Tuesday, July 23, 2019 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

The 7 Wonders of the World Just Aren’t What They Used to Be

The original seven wonders of the world included the hanging gardens of Babylon and the ancient pyramids of Giza. The year was 250 B.C. and the prestigious list was compiled at the sole discretion of Philo of Byzantium who most likely could not find a worthy enough eighth wonder. The world was young.

For the sake of our being creatures of habit, the list remains limited to seven, but it did receive a much-needed overhaul in 2007 thanks to an online contest hosted by The New 7 Wonders Foundation. The foundation, located in Switzerland, let the world decide. Tens of millions of votes were cast, many for already well-known architectural feats of enormous proportions, some for relatively unknown structures, and a bulk of them for the never before heard of.

The dubious title winners were the Great Wall of China (China), the Taj Mahal (India), Petra (Jordan), the Colosseum (Italy), Christ the Redeemer (Brazil), Chichen Itza (Mexico), and Machu Picchu (Peru). These wondrous sites see a greater consolidation of tourists than any other world attractions. Their footpaths are well-traveled.

But let’s have a look at some of the nominees not making the final cut. Somebody somewhere thought their losing entry was special enough to suggest it. Maybe it was. Just like The New 7 Wonders Foundation allowed people to do, you be the judge.
 
Angkor Wat – Cambodia

If there were an eighth spot on the list, Angkor Wat would claim it. The largest religious structure in the entire world, it was erected by the Khmer Empire as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, sometime during the early 12th-century. The entire structure is surrounded by a moat and a wall measuring 2.2-miles.

The structure was rededicated to Buddha toward the end of the 12th century and now appears on the Cambodian National flag as a symbol of their country. Angkor Wat stands oriented to the west unlike other Angkorian temples facing east. Scholars throughout the centuries have remained puzzled as to the significance of this, and so shall they remain.
of the nominees not making the final cut. Somebody somewhere thought their losing entry was special enough to suggest it. Maybe it was. Just like The New 7 Wonders Foundation allowed people to do, you be the judge. 
Angkor Wat   Cambodia
Eiffel Tower – France

How the Eiffel Tower didn’t make the list of seven world wonders is beyond comprehension. Constructed in 1889 by engineer Gustav Eiffel for the Worlds Fair, the solid steel landmark looms 1,036 feet over the Paris skyline making it the tallest structure in town, and the second tallest in France. The Eiffel Tower receives more visitors than any other paid attraction in the world.

When designing the tower, Gustav Eiffel consulted with a structural engineer by the name of Maurice Koechlin. The Eiffel Tower took two-years and 2.5-million rivets to complete. Eiffel and Koechlin later teamed up again to create the armature for the Statue of Liberty.

The Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years, receives over seven-million annual visitors, and takes a crew of 500 to maintain its daily operations. Thirty cities in the world have built replicas of the tower but the fact remains, there is only one Eiffel Tower, and it isn’t one of the worlds seven wonders.
of the nominees not making the final cut. Somebody somewhere thought their losing entry was special enough to suggest it. Maybe it was. Just like The New 7 Wonders Foundation allowed people to do, you be the judge. 
Eiffel Tower – France
The Atomium – Belgium 

Designed to show what a crystal of iron looks like, engineer Andre Waterkeyn, along with architects Andre and Jean Polack, constructed this representation of one magnified 165 billion times. What appears to look like a giant Jack from the old kids game, is 335-feet tall with each of the separate spheres measuring 60-feet.

The impressive masterpiece was built in 1958 for the Brussel’s World Fair to represent a symbol of peace among all nations, faith in progress, both technically, and scientific, and an optimistic vision of a future advanced world for the betterment of humankind. The Atomium was intended to be removed after the fair but it became so popular it was left remaining and now stands as a symbol of Brussels, and a hugely visited tourist attraction.

Adding further to its fame, in 2013, CNN named the structure as Europe’s most bizarre building.
of the nominees not making the final cut. Somebody somewhere thought their losing entry was special enough to suggest it. Maybe it was. Just like The New 7 Wonders Foundation allowed people to do, you be the judge. 
The Atomium   Belgium
Acropolis – Greece

Even though a trip these days to the Acropolis will reveal the ruins being propped up from years of torture and abuse by jet aircraft booms, military use, improper restoration attempts, and old age, but the magnitude of being in its very presence can never be diminished. To stand wear sandal-shod emperors once trod while taking in a view very similar qualifies as a life-changing moment.

Originally named after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the Acropils was known as Cecropia. Buildings surrounding the Parthenon, which is the actual building still standing, were blown to bits in 1687 when gunpowder being stored in them was exploded by cannonballs during the Venetian siege of the Morean War.

Restoration attempts have been ongoing since 1975 with a total of 2,675 tons of ancient stones and artifacts having been rebuilt or at least replicated. Titanium dowels have been inserted in strategic locations in efforts to support eroding columns, but alas, it’s a never-ending process.
of the nominees not making the final cut. Somebody somewhere thought their losing entry was special enough to suggest it. Maybe it was. Just like The New 7 Wonders Foundation allowed people to do, you be the judge. 
Acropolis   Greece
Mt. Rushmore – USA

It took Gutzon Borglum 14 years to complete his famed carving of Abraham Lincon, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. Each face stands roughly 60-feet high and in Borglum’s humble opinion, these were the four most important men in American history. It should be noted that Borglum is also responsible for the carving at Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Borglum worked on the project, with added funding from the government, until his death in 1941, and never got to witness the stone carvings official dedication in October of the same year.
of the nominees not making the final cut. Somebody somewhere thought their losing entry was special enough to suggest it. Maybe it was. Just like The New 7 Wonders Foundation allowed people to do, you be the judge. 
Mt. Rushmore   USA
Sagrada Familia – Spain

This magnificent church holds the distinction of being the largest church in the world to have never been completed. More than five generations have been involved in its construction, but even so, it is not expected to reach completion any time soon. Antonio Gaudi designed the massive ornate structure and spent 42-years working on it until his death in 1926, with still only a quarter of the project completed.

Construction passed its midpoint in 2010 thanks to computer technology, and completion is now slated for 2026. Though Sagrada Familia didn’t make it onto the list of the worlds seven wonders, upon completion it could become a serious contender the next time the list is updated.
 
Sagrada Familia   Spain
Just because an amazing wonder to behold isn’t one of top seven does not mean it is any less wondrous. Beauty is still, and will forever be, in the eyes of the beholder.
 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *