Chances are that you have heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. But did you know that in 2000 this list was superseded by the Seven New Wonders of the World? Sadly, only one of the original wonders still exists – the 3000 year old Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
The endeavour in compiling this new list was a wonder in itself that involved a seven year campaign that encouraged a staggering 100 million people to cast their vote from a choice of 200 monuments. This was whittled down to just seven – plus one. The plus one is the Pyramids of Giza, perhaps as an act of nostalgia.
The Wonders are located across five of the world’s seven continents, from Mexico to China. And you can visit all of them plus the Pyramids of Giza in just one month. Here’s how:
Rome: The Colosseum
Suggested flight route: London to Rome Fiumicino (approx. two hours, 30 minutes)
“The Eternal City” is famous for its ancient architecture and rich history spanning 28 centuries. On your first day in the capital, walk to the famous Piazza Del Campidoglio, which was designed by Michelangelo and make your way to the Colosseum of Rome.
The Colosseum is the world’s largest amphitheatre, built over 1,900 years ago to host gladiatorial contests, executions, animal hunts and other gruesome spectacles. Even in its crumbling state, the Colosseum is a fearsome site to behold. Close your eyes and imagine the roars of more than 50,000 spectators as they watched all the battles and bloodshed.
Cairo: The Pyramids of Giza
Where: Cairo, Egypt
Suggested flight route: Rome Fiumicino to Cairo (approx. 3 hours, 25 minutes)
Fly direct from Rome to Cairo, the Capital of Egypt, and travel the short distance to Giza. Located on the outskirts of the city it’s easy to explore the Pyramids of Giza, the last surviving Wonder of the Ancient World. The complex, which is approximately nine miles from the Nile river, is most famous for its three “Great Pyramids” as well as the Great Sphinx, which measures 73 metres from paw to tail.
The largest of the Great Pyramids was built by the 4th dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh, Khufu, around 3000 years ago and consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks. While you’re in the area, the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo is well worth a visit. The museum contains more than 120,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts, including The Gold Mask of Tutankhamun, composed of 11kg of solid gold.
Where: Southern Jordan
Suggested flight route: Cairo to Amman (approx. 1 hour, 15 minutes)
Amongst the mountains of the Arabah valley in southern Jordan lies the ancient Rose City of Petra. It was once the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom, which flourished in the 4th century BC. Much of the architecture is carved into the awesome mountainous rose-coloured rock. As well as the famous Treasury which contains the tomb for the Nabataean King Aretas III, you can also explore the ancient city such as a Roman colonnaded street and an amphitheatre that dates to the Hellenistic period.
Agra: The Taj Mahal
Where: Agra (near Delhi), India
Suggested flight route: Amman to New Delhi (from 6 hours, 20 minutes, 1 stopover)
The “Crown Jewel of India” was built in the mid 1600s for the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, on the south bank of the Yamuna river. The mausoleum made of ivory white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones is an architectural marvel; yet it has a sad story to tell: it was built in memory of Shah Jahan’s beloved second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died during the birth of her fourteenth child at the tender age of 38. The best time to see the Taj Mahal is while the sun sets over the mausoleum’s central white dome.
The Great Wall of China
Suggested flight route: New Delhi to Beijing Capital (approx. 7 hours)
From India you can fly direct to Beijing, the political, economic and cultural centre of China. Drive 40 minutes from the city centre and you’ll glimpse the winding, ancient pathways of the Great Wall of China. This imposing structure covers an incredible 6700km and was built over 2000 years ago to protect the Chinese states and empires from marauders from the North. Signal towers dotted along the wall’s highest points were used to spot the enemy from afar. While certain sections of the wall are beautifully maintained, others have fallen into crumbling disrepair. The wall itself is a stunning architectural feat, and fits seamlessly into China’s rugged, lush-green landscape.
Mexico: Chichen Itza
Suggested flight route: Beijing Capital to Cancun (from 18 hours, 1 stopover)
The iconic Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are remarkably well preserved. This was once one of the largest Mayan cities and contains a myriad of architectural styles, representing its diverse population during the period. This includes the Chichen-Itza court, the site of one of the Mayan’s favourite sports, which was played with a football-like ball. The court is lined with fascinating carvings including the dramatic beheading with one of the sport’s captains who unfortunately lost the game. Perhaps the most famous building is El Castillo, dedicated to the Feathered Serpent God, Kukulcan. The towering pyramid has 365 steps over four sides, depicting the solar year.
Peru: Machu Picchu
Where: Cuzco Region, Urubamba Province, Peru
Suggested flight route: Cancun to Lima (approx. 5 hours) then Lima to Cuzco (approx. 1 hour 20 minutes)
Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites: a 15th Inca century citadel built on the mountain summit above the Sacred Valley. To get there, you can take a scenic train through the mountains to the town of Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. You’ll then be able to explore the incredible complex, including the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial and the Royal Quarters. Although less than 600 years old, the citadel feels as if it is from a very different time and place.
Brazil: Christ The Redeemer
Suggested flight route: Cuzco to Rio De Janeiro (from 8 hours, 35 minutes, 1 stop)
From Cuzco you can fly to Lima then on to the buzzing city of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city and host of the 2016 Olympics. Atop the of Corcovado (meaning “hunchback” in Portuguese) is the youngest of the Seven Wonders, the monumental statue of Christ the Redeemer. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30 metres high and was almost entirely funded by donations by Brazilian Catholics.
Can it be done in a month?
Absolutely! With some clever planning, researching flights and booking hotels and excursions you can visit all of the eight Wonders and leave plenty of time to relax and explore the nearby attractions.