You've heard of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But the lure of list-making has inspired plenty of people in the modern day to compile their own lists of wonders. Here are seven of them.
1. The Seven Wonders of the USA
Just this month, AOL Travel announced the winners of a voting contest for the Seven Wonders of the USA "“ and the open voting process resulted in a number of unusual choices of Wonder. While an Honorable Mention went to the Statue of Liberty, the Longaberger Home Office building in Newark, OH "“ a building shaped like a shopping basket "“ made the list. Other surprising inclusions were the Coronado Performing Arts Center (Rockford, IL), the Government Bridge (Rock Island, IL), and the Biltmore (Asheville, NC), as well as the more traditional Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and Gateway Arch.
2. Seven Wonders of the Underwater World
CEDAM international, a society for scuba diving and marine conservation, announced their list of Seven Wonders of the Underwater World in 1989. They presented their list of Wonders as a list of areas that needed protection: Palau, the Belize Barrier Reef, the Northern Red Sea, deep-sea vents, the Galapagos Islands, Lake Baikal, and the Great Barrier Reef (pictured—image credit: Richard Ling).
3. The New7 Wonders
The most famous list of new Seven Wonders is the global voting contest sponsored by the New7 Wonders Foundation. From 2001 to 2007, people voted for their favorite wonders online or by text worldwide, with over 100 million votes cast. The Pyramids of Giza were given honorary membership, and the final list contained Chichen Itza, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Colosseum, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Petra, and the Taj Mahal.
4. The Seven Wonders of the Modern World, 20th-Century Engineering Edition
In 1994, the American Society of Civil Engineers put together a list of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World that celebrated incredible feats of engineering from the 20th century. The list includes older like the Panama Canal and the Empire State Building, as well as more recent structures like the Chunnel. The CN Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, Itaipu Dam, and Netherlands North Sea Protection Works round out the list.
5. Popular Mechanics' Seven Wonders of the Modern World
In 1912, Popular Mechanics conducted an "International Poll of Scientists" in order to create a new list of Seven Wonders of the Modern World. With a wag of the finger, the magazine noted that the original list of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World included "not a single one created for the uplifting or well-being of the masses." The list seems to be a product of the scientific advancements of the early 20th century with the spirit of Progressive Era reform behind it; it includes wireless telegraphy, the telephone, the aeroplane, radium, antiseptics and antitoxins, spectrum analysis, and the x-ray.
6. The Seven Fortean Wonders of the World
Easily the most eccentric list comes from the Charles Fort Institute, a society for skeptics whose interests veer toward the unorthodox and paranormal. They sponsored an online voting contest to determine the greatest of "history's uber-mysteries." The final list contained Bigfoot/Yeti, the Shroud of Turin, the Piri Reis Map, UFOs, Oak Island, Crop Circles, and Nazca. I didn't know what several of these were myself; you can check out the shortlist of candidates here, with descriptions.
7. The New7 Wonders of Nature
One of the most exciting lists of seven wonders is being compiled now: the New7 Wonders of Nature. Run by the same Swiss folks who put together the New Seven Wonders, they're using the tried-and-tested method of a global voting system to determine the seven most wondrous natural structures in the world. The winners will be announced in November 2011, so be sure to get your votes in before then. Even if you aren't going to vote, it's a fun website to browse around "“ had you ever heard of the Jeita Grotto?
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Interestingly enough, not a single Wonder is on this list twice. Did any of these lists get it right? What would be in your top seven?