People love makings lists of the "best", the "biggest", the "oldest", and things that you have to see. The ancients were no different for they compiled a list that became known as the "The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". The list did not include natural features like waterfalls or gorges: It was to highlight only those things constructed by humans.
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World:
Although most people know that a list exists of the Seven World Wonders, only few can name them. The list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was originally compiled around the 2nd century BCE. The first reference to the idea is found in History of Herodotus as long ago as the 5th century BCE. Decades later, Greek historians wrote about the greatest monuments at the time. Callimachus of Cyrene (305 BCE-240 BCE), Chief Librarian at Alexandria, wrote "A Collection of Wonders around the World". All we know about the collection is its title, for it was destroyed with the Alexandria Library.
The final list of the Seven Wonders was compiled during the Middle Ages. The list comprised the seven most impressive monuments of the Ancient World, some of which barely survived to the Middle Ages. Others did not even co-exist. Among the oldest references to the canonical list are the engravings by the Dutch artist Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), and Johann Fischer von Erlach's History of Architecture.
Today, archaeological evidence reveals some of the mysteries that surrounded the history of the Wonders for centuries. For their builders, the Seven Wonders were a celebration of religion, mythology, art, power, and science. For us, they reflect the ability of humans to change the surrounding landscape by building massive yet beautiful structures, one of which stood the test of time to this very day.
Of these, only the Pyramids and a piece of the Temple at Ephesus are visible today.
Seven Wonders of the Modern World:
In order to make the listing of wonders more current and approachable, an international organization created a New Seven Wonders of the World. From some 200 nominations worldwide, it reduced its list of candidates to these 21 (7 * 3) places:
Its website is
http://www.new7wonders.com/ and it accepted votes until
07.07.07 (three 7s). This list contained only those
In 2007, I voted for the Taj Mahal:
The new list was revealed on 07/07/07. In addition to the Pyramids of Giza, the new listing is:
There are thousands of books that offer lists of places to see and things to do.
As a travel guide, we enjoy and use "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" by Patricia Schultz.