7 Wonders of the Modern World

The American Society of Civil Engineers selected Seven Wonders of the Modern World, engineering marvels that exemplify the abilities of humans to construct amazing features on Earth. The following guide takes you through these Seven Wonders of the Modern World and describes each "wonder" and its impact.

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Channel Tunnel

Channel Tunnel

Scott Barbour/Getty Images News / Getty Images

The first wonder (in alphabetical order) is the Channel Tunnel. Opened in 1994, the Channel Tunnel is a tunnel under the English Channel that connects Folkestone in the United Kingdom with Coquelles in France. The Channel Tunnel actually consists of three tunnels: two tunnels carry trains and a smaller middle tunnel is used as a service tunnel. The Channel Tunnel is 31.35 miles (50 km) long, with 24 of those miles located under water.

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CN Tower

CN Tower in Toronto.

inigoarza / Getty Images

The CN Tower, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a telecommunications tower that was built by Canadian National Railways in 1976. Today, the CN Tower is federally owned and managed by Canada Lands Company (CLC) Limited. As of 2012, the CN Tower is the world's third largest tower at 553.3 meters (1,815 ft). The CN Tower broadcasts television, radio, and wireless signals throughout the Toronto region. 

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Empire State Building

Sunset in New York City
Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

When the Empire State Building opened on May 1, 1931, it was the tallest building in the world — standing at 1,250 feet tall. The Empire State Building became an icon of New York City as well as a symbol of human success in achieving the impossible.

Located at 350 Fifth Avenue (between 33rd and 34th Streets) in New York City, the Empire State Building is a 102-story building. The height of the building to the top of its lightning rod is actually 1,454 feet.

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Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Cavan Images/The Image Bank / Getty Images

The Golden Gate Bridge, connecting the city of San Francisco with Marin County to its north, was the bridge with the longest span in the world from the time it was completed in 1937 until the completion of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York in 1964. The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long and about 41 million trips are made across the bridge each year. Prior to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the only mode of transportation across San Francisco Bay was a ferry.

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Itaipu Dam

Itaipu hydroelectric power plant seen from top of dam

Ruy Barbosa Pinto Creative / Getty Images

Itaipu Dam, located on the border of Brazil and Paraguay, is the world's largest operating hydroelectric facility. Completed in 1984, the nearly five-mile-long Itaipu Dam impounds the Parana River and creates the 110 mile-long Itaipu Reservoir. The electricity generated from Itaipu Dam, which is greater than the electricity generated by China's Three Gorges Dam, is shared by Brazil and Paraguay. The dam supplies Paraguay with more than 90% of its electrical needs.

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Netherlands North Sea Protection Works

Aerial view Dutch harbor Den Oever with afsluitdijk with sluices
Aerial view Dutch harbor Den Oever with afsluitdijk, seperation between fresh water lake IJsselmeer and salt Wadden Sea.

 Kruwt / Getty Images

Nearly one-third of the Netherlands lies below sea level. Despite being a coastal nation, the Netherlands has created new land from the North Sea through the use of dikes and other barriers to the ocean. From 1927 to 1932, a 19 mile-long dike called Afsluitdijk (the Closing Dike) was built, turning the Zuiderzee sea into the IJsselmeer, a freshwater lake. Further protective dikes and works were built, reclaiming the land of the IJsselmeer. The new land led to the creation of the new province of Flevoland from what had been sea and water for centuries. Collectively this incredible project is known as the Netherlands North Sea Protection Works.

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The Panama Canal

Panama Canal
Panama Canal. Patrick Denker

The 48 mile-long (77 km) international waterway known as the Panama Canal allows ships to pass between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, saving about 8000 miles (12,875 km) from a journey around the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn. Built from 1904 to 1914, the Panama Canal was once a territory of the United States, although today it belongs to Panama. It takes approximately fifteen hours to traverse the canal through its three sets of locks (about half the time is spent waiting due to traffic). 

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Your Citation
Rosenberg, Matt. "7 Wonders of the Modern World." ThoughtCo, Jan. 26, 2021, thoughtco.com/seven-wonders-of-the-modern-world-1434539. Rosenberg, Matt. (2021, January 26). 7 Wonders of the Modern World. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/seven-wonders-of-the-modern-world-1434539 Rosenberg, Matt. "7 Wonders of the Modern World." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/seven-wonders-of-the-modern-world-1434539 (accessed June 4, 2023).