk about opening up to new gateways! Good place for a spiritual story line (hint)….. VK


    1. I’ve noticed your hint there, VK, and I’ve made a special note of possibly using Machu Picchu as a setting for part of a story… we’ll see!
      It does have a certain mystical pull to it, doesn’t it? I really would love to go there one day!
      Thanks for commenting!


  2. Hey, no sweat. I was proud when I correctly named the seven continents the other day. Also, “one way of connecting with the past on an epic scale” – I’d say so. Jealous.


    1. Hi Becca! The Pyramids were amazing to see first hand!
      I thought I was OK with the continents but could only get to six just then when I thought about them… so good on you for naming the seven. Did you know that all of the continents begin with and end with the same letter? Just a little bit of useless trivia there, if you weren’t aware!


  3. Hi, Tom, great post, and thank you for this incredibly comprehensive update! I love the idea of each wonder being linked with a quality.

    I always love the fact that Stonehenge is more or less opposite a pig farm. Keeps our feet planted firmly on the ground, that does. It also prompts endurance on the part of the noses of parting motorists.

    I must not leave without reminding everyone that the original challenge came from Side View’s weekend theme – “The Seven Wonders of My World – http://viewfromtheside.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/weekend-theme-84/


    1. In that case, thanks also to Side View for suggesting the theme!
      When I was stood on the road by Stonehenge, Kate, the wind must have been going in the other direction… I had no idea it was near a pig farm! You learn something new every day!


  4. What an interesting update! I can’t remember the original wonders of the world either; the only one that comes immediately to mind is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. And I’m sad to say I haven’t seen any of the wonders yet, but there’s still time… 🙂


    1. Well, there’s only the Pyramids left intact, Diane. I’m not sure if any of the others still exist… I’m pretty sure the Hanging Gardens are no longer there.
      But yes, there’s still time… and there are more winders to see now as well!
      Thanks for commenting, Diane.


  5. Tom, your research was great fun. I had no idea that the wonders represented virtues. Who decided the virtue for each wonder? Is there a committee somewhere out there that votes on what makes a wonder a wonder?


          1. I’ll resist asking the significance of the seven wonders being declared on 07.07.07 partly out of fear of getting smacked upside the head with a roll of McVittie’s biscuits Tom.


        1. I’ve never visited the Great Wall, Sideview, but it does look quite impressive when I’ve seen it in movies / pictures (and I’m sure I had a dream about it once, too – it was very impressive there!)
          The statue of liberty is more an ornament than a wonder though, still good to look at, I must add, and it does stand out as a unique symbol, but there really is no way to compare the two.


          1. I’ve only visited one stretch of the great wall, and I was so amazed at the long stretch of wall, built up on top of the mountain ridges.
            The ‘wall’ too high to be climbed from the outside, wide enough between the two sides for multiple people to walk abrest. the height of steps such that with my short legs it was an effort to climb them. Just how on earth they built a;ll that for mile after mile is truly amazing


  6. I always thought that Stonehenge and the Great wall of China were part of the Original as well! Hmm..Loved the article and as a commenter commented it is wonderful that the sites were chosen by linking virtues to them as well. A story based on Machu Picchu would be interesting! I’ve never been to Egypt and haven’t actually had the opportunity to visit any of the seven wonders old and new…but I’m sure I must have…in some lifetime or the other 😉 (like most of us I’m sure!)


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