The 7 Wonders of the Modern World

How many have you seen?

By Google Arts & Culture

LIFE Photo Collection

The Great Wall of China, 221 BC

Dating back to the 3rd century BC, the Great Wall of China is almost old enough to have made the original 7 Wonders list. Stretching for over 13,000 miles across Northern China, the wall was built to defend the country from invading barbarian armies. 

The Great WallNamhansanseong World Heritage Center

The best-known sections of the wall were built between the 14th and 17th centuries AD. It’s estimated that up to 400,000 people died during its construction. Many of these unfortunate workers were buried in the fortification itself. 

If you want to tick this wonder off your bucket list, head to Beijing and take a tour from there. The Mutianyu and Badaling sections of the wall are both just 45 miles from the city center. 

LIFE Photo Collection

Machu Pichu, 1400s

Built by the Incas in the mid-15th century, Machu Picchu was only inhabited for around 100 years before it was abandoned during the time of the Spanish conquest. It's located high up in the mountains, around 45 miles northwest of Cuzco in southern Peru. 

By Dmitri KesselLIFE Photo Collection

Though often known as ‘The lost city of the Incas’, Machu Picchu was never really forgotten about by the locals. In fact, when explorer Hiram Bingham III ‘discovered’ the site in 1911, there were still three families of farmers living in the city. 

Machu Picchu’s lofty location and incredible condition have proved an irresistible draw for tourists. If you want to be one of them, you’ll need to travel to Cuzco and then catch a train to Aguas Calientes. Alternatively, you can get  there in around 4 days by hiking the famous Inca Trail. 

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer (1863-1883) by Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904)The Walters Art Museum

The Colosseum, 70-80AD

One of the most iconic symbols of Ancient Rome, the Colosseum was built to host games, battle re-enactments, public executions and other forms of ‘entertainment’. 

Interior of the Colosseum, Rome (c. 1832) by Thomas Cole (1801-1848)Albany Institute of History & Art

Commissioned by Emperor Vespasian, the Colosseum had space for more than 50,000 spectators. After around 400 years of continuous use, the building began to fall into disrepair before being abandoned altogether. 

If you want to get a taste for life in Ancient Rome, visiting the Colosseum is easy. However, as it remains one of the city’s most popular attractions, you’ll still have to battle through crowds if you want to get a good look.  

Christ the Redeemer by Mark SchwettmannSanctuary of Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer, 1922 - 1930

By far the newest addition to the list, Christ the Redeemer stands right at the peak of the 700m Corcovado Mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Even though it’s barely a century old, the 30m statue is an icon of Brazil and a symbol of Christianity worldwide.

If you’re in Rio, you can visit the statue by car, taxi or public transport. If you can’t make it all the way to Brazil, why not visit one of the many replicas dotted around the world? Notable examples can be found in Portugal, Poland, Colombia and Arkansas. 

Taj Mahal, Agra, IndiaGianfranco Ferré Research Center, Politecnico di Milano

Taj Mahal, 1632 – 53AD

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is one of the world’s greatest monuments to love. The tomb sits in the middle of a 17-hectare site made up of formal gardens, a mosque and a guesthouse.     

This evocative building is located in the city of Agra, a short train or car ride from Delhi. If you can, arrive early to beat the crowds – and the heat. 

Asia Transtordan Petra (1935)LIFE Photo Collection

Petra, 3rd century BC

The spectacular sandstone city of Petra was built by the Nabataeans in the 3rd century BC. The Nabataeans were incredible engineers and were particularly good at building infrastructure to control and store the water that occasionally flooded through the Jordanian desert.

You'll approach the ancient city via a long crevice known as the Siq. At the end of the Siq, you’ll see the Treasury, one of the most impressive buildings in Petra. Take your time exploring this carved structure and the other tombs that make up this stunning city. 

Photograph of Chichén Itzá taken by A.P. Maudslay (1881/1894) by Alfred Percival MaudslayBritish Museum

Chichen Itza, 5th century AD

One of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico, Chichen Itza was built by the Maya in the 5th century AD. The city is located in the Yucatan Peninsula and was one of the largest settlements in the Mayan world. 

Visit Chichen Itza and you can explore its stunning pyramids, the Great Ball Court and its various religious structures. Luckily, the site is within easy reach of a number of Mexico’s most popular beach resorts, allowing you to fit a little sightseeing into your holiday. 

Machupichu (2013/2013) by Mario SantanaICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Click here to learn more about Machu Pichu, one of the world's most spectacular cities. 

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