Since the global campaign to find the new seven natural wonders in 2007-2011, more attention has been placed on these wonders of nature. There are also man made wonders that are worthy of notice but often forgotten. Renowned travel writer Howard Hillman has ranked these top 10 man made wonders, one of which is part of the 7 ancient wonders of the world. To give you a recap, here is the list starting from the last to the first.
10. Teotihuacan, Mexico
If Giza Pyramid is the most visited site in Egypt, Teotihuacan is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico. Apparently, “Teotihuacan” is not its original name–which was lost in time–but the current one that the Aztecs had given it. The structures within this complex is composed of five elements: the Avenue of the Dead, the Pyramid of the Moon, the Ciudadela, the Feathered Serpent and the Pyramid of the Sun, which is the largest in size and definitely the most impressive among the lot.
9. Karnak Temple, Egypt
After the Giza Pyramid, Karnak Temple is the most visited historical site in Egypt. This enormous temple holds religious significance and actually served as a spiritual center thousands of years past. The sheer size of this monument can accommodate three of the world’s largest cathedrals combined. Located along the Nile River, this impressive monument is a glimpse into the glorious civilization of ancient Egypt and gives us clues on the history of pharaohs and the succeeding generations.
8. Bagan Temples & Pagodas, Burma
Formerly called Pagan, the Bagan Temples is another ancient religious complex, which served as Buddhist sanctuaries centuries ago. Originally comprising of over 10,000 Buddhist structures, mainly temples and pagodas, this place was once one of the most important centers of religion and culture in Asia. Now, only around 2000 structures remain standing after the rest has been damaged through time, wars, calamities like earthquake and neglect. Among the famous Bagan pagodas to note are the Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezignon Temples.
7. Forbidden City, China
Home to a total of 24 Chinese Emperors, The Forbidden City (also known as the Palace Museum now) is one of the top five famous palaces in the world. In fact, it is the largest in the world. This best preserved imperial palace of China is a national symbol of pride and reflects the glory days of imperial China. UNESCO declared the site to be a World Heritage in 1987. Since then, the Chinese government has a executed a restoration project to preserve The Forbidden City’s grandeur.
6. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Another World Heritage Site (declared by UNESCO in 1992), this architectural masterpiece is one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia. Some of the arresting ornate details include dancing female sculptures, which many will find seductive. The Angkor Wat is an important symbol of its country and has in fact, been incorporated in Cambodia’s flag in 1863. The main temple is well preserved and is still used as a religious center today.
5. Temples of Bali
The paradisiacal Island of Bali in Indonesia is home to over 10,000 temples, hence its nickname, “The Island of the Gods”. It is said that the number of temples outnumber the houses in Bali. Majority of the Balinese people are practicing Hindu-Dharmaism, which is a local variation of India’s Hinduism. This means that the beautiful temples are not only for show; they are also being used for daily ceremonies. The bigger temples, however, are reserved for very special occasions. Each temple is dedicated to a particular spirit and each comes with gorgeous carvings that are intricately detailed.
4. Machu Picchu
If you have ever dreamed of being part of an Indiana Jones’ adventure, being in Machu Picchu is the next best thing. The Inca ruins is one of the most beautiful sites in Peru and rightly earned its spot as one of the new seven wonders of the world. This architectural gem is surrounded not only by a gorgeous natural environment, but also by mystery as to why it was abandoned in its golden age. Located high up between two mountain peaks, it is difficult to reach Machu Picchu, which could be one of the reasons why the Spanish were never able to find it. Just like in the movies, the outside world literally stumbled on this ancient Inca city.
3. Taj Mahal, India
There is probably nothing as romantic as the story that surrounds the Taj Mahal. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had this majestic complex built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. A monument of love, it took thousands of laborers and elephants to finish it in 22 years. With its white marble and elegant architecture, many people would consider the Taj Mahal to be the most beautiful building in the world. Adding to its appeal is the love story surrounding its construction, which is what some women dream of–concrete proof of her man’s love.
2. Great Wall of China
Boasting of a rich history that has outlasted several dynasties, the Great Wall of China is also famous for being a structure that can be seen from outer space. The longest man made structure in the world, it spans 6,400 kilometers, stretching to cover 6,700 kilometers in all. Many tourists flock to this man made wonder but often find themselves exhausted after climbing the wall, particularly the steep parts. The Great Wall of China has four most visited parts: Badaling (so far the most popular), Mutianya, Simatai, and Shixiaguan.
1. Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
This construction wonder comprises of 3 pyramids, one which is Khufu, incidentally one of the ancient wonders of the world. Built around 4500-4600 years ago, the pyramids have been stripped of their smooth limestone surface, giving way to the rough exterior they currently have. One the most famous tourist destinations in the world, its perfection both in design and construction has been a frequent source of speculation about its mystical aspects. It has also fueled the theory that extraterrestrials are behind this construction wonder.
All top ten construction wonders are worth visiting, if only money were not a problem. But you can take it slow and pick one place at a time, starting with the place that is closest to your heart. Before you travel, make sure you always have travel insurance as a backup plan for any unpredictable circumstances that may arise during travel.