Seven Wonders of the World

From Academic Kids

The seven wonders of the world are usually taken to be the seven wonders of the ancient world. Some of the wonders we know today are not in the list of the seven wonders of the world, as they are classified to be modern or medieval wonders.

The originator of the list is usually given as Antipater of Sidon, who listed the structures in a poem (around 140 BC):

"I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, 'Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.'" (Antipater, Greek Anthology IX.58)

The historian Herodotus, the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene (ca 305240 BC) at the Museum of Alexandria, and the engineer Philon of Byzantium had made earlier lists but the writings have not survived, except as references. It has been suggested that the Greek category was not θαυματα (thaumata, "wonders") but θεαματα (theamata, "must-sees").


Six Sets of Seven Wonders

There are many conflicting sources regarding the Seven Wonders of the World, and for good reason. Each succeeding age has added new accomplishments and discoveries, giving us dozens of wonders to gaze in awe upon. Many consider there to be six sets of World Wonders:

  1. Ancient Wonders of the World
  2. Medieval Wonders of the World
  3. Natural Wonders of the World
  4. Underwater Wonders of the World
  5. Modern Wonders of the World
  6. New 7 Wonders of the World

Ancient Wonders

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, with the Pharos of Alexandria, is medieval in origin. Antipater's list had the walls of Babylon rather than the lighthouse. In alphabetical order, they are:

  1. Colossus of Rhodes — a huge statue of Helios, sculpted c. 292280 BC by Chures, in present Greece.
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon — built by Nebuchadnezzar II, c. 8th6th century BC, in present Iraq.
  3. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus — tomb of Mausolus, the Persian satrap of Caria, built c. 353351 BC, at Halicarnassus, present Bodrum, Turkey.
  4. Pharos of Alexandria — lighthouse built c. 270 BC on Pharos island near Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy II by Greek architect Sostratus, in present Egypt.
  5. Pyramids of Giza — serving as tombs for the Egyptian pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, in present Egypt. Built during Egypt's 4th dynasty (c. 2575–ca 2465 BC)
  6. Statue of Zeus — at Olympia, carved by the Greek sculptor Phidias, c. 457 BC in present Greece.
  7. Temple of Artemis550 BC, at Ephesus, present Turkey.

Two of each of the wonders were within the territories of today's Egypt, Greece, and Turkey, and one in Iraq. The only surviving wonder is the first built, the Pyramids of Giza. The wonder with the shortest life span was the Colossus of Rhodes, which kept its erect posture for only 56 years before being brought down by an earthquake. There is some controversy as to whether the Hanging Gardens of Babylon ever in fact existed.

Medieval Wonders

After the collapse of the great civilizations of antiquity, the memories of the destroyed ancient wonders faded. Scholars and philosophers reviewed and rewrote the lists of wonders, removing old ones and replacing them with "newly built" as tales of them spread. Over the centuries a consensus emerged in the form of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval Mind list:

  1. Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
  2. Colosseum
  3. Great Wall of China
  4. Hagia Sophia
  5. Leaning Tower of Pisa
  6. Porcelain Tower of Nanjing (Nanjing, China)
  7. Stonehenge (United Kingdom)

Natural Wonders

Similar to other lists of wonders, there is no consensus on a list of seven natural wonders of the world. One of the lists was compiled by CNN [1] (

  1. Grand Canyon
  2. Great Barrier Reef
  3. Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
  4. Mount Everest
  5. Northern Lights
  6. Paricutn Volcano
  7. Victoria Falls

Underwater Wonders

Though the Underwater Wonders of the World are also all natural and not made by man; these wonders are either bodies of water, occur underwater, or are surrounded by water.

  1. Belize Barrier Reef
  2. Deep-Sea Vents
  3. Galapagos Islands
  4. Great Barrier Reef
  5. Lake Baikal
  6. Northern Red Sea
  7. Palau

Modern Wonders

Many people have since devised lists of wonders of the modern world. The most common list is:

  1. Channel Tunnel (United Kingdom and France)
  2. CN Tower (Toronto, Canada)
  3. Empire State Building (New York, USA)
  4. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, USA)
  5. Itaipu Dam (Brazil and Paraguay)
  6. Delta Works (The Netherlands)
  7. Panama Canal (Panama)

New 7 Wonders

A project that features the first global vote for the seven wonders. The most recent list is:

  1. Great Wall of China
  2. Potala Palace (Tibet, China)
  3. Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
  4. Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  5. El Castillo (Chichen Itza, Mexico)
  6. Moai (Easter Island, Chile)
  7. Tower of Pisa (Pisa, Italy)

Additional Candidates

With so many conflicting sources regarding each of the five sets of Seven Wonders, one must consider the additional candidates for each list:

Ancient Candidates

Because these lists of seven wonders were the products of Western civilization, many ancient wonders remained unknown to the lists' authors. This list includes some of the wonders which existed outside the knowledge of Western explorers for centuries after their construction:

Medieval Candidates

Natural Candidates

Underwater Candidates

Palau, A small archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.

The Belize Barrier Reef, Off the coast of Belize

The Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador

The Northern Red Sea, east of Egypt

Lake Baikal, near Irkutsk, Siberia

The Great Barrier Reef, Spanning more than 2000 km along the northeastern coast of Australia

The Deep Sea Vents, Several of these vents have been found and explored in both the Pacific and the Atlantic

Modern Candidates

External links and references

  • "New 7 Wonders (". NewOpenWorld Foundation - a global project on to vote (until December 2005) on wonders to be included in a modern list.
  • The World's Top 100 Wonders ( - a list of architectural, engineering and natural wonders by Howard Hillman, a renowned travel writer.
  • ( - a "list of lists", with information about most wonders.
  • Seven Wonders of the Modern World ( - a list of modern wonders compiled by the American Society of Civil Engineers

Further readings

  • Cox, Reg, and Neil Morris, "The Seven Wonders of the Modern World". Chelsea House Publications: Library. October, 2000. ISBN 079106048
  • Cox, Reg, Neil Morris, and James Field, "The Seven Wonders of the Medieval World". Chelsea House Publications: Library. October, 2000. ISBN 0791060470
  • D'Epiro, Peter, and Mary Desmond Pinkowish, "What Are the Seven Wonders of the World? and 100 Other Great Cultural Lists". Anchor. December 1, 1998. ISBN 0385490623
  • Morris, Neil, "The Seven Wonders of the Natural World". Chrysalis Books. December 30, 2002. ISBN 184138495X

af:Sewe Wonders van die Wreld ca:Les set meravelles del mn da:Verdens syv undervrker de:Weltwunder et:Seitse maailmaimet el:Επτά θαύματα του αρχαίου κόσμου es:Siete Maravillas del Mundo eo:Sep mirindaĵoj de la antikva mondo fa:عجایب هفتگانه جهان fr:Sept merveilles du monde ko:세계의 7대 기적 hr:Sedam svjetskih čuda it:Sette meraviglie del mondo he:שבעת פלאי תבל nl:Zeven wereldwonderen nds:Sven Weltwunners ja:世界の七不思議 nb:Verdens syv underverker pl:Siedem cudów świata pt:Sete maravilhas do mundo ru:Семь чудес света sl:Sedem čudes starega veka sr:Седам светских чуда старог света fi:Maailman seitsemn ihmett sv:Vrldens sju underverk uk:Сім чудес світу zh:世界七大奇迹


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools