The New Seven Wonders of the World

01
of 09
Pyramids at Giza, Egypt

New Seven Wonders: Pyramids at Giza Plateau
New Seven Wonders of the World New Seven Wonders: Pyramids at Giza Plateau. Andrea De Stefani

Plus the Ones We Think Ought to Be There

The "New Seven Wonders of the World" have been announced by the nonprofit organization New7Wonders.org. All but one of the old Seven Wonders has disappeared--some of which may have been fictional anyway--and Swiss entrepreneurs Bernard Weber and Bernard Piccard decided it was time to renew the list. Six of the seven are archaeological sites, and those six and the leftover from the last seven--the Pyramids at Giza--are here in this photo essay.

But you know what? I'm not sure these were an excellent pick, so let's add some more. Got a suggestion? Send me a note at archaeology@aboutguide.com.

New addition from Faithful Reader Jan Smith: Angkor Wat, writing "How could this have NOT been included??"

The only remaining 'wonder' from the ancient list, the pyramids on the Giza plateau in Egypt include three main pyramids, the Sphinx, and several smaller tombs and mastabas. Built by three different pharaohs of the Old Kingdom between 2613-2494 BC, the pyramids must make anybody's list of man-made wonders.



More information on the Giza Plateau Pyramids

  • The Great Pyramid of Giza, built for the pharaoh Khufu (also spelled Cheops by the Greeks), between 2589 and 2566 BC
  • Pyramid of Khafre (spelled Chephren), built between 2558 and 2532 BC
  • Pyramid of Menkaure (spelled Mycerinus),built between 2490 and 2472 BC
  • Sphinx, built for the pharaoh Khafre, between 2558 and 2532 BC
  • Photo Essay: The Giza Plateau Pyramids
  • The Great Pyramid, a review of John Romer's fascinating book on the construction of Khufu's pyramid

02
of 09
The Roman Colosseum (Italy)

The Roman Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The New Seven Wonders of the World The Roman Colosseum, Rome, Italy. Kevin Clarkson

The Colosseum (also spelled Coliseum) was built by the Roman emperor Vespasian between 68 and 79 AD AD, as an amphitheater for spectacular games and events for the Roman people. It could hold up to 50,000 people.

03
of 09
The Taj Mahal (India)

The New Seven Wonders: Taj Mahal, India
The New Seven Wonders of the World The New Seven Wonders: Taj Mahal, India. Phillip Collier

The Taj Mahal, at Agra, India, was built at the request of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century in memory of his wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal who died in AH 1040 (AD 1630). The exquisite architectural structure, designed by the famed Islamic architect Ustad 'Isa, was completed in 1648.

04
of 09
Machu Picchu (Peru)

Machu Picchu from a distance, the ruins with mountain Wina Picchu behind it.
The New Seven Wonders of the World New Seven Wonders: Machu Picchu. Gina Carey

Machu Picchu was the royal residence of the Inca king Pachacuti, ruled between AD 1438-1471. The huge structure is located on the saddle between two huge mountains, and at an elevation of 3000 feet above the valley below.

05
of 09
Petra (Jordan)

Tourists visit the treasury of the ancient city of Petra on May 16, 2007 in Petra, Jordan
New Seven Wonders of the World Tourists visit the treasury of the ancient city of Petra on May 16, 2007 in Petra, Jordan. Salah Malkawi / Getty Images

The archaeological site of Petra was a Nabataean capital city, occupied beginning in the sixth century BC. The most memorable structure--and there are plenty to choose from--is the Treasury, or (Al-Khazneh), carved out of the red stone cliff during the first century BC.

  • Petra: Lost City of Stone, an exhibition review by Gail S. Myhre on the Art History page at About.com
  • Petra: Ancient Rock City of Jordan, from Linda Garrison, guide to Cruises at About.com
  • Petra: The Great Temple, archaeological investigations by Martha Sharp Joukowsky at Brown University

06
of 09
Chichén Itzá (Mexico)

Close-up of Chac Mask (Long Nosed God), Chichen Itza, Mexico
The New Seven Wonders of the World Close-up of Chac Mask (Long Nosed God), Chichen Itza, Mexico. Dolan Halbrook

Chichén Itzá is a Maya civilization archaeological ruin in the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico. The site's architecture has both classic Puuc Maya and Toltec influences, making it a fascinating city to wander through. Built beginning about 700 AD, the site reached its heyday between about 900 and 1100 AD.

07
of 09
The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China, in winter
The New Seven Wonders of the World The Great Wall of China, in winter. Charlotte Hu

The Great Wall of China is a masterpiece of engineering, including several chunks of massive walls extending for a hunge length of 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) across much of what is China. The Great Wall was begun during the Warring States period of Zhou Dynasty (ca 480-221 BC), but it was the Qin dynasty emperor Shihuangdi (he of the terracotta soldiers) who began consolidation of the walls.

08
of 09
Stonehenge (England)

Stonehenge in sepia, England
Left off the List of New Seven Wonders Stonehenge in sepia, England. Sarah Casha

No, Stonehenge didn't make the cut for the Seven New Wonders of the World, but I think if you took a poll of archaeologists, Stonehenge would be there.

Stonehenge is a megalithic rock monument of 150 enormous stones set in a purposeful circular pattern, located on the Salisbury Plain of southern England, the main portion of it built about 2000 BC. The outside circle of Stonehenge includes 17 enormous upright trimmed stones of hard sandstone called sarsen; some paired with a lintel over the top. This circle is about 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter, and, stands about 5 meters (16 feet) tall.

Maybe it wasn't built by druids; but it is one of the best known archaeological sites in the world and beloved by hundreds of generations of people.

  • Solstice at Stonehenge, a collection of photos of Stonehenge on the solstice from the past several years.
  • Stonehenge, more on the site
  • Stonehenge, from English Heritage

09
of 09
Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

Temple Complex of Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Omitted from the New Seven Wonders Temple Complex of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Arian Zwegers

Angkor Wat is a temple complex, indeed the largest religious structure in the world, and part of the capital city of the Khmer Empire, which controlled all the area in what is today the modern country of Cambodia, as well as parts of Laos and Thailand, between the 9th and 13th centuries AD.

The Temple Complex includes a central pyramid of some 60 meters (200 ft) in height, contained within an area of about two square kilometers (~3/4 of a square mile), surrounded by a defensive wall and moat. Known for breathtaking murals of mythological and historical figures and events, Angkor Wat is certainly an excellent candidate for one of the new wonders of the world.

Jan Smith says:

Angkor and the surrounding temples are magnificent - works of art, beauty, culture, religion, and history (not to mention technical skills). And they represent the amazing spirit and fortitude of the Cambodian peoples. The amount of time and labor to create not just the buildings but the surrounding waterways and roads certainly rivaled those of the other "Wonders". When I climbed the steps to the main tower, or when I marveled at the long panels of bas-relief carvings, or simply walked among the ruins, I was moved by such a sense of Wonder and spiritual uplift - that I believe it is most truly a world treasure. I have also been fortunate to have visited the Pyramids, Petra, Machu Pichu, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall (also Alexandria). They each have their own amazing history and splendor, but in my opinion, Angkor rivals or surpasses them all.