Visiting the Seven Wonders of the World is something we should all be crossing off our bucket lists. These impressive monuments to human innovation crisscross the globe, imbuing their locations with beauty and—in some cases—mystery. You can explore such diverse sites as the Incan Machu Picchu, the impossibly tall Christ Redeemer in Rio, or the Great Wall of China. All seven locations are also great points to build a vacation around.
This magnificent creation by the Inca Empire is nestled in a lush mountain forest on the Eastern slopes of the Andes. You can explore the approximately 200 structures and try to figure out what role they played in the ancient Incan society—a mystery that lasts until today. Machu Picchu is also a great site to build a Peruvian vacation around. You’ll get to see the Andes, the forest, and can explore both city and rural life.
The Roman Colosseum
This 2000-year-old amphitheatre is one of the most recognizable buildings in Rome. It was capable of holding 50,000 people—45,000 sitting and 5,000 standing—and remains a truly impressive, and significant, example of ancient architecture. Despite being looted and partly destroyed, the Colosseum has provided great insight into the Roman Empire—making it the perfect destination for a history nut or antiquities enthusiast.
This magnificent example of Muslim art is considered one of the greatest achievements in Indo-Islamic architecture. Built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the intricate design and expansive grounds were made to impress. While many choose to make the Taj Mahal their only stop when they come to the city of Agra, there’s much more to see! Spend a day or two and check out the nearby ruined city of Fatehpur Sikri, or the city’s stunning Mughal fort.
The stone structures that make up this site were sacred to the Mayans and functioned as the urban centre for the empire. They are a testament to the society’s advanced understanding of astronomy: the central pyramid has 365 steps—one for each day of the year—and on the spring and autumn equinoxes a snake-shaped shadow falls on the structure, making its way down the steps to meet a stone snake at the base of the structure as the sun crosses the sky. Beyond being truly fascinating, Chichén Itzá is also very close to Cancun so you can hit the beach after a day exploring!
Christ the Redeemer
One of the largest sculptures in the world, this 98-feet behemoth was built so that it could be seen anywhere in Rio. The youngest wonder of the world is a stunning example of Art Deco artistry and was recently refurbished to its original glory. Planning a trip to see this wonder also means planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro, so consider timing it during their famous Carnival or NYE celebrations.
The Great Wall of China
What is there to say about the Great Wall of China? It’s stunning to behold, really cool to walk across, and can apparently be seen from outer space. Constructed to act as a unified defense mechanism to the north, the wall was continuously built from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD. Its military significance is only matched by its architectural perfection. You can jump on in Beijing and explore for an afternoon, and then take other nearby sites like the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.
Many might recognize Petra’s façade from Indiana Jones, but they may not know about the impressive monuments hidden within this desert city. It was the crux of an ancient (and very important) trading route, and very well hidden—it was only discovered in 1812 so it’s in excellent shape. The site covers 50-square-kilometers and contains tombs, religious high places, a theatre, a Nymphaeum and baths, as well as a Byzantine church. Because of its location and the current climate in the Middle East, the site is also not overrun with tourists. While there aren’t any specific travel warnings for the area, you should always research the area before visiting.
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