Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural wonders and manmade structures.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity; it was based on guidebooks popular among Hellenic sightseers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim and in Mesopotamia. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it represented perfection and plenty, and because it was the number of the five planets known anciently, plus the sun and moon. Many similar lists have been made.
The historian Herodotus (484 - c. 425 BC) and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene (c. 305-240 BC), at the Museum of Alexandria, made early lists of seven wonders. Their writings have not survived, except as references.
The classic seven wonders were:
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, some writers wrote their own lists with names such as Wonders of the Middle Ages, Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages, Seven Wonders of the Medieval Mind, and Architectural Wonders of the Middle Ages. However, it is unlikely that these lists originated in the Middle Ages, because the word "medieval" was not invented until the Enlightenment-era, and the concept of a Middle Age did not become popular until the 16th century. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable refers to them as "later list[s]", suggesting the lists were created after the Middle Ages.
Other sites sometimes included on such lists:
Following in the tradition of the classical list, modern people and organisations have made their own lists of wonderful things ancient and modern. Some of the most notable lists are presented below.
|Wonder||Date started||Date finished||Location||Significance|
|Channel Tunnel||December 1, 1987||May 6, 1994||Strait of Dover, between the United Kingdom and France||The longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world|
|CN Tower||February 6, 1973||June 26, 1976||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Tallest freestanding structure in the world 1976-2007|
|Empire State Building||March 17, 1930||April 11, 1931||New York City, New York, United States||Tallest structure in the world 1931-1954, tallest freestanding structure in the world 1931-1967, tallest building in the world 1931-1970, first building with 100+ stories|
|Golden Gate Bridge||January 5, 1933||May 27, 1937||Golden Gate Strait, north of San Francisco, California, United States.||The longest suspension bridge main span in the world from 1937 to 1964|
|Itaipú Dam||January 1970||May 5, 1984||Paraná River, between Brazil and Paraguay||The largest operating hydroelectric facility in the world in terms of annual energy generation|
|1920||May 10, 1997||Zeeland, South Holland, North Holland, Friesland and Flevoland, Netherlands||The largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century|
|Panama Canal||January 1, 1880||January 7, 1914||Isthmus of Panama||One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken|
In November 2006 the American national newspaper USA Today and the American television show Good Morning America revealed a list of "New Seven Wonders" as chosen by six judges. An eighth wonder was chosen on November 24, 2006, from viewer feedback.
|1||Potala Palace||Lhasa, Tibet|
|2||Old City of Jerusalem||Israel and Palestine [n 1]|
|3||Polar ice caps||Polar regions|
|4||Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument||Hawaii, United States|
|6||Mayan ruins||Yucatán Peninsula, México|
|7||Great Migration of Serengeti and Masai Mara||Tanzania and Kenya|
|8||Grand Canyon (viewer-chosen eighth wonder)||Arizona, United States|
Similar to the other lists of wonders, there is no consensus on a list of seven natural wonders of the world, and there has been debate over how large the list should be. One of the many existing lists was compiled by CNN in 1997:
In 2001 an initiative was started by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation to choose the New7Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments through online votes. The Great Pyramid of Giza, the only remaining of the Seven Ancient Wonders, was not one of the winners announced in 2007 but was added as an honorary candidate.
|Wonder||Date of construction||Present-day Location|
|Great Wall of China||Since 7th century BC||China|
|Petra||c. 100 BC||Jordan|
|Christ the Redeemer||Opened October 12, 1931||Brazil|
|Machu Picchu||c. AD 1450||Peru|
|Chichen Itza||c. AD 600||Mexico|
|Colosseum||Completed AD 80||Italy|
|Taj Mahal||Completed c. AD 1648||India|
|Great Pyramid of Giza (honorary candidate)||Completed c. 2560 BC||Egypt|
New7Wonders of Nature (2007-2011), a contemporary effort to create a list of seven natural wonders chosen through a global poll, was organized by the same group as the New7Wonders of the World campaign.
New7Wonders Cities is the third global vote organized by New7Wonders.
The Seven Underwater Wonders of the World was a list drawn up by CEDAM International, an American-based non-profit group for divers, dedicated to ocean preservation and research.
In 1989 CEDAM brought together a panel of marine scientists, including Dr. Eugenie Clark, to pick underwater areas which they considered to be worthy of protection. The results were announced at The National Aquarium in Washington DC by actor Lloyd Bridges, star of TV's Sea Hunt:
British author Deborah Cadbury wrote Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, a book telling the stories of seven great feats of engineering of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2003, the BBC aired a seven-part docudrama exploring the same feats, with Cadbury as a producer. Each episode dramatised the construction of one of the following industrial wonders: