Every place on Earth has something special about it, but there’s no denying that some destinations are so awe-inspiring that they can only be described as wondrous.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Though most of the original Seven Wonders of the World are no longer in existence, there are plenty of newer locations that warrant the title of “Wonder” as well. Here are the top 10 Wonders of the Modern World. Which ones are on your bucket list?
10. Colosseum (Italy)
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Rome’s centerpiece used to feature gladiators, plays and battle reenactments. You won’t find any of those events occurring today, but you will find a museum and fellow travelers who have come to gaze at this incredible feat of ancient architecture.
Inside the Colosseum, Rome
Construction of the Colosseum commenced in 70 AD and it was opened in 80 AD.
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
9. Chichen Itza (Mexico)
Chichen Itza, Mexico
This famed Mayan city exemplifies our modern fascination with old civilizations. Fanciful sculptures of mythical creatures adorn this tiered city, which was one of the largest of its time and was home to a very diverse population.
Chichen Itza in Mexico
Though it’s often described as “ruins” today, the city is still standing proud in modern-day Mexico, captivating visitors from all over the world. Chichen Itza is located on the Yucatan Peninsula. It was a large city built by the Maya people. The city thrived from about 600 AD, until 1221, when the power in the region shifted to Mayapan.
8. Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy)
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
It’s said that Galileo dropped cannonballs from the top of this tower to prove that speed works separately from mass. If this happened, it was before the Tower of Pisa acquired its trademark lean. For the first time since it was built, the tower’s lean is no longer getting worse thanks to counterweights.
Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy
It will remain where it is for some time to come – all the more time to visit it and enjoy its history. The construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa begun in August 1173, and it took 344 years to build It. The tower began to lean in 1178 once construction on the second floor had begun. The lean was due to one side sinking into the soft ground.
7. Machu Picchu (Peru)
Machu Picchu, Peru
The most iconic remnant of ancient Inca culture, Machu Picchu was built in the mid-1400s and abandoned just a century later when the empire was invaded by Spain.
Inside Machu Picchu, Peru
It sat untouched for centuries in the jungles of Peru until it was rediscovered in 1911. A full city, it included houses, temples, fields and a palace for nobility – a true relic of a forgotten civilization.
6. Taj Mahal (India)
Commissioned by an emperor to hold the remains of his wife in 1632, the Taj Mahal is one of history’s most famed mausoleums. Emperor Shah Jahan’s love for his wife was channeled into a grand, instantly recognizable landmark that attracts lovers of art and architecture the world over.
Taj Mahal, India
5. Big Ben (England)
Nothing symbolizes London quite like Big Ben, the unmistakable clock tower that presides over Great Britain’s capital city. Attached to the Palace of Westminster, the clock’s chimes keep the city on time, as they have since 1855 when the clock was completed. Big Ben’s neo-gothic style is quintessentially British and draws millions of visitors a year.
Big Ben at Westminster Palace, The UK’s Houses of Parliament
4. Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)
Rio de Janiero, Brazil, with Christ the Redeemer statue in the foreground.
Towering high above Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the iconic statue of Jesus Christ took nine years to complete and stands atop the Corcovado mountain. The breathtaking artistry and unique location make the statue a must-see for any globetrotter. Construction on the Christ The Redeemer Statue started in 1922 and it was opened in 1931.
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3. Panama Canal (Panama)
A very recent wonder, but a wonder all the same. When the Panama Canal was first used in 1914, it was considered a spectacular feat of engineering. Even today it’s still considered a marvel. The canal’s profound impact on oceanic trade – and on the future of engineering – cannot be overstated.
Panama Canal, Panama
The Panama Canal was recently expanded to double the capacity of the Panama Canal by adding a new lane of traffic allowing for a larger number of ships, and increasing the width and depth of the lanes and locks allowing larger ships to pass.
2. Empire State Building (United States)
Empire State Building, New York City
The New York City skyline is famed throughout the world, and one of its most prominent buildings is the Empire State Building. Standing 443 meters tall, it exemplifies Art Deco architecture and the view of the city from the top is unparalleled.
Empire State Building, New York City, USA
Construction of the Empire State Building started in 1930 and it was opened in 1931. It stood as the world’s tallest building for nearly 40 years, from its completion until the topping out of the original World Trade Center’s North Tower in late 1970.
1. Golden Gate Bridge (United States)
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Symbolizing San Francisco, California and the United States as a whole, the Golden Gate Bridge is a true wonder. Unveiled in 1937, it was the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time (1300 meters) and wowed all who saw it. Its distinctive color and shape as well as its utility add to its timeless appeal as a wonder of the modern world.
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