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Seven heritage world wonders

Looking to head off on an overseas trip, but not sure where to go? Or have you always dreamed of seeing some of the world’s most fascinating wonders? This week, we take a look at the seven ‘new’ wonders of the world which were elected by more than 100 million votes to represent global heritage throughout history.  This should give you some inspiration when planning your own ‘Grand Tour’.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

One of the world’s best-known monuments, this statue of Jesus stands around 38 metres tall and overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro from atop the Corcovado Mountain. Designed by Brazilian Heitor da Silva Costa and created by French sculptor Paul Landowski, the statue, which was completed in 1931, took over five years to build. It is a beloved symbol of the city and welcomes visitors and locals alike with open arms.


Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was built as a border defence system in order to keep Mongol tribes from invading China. It is believed that the Chinese began building the wall sometime around 223BC, and it has undergone ongoing construction and maintenance ever since. Thousands of people have given their lives to build this colossal structure, which measures almost 22,000km and is rumoured to be visible from space.


Machu Picchu, Peru

Constructed some time in the 15th century by the Incan Emperor Pachacútec, Machu Picchu, or ‘Old Mountain’, was built to be a city in the clouds. This amazing estate lays 2430 metres above sea level, halfway up the Andes Plateau in the Amazon jungle. Abandoned by the Incas in 1572, most likely as a result of a smallpox outbreak during the Spanish conquest of the Incan Empire, the city remained ‘lost’ for over 300 years, until Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911. Machu Picchu has since become the one of the largest tourist attractions in South America, with most of the settlement being reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like. Over 30 per cent of Machu Picchu has been restored, and restoration work continues to this day.


Petra, Jordan

Petra was the capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV (9BC – 40AD) and is now the most beloved cultural symbol of Jordan, as well as its most visited tourist attraction. Also known as the ‘Rose City’, due to the colour of the stone of which it is carved, the citadel is famous for its rock-cut architecture, its water conduit systems, huge tunnel constructions and water chambers. A theatre sits at the foot of the en-Nejr mountain with space for an audience of 4000. The ancient city of Petra, including its Palace Tombs and the Hellenistic temple facade on the El Deir Monastery, are astounding examples of Middle Eastern arts and culture, and is rated highly in Smithsonian Magazine’s ‘28 Places to See Before You Die’.


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Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

Chichén Itzá was one of the largest and arguably the most famous of the Mayan temple cities, and is likely to have been one of the mythical ‘great cities’ of Mesoamerican legend. Its varying architectural styles are believed to be the result of the diverse population of the Mayan world at the time, and are beautiful examples of the culture’s dedication to space and composition. The El Castillo pyramid was the last, and possibly the greatest, of all Mayan temples, making it an early spiritual focal point of the Mayan people, as well as many of the 1.2 million tourists who visit the site each year.


The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre on the planet. It is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, as well as being one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering the world has seen. Located in the centre of Rome, the theatre was originally built to honour successful legionnaires and to celebrate the glory of the Roman Empire. History has revealed a rather grizzly array of events that have taken place on this fabled arena – from gladiators fighting to the death and Christians being fed to lions, to more community oriented activities, such as markets, artists’ studios and craftsmen’s workshops. The Colosseum is one of the most imitated examples of ancient architecture, since almost every sports stadium bears an uncanny resemblance to its design.


Taj Mahal, Agra, India

In what could be considered one of the most romantic notions ever undertaken in history, this huge white mausoleum was built on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in honour of his beloved deceased wife. Constructed from flawless white marble with 28 types of precious stone inlays, and built over 22 years by around 20,000 artisans and craftsmen, the Taj Mahal is regarded as the perfect jewel of Muslim art in India. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and it attracts around 3 million tourists per year.


Have you visited any of these sites? Do you dream of seeing any of the seven new wonders? Would you visit any of these wonderful places?


Read more about the seven new wonders.

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