CHARLOTTE, NC, January 17, 2018: We have all heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. Usually, the term, when not specified, applies to the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”, but in list-loving cultures of today, there are also the #New7Wonders of the World and the Seven Natural Wonders of the World among others.
So to begin, the question begs itself, why seven wonders, not six, or eight?
What is so magic about that number that each list is defined by it?
The most logical first conclusion might be that since the original number of wonders was seven, all other lists should be defined by that particular standard, but that isn’t even close.
More precisely, there are numerous other instances where seven is used to delineate various aspects of the world in which we live. For example, seven is the number of rows of elements on the periodic table in chemistry.
There are also seven colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) which make up white light or the colors of the rainbow.
How about the Seven Seas? Or the seven stellar objects in the solar system which can be seen with the naked eye; the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.
Human beings even have seven major external openings in their heads with two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and one mouth.
Seven and religion
In religion, according to the Old Testament and the Jewish Torah, God rested on the seventh day, and Catholics observe seven sacraments. Islam uses seven to symbolize infinity and during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca for the Haj, Muslims circle the Kabbah counterclockwise seven times.
Ancient Egyptians thought seven represented eternal life, while Hindus believe the cycle of rebirth goes through seven stages before a soul reaches salvation. Meanwhile, Buddha is said to have walked seven steps at birth.
In Native Americans heritage, seven is the number in Cherokee cosmology.
Thus, with the number seven playing such an important role in so many cultures, it, therefore, stands to reason that seven is a proper number to use for defining the Wonders of the World.
The Seven Wonders of the World
Despite our knowledge of their existence, however, most people have a difficult time name more than two or three of the original Seven Wonders of the World.
Of particular interest is the fact that only four countries in existence today were sites for the original seven wonders; Greece (2), Iraq (2), Turkey (2) and Egypt (1).
Furthermore, five of those seven original wonders were built by the Greeks with the other two being the work of the Babylonians or Assyrians and the Egyptians.
Only one Ancient Wonder remains today and, surprisingly, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is also the oldest which designates it also as an honorary member of the “New7Seven Wonders of the World.”
Dating to its completion in 2561 BC, the Great Pyramid is nearly 4,500 years old.
Next in the list of Ancient Wonders are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which would have been located in modern day Iraq. Dating to 600 BC, the question of their actual existence is still unresolved.
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus has two dates with the first being 550 BC and the second happening around 323 BC.
Olympia, Greece was home to the Statue of Zeus in 456 and 435 BC. The reason for the two dates is because a temple was built first in 456 and the statue followed later.
Dating from 351 BC, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus would have been situated in modern day Turkey even though it was built by the Greeks.
The Greeks were also responsible for the Colossus of Rhodes in 280 BC. The Colossus was a magnificent statue that guarded the harbor entrance to the island of Rhodes. Rhodes remains a popular tourist destination today.
Finally, also built in 280 BC was the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt.
Of the six wonders that no longer exist, earthquakes took out two, with the two most recent losses being the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria which disappeared in the 15th century.
Feeling a need to re-establish the wonders of the world, Bernard Weber, a Swiss-Canadian, began a campaign in Zurich, Switzerland in 2000 to establish the “New7Wonders of the World.” A list of 200 candidates of existing monuments was developed and votes were cast by over 100 million participants from around the world via telephone and the internet.
The seven winners announced in Lisbon, Portugal on the seventh day of the seventh month of 2007 (July 7, 2007) were: the Great Pyramid of Giza, which received honorary status, followed in order of age by the Great Wall of China, Petra (Jordan), the Colosseum (Italy), Chichen Itza (Mexico), Machu Picchu (Peru), Taj Mahal (India) and Christ the Redeemer (Brazil).
Just for fun to complete the lists, here are the Seven Natural Wonders of the World: the Grand Canyon (Arizona), Paricutin Volcano (Mexico), the Northern Lights, Victoria Falls (Africa), Harbor of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and Mount Everest (Nepal).
Global travelers rejoice, you should now be in “Seven Heaven.”
About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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