Mental Floss

The "New" Wonders of the World

Ransom Riggs

Ever wonder what all the fuss about these "seven wonders" is over? After all, it's pretty darn subjective -- the original Greek list of "wonders," most of which were destroyed by earthquakes and fires more than a thousand years ago, were all clustered around the Mediterranean; hardly a comprehensive study. What's more, "wonders" is translated from the Greek "theamata," the meaning of which is closer to "must-sees," which sounds more like a Travel Channel special (Top Ten Vegas Hotel Pools!) than something requiring an exhaustive proto-religious hejira to experience. But we continue to compile such lists, most recently alast week's "New Seven Wonders."

After a years-long international online vote, 200 potential candidates were whittled down to 21 finalists, including the usual suspects plus surprises like the most photographed building in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle; the city of Timbuktu and the Statue of Liberty (yeah, it's impressive, but can it really stack up to the Pyramids of Giza?). The only real surprise on the list of seven winners was the sort-of-recently constructed statue of Christ the Redeemer which famously overlooks Rio de Janeiro; again, it's worth a daytrip, but it's not Machu Picchu or the ancient city of Petra! You can check out the winners here, and tell us what you think.