The earliest lists of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were made more than 2,000 years ago by ancient Hellenic tourists. Except for the Great Pyramid of Giza those wonders no longer exist. They were destroyed by earthquakes, fires and in one case by an angry mob. Many lists of wonders have been made since than. Today we list our selection of 10 wonders of the world.
10 Parthenon, Acropolis
The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis is one of the most famous buildings in the world and a visit to Athens is not complete without visiting this temple. The construction of the Parthenon started in in 447 BC, replacing and older temple that was destroyed by the Persians, and completed in 432 BC. The purpose of the Parthenon was to house a massive statue of Athena Parthenos made from ivory, silver and gold. Sometime in the 5th century the statue was looted by one of the Roman Emperors, and taken to Constantinople, where it was later destroyed. During its long life the Parthenon has also served as a fortress, a church, a mosque and as a powder magazine.
9 Easter Island
The world famous moai are monolithic statues located on Easter Island, one of the most isolated islands on Earth. The statues were carved by the Polynesian colonizers of the island, mostly between circa 1250 AD and 1500 AD. In addition to representing deceased ancestors, the moai were also regarded as the embodiment of powerful living or former chiefs. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 meters (33 ft) high and weighed 75 tonnes. The statues were till standing when Europeans first visited the island, but most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans. Today about 50 moai have been re-erected on Easter Island or museums elsewhere.
8 Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is an immense mausoleum of white marble, built between 1632 and 1653 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife. The Taj is one of the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tombs in the world, one of the masterpieces of Mughal architecture, and one of the great sites of the world’s heritage. Called “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity”, the monument is actually an integrated complex of structures. Besides the white domed marble mausoleum it includes several other beautiful buildings, reflecting pools, and extensive ornamental gardens with flowering trees and bushes.
The Colosseum is the largest and most famous amphitheater ever built in the Roman Empire. Its construction was started by emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in 72 AD and was finished by his son Titus in 80 AD. During the Colosseum’s opening ceremonies, spectacles were held for 100 days in which 5,000 of animals and 2,000 gladiators were killed. The Colosseum was capable of holding some 50,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances. Spectators were protected from the rain and heat of the sun by sail,s called the “velarium”, around the top of the attic. It is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions and has become an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome.
Angkor Wat is a vast temple complex featuring the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century AD. These include the famous Angkor Wat temple, the world’s largest single religious monument, and the Bayon temple (at Angkor Thom) with its multitude of massive stone faces. During it’s long history Angkor went through many changes in religion converting between Hinduism to Buddhism several times. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.
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