Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Seven Wonders

You've probably heard about the recent voting for the "new 7 wonders." The expressed aim of the project was to call attention to world heritage and I hope that it does this. We all have an interest in preserving the heritage of the world. It is important to note, however, the difference between these wonders and the canonical Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Wonders of the Ancient World are initially due to Herodotus. He compiled his list of places he saw as he traveled around the Mediterranean. Destroyed with the Library of Alexandria, Callimachus of Cyrene compiled a collection of "Wonders around the World." They probably weren't finalized in what the wonders are now known as. It wasn't until the Middle Ages when the canon of the wonders were drawn to what it is known as now (they weren't, as the press releases of "The New 7 Wonders" suggest, decided by one man).

The Wonders of the Ancient World were, apparently (only one - The Pyramids at Giza - survives), truly wondrous to behold. A wonderful reference on the seven wonders is located here. They are:

  1. The Pyramids of Giza
  2. The Colossus at Rhodes
  3. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  4. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  5. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  6. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  7. The Lighthouse at Alexandria

I've traveled a decent amount and been to a lot of different places in the world. However, I have only been to one of the so-called "New 7 Wonders." In all honesty, two of them I don't think belong on the list at all. I find it interesting that none of them is built in modern times. I wonder about that - do we build physical wonders anymore (as a culture)? The same website has a list of seven modern wonders and seven forgotten modern wonders. I've seen seven of those fourteen and I just don't feel like those really rise to the level of wonder. What do you think? Any thoughts on what modern wonder you think will make it to the canon and be discussed 2000 years from now?


Ted said...

I was never that impressed by "Christ Redeemer" in Brazil, until I saw a photo of it with people in the shot. Because most of the photos of it are taken from a distance to highlight the impressive location, it's hard to get a sense of the sheer size of it. The real people provide scale, and it's impressive.

Scale, majesty and location... I've changed my mind and think that it belongs on the list.

Ted said...

I'm still annoyed that they left Angkor Wat off the list though. :)

Daniel said...

Angkor Wat - I can see that.

I've heard that about Christ Redeemer but I think I'll have to see it myself to really get the idea of it...