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Tuesday, January 03, 2006 

From Ruins to Wonders

On the ferry to Santorini a few years ago, my husband and I befriended a congenial and talkative Australian world traveller. This man had left his country two years prior to see the world and when we met him he was on the last leg of his journey back to his native Australia. To fund his globetrotting, he would sell a head of cattle from his cattle ranch and have the money forwarded to a bank in whichever city he was in at the time. Since he had left Athens with us, we asked him what he thought of the Acropolis compared to other monuments elsewhere. I expected him to respond like I had when I first visited the Acropolis...that it was truly a remarkable architectural feat and a privilege to stand in the same place as the ancients before me. Instead, he simply responded, "If you've seen one ruin, you've seen them all."

Now that the 7 Wonders of the World list is being updated, I wonder if he'd vote for any particular one or stick with his original opinion.

Out of a possible 77 structures, UNESCO in collaboration with the World Heritage List has shortlisted 21 nominees:

the Acropolis, Athens
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
the Eiffel Tower, Paris
the Statue of Liberty, New York
Jesus the Saviour, Rio de Janeiro
Sydney Opera House, Australia
the Colosseum, Rome
Stonehenge, Great Britain
the town Petra, Jordan
the Taj Mahal, India
the Stone Statues on Easter Island
the Great Wall of China
the Kremlin, Russia
Timbuktu, Mali
Machu Picchu, Peru
the pyramids of Chichen Itza, Mexico
the castle of Alhambra, Spain
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
the temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia
the temple of Kiyomizu, Tokyo.
the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

Having only seen two (Statue of Liberty and the Acropolis) of the monuments personally, I would definitely vote for the Acropolis. The Great Pyramid of Giza is a 'must' for inclusion because it's the only remaining monument of the original 7 Wonders of the World. As for the rest, I'd have to do some research before casting my vote for the remaining five. Which ones would you choose?

Hi SeaWitch,
I'd choose the older structures, because the newer structures, such as the Eiffel Tower, do not hold any mystery. In other words, the newer structures do not inspire wonder.

For example, any engineering student could tell you (maybe after some reading) how the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty was built. But how do you explain the building of Pyramid of Giza?

Sooooooo, I'd choose:
Stonehenge,
the town Petra,
the Stone Statues on Easter Island,
Timbuktu,
the pyramids of Chichen Itza,
the Great Pyramid of Giza,
Machu Picchu.

Hi there Franje! I agree with you...the older structures are more mystical and the fact that they are still around after all these years make them worthy of recognition. My list is almost the same as yours except I chose Angkor Wat instead of Chichen Itza just because the architectural style is so very different from the rest in the list.

Franje, there is no mistery about the Piramids of Giza. We know why they did it, and how they did it. You don’t need to be an engineering student. The wikipedia is enough. That’s not the same for Stonhenge, though. The mistery remains.

caramelo

Happy New Year SW:

I've been to:

- the Acropolis, Athens
- the Statue of Liberty, New York
- the Colosseum, Rome
- the pyramids of Chichen Itza, Mexico

I was most impressed with (in this order) from the one's I've visited:

- the Acropolis, Athens
- the Colosseum, Rome
- the pyramids of Chichen Itza, Mexico
- the Statue of Liberty, New York

Which ones I want to visit next (top 4 in this order):

- the Stone Statues on Easter Island
- the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
- the Great Wall of China
- the Taj Mahal, India

Meh, I can't get too excited about most of them. I guess I'd say Acropolis and Stonehenge for sure. Both pyramids, yes. But the others, I don't know.

I honestly don't really get the Hagia Sophia. The Duomo in Florence was much more beautiful. Of course, I've only seen pictures of Hagia Sophia and I've been to the Duomo, so maybe that isn't fair. In the end, though, I just can't say I'm too impressed with any religious places that have any connection to modern religions.

In the end, I guess natural wonders impress me much more. Of course, I'm kinda slutty in that regard, show me any mountain and I'm for it.

I am biased toward things older than 500 years. Not sure why. But if it was built after the Renaissance, or late into it, I probably would say to exclude it.

Melusina says...
Of course, I'm kinda slutty in that regard, show me any mountain and I'm for it.

You certainly have a way with words Mel. LOLOL

Eff...I don't think the newer monuments should be included either. At least not yet anyway.

Scruff...Although the Statue of Liberty is definitely famous, I can't say it ranks in the same league with the architectural style and beauty of the Acropolis or the elegance of the Taj Mahal

Scruff...Although the Statue of Liberty is definitely famous, I can't say it ranks in the same league with the architectural style and beauty of the Acropolis or the elegance of the Taj Mahal

Yep, that's why I rated it last of the ones I've seen. Plus, it's French anyways.

:)

Hi SeaWitch,

Lovely question. I think I'm agreing with franje on this one. But maybe I'd change one for the great wall of china. Problem is, I'm not sure which one to take out - possibly the town of Petra (basically I don't know much about it)...

But maybe we could solve that by making it the 7 oldest=the 7 wonders... Just an idea...

Does this seem a bit gimicky to anyone? Do we need a new list? And it it fair to include ancient strcutures with modern? I think not. Stonehenge, IMO, is visually disappointing. However, the skills involved in its erection were, apparently, way ahead of their time. Anyway, the Acropolis would definitely be on my list - the entrance alone is awe-inspiring. I'd probably also choose Mycenae and Knossos. Biased? Moi?

Hi there expat and welcome! I thought the same thing...only the oldest structures should be nominated for inclusion. I also think there should be more than 7 Wonders of the World since the known world is so much 'bigger' than the time period when the original 7 Wonders were named.

Mike...gimmicky or not...I would love to visit each and every one of those monuments on the list and the ones that didn't make it.

What would be the 7 Natural Wonders of the World?
- The Bay of Fundy?
- The Grand Canyon?
- The Northern Lights?
- The Great Barrier Reef?
- Mount Everest?
- Niagra Falls??

The Bee

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