We often talk about the seven wonders of the world, but which ones are they?! The number of natural and cultural sites that claim to be among them is enormous – this article tries to narrow down the selection a little.

The seven wonders of the ancient world

The wonders are listed by their age here, oldest first.

  • Pyramids of Khufu, 26th century BC
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon, 6th century BC
  • Temple of Artemis, 6th century BC
  • Statue of Zeus, 5th century BC
  • Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, 4th century BC
  • Colossus of Rhodes, 3rd century BC
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria, 3rd century BC

Howard Hilman

Howard Hilman claims that we make five notable mistakes when we still refer to the same seven wonders of the world today as we did in ancient times, namely:

  • The wonders are all located within a very limited portion of the earths surface, thus not representing the overall variety.
  • Natural wonders are completely ignored in this list.
  • The list over-emphasize greek culture omitting once again the overall diversity.
  • Structures we regard as ancient and wonderous today were not even thought of for another (5) thousand years at the time of the making of the list.
  • A lot has happened over the past 2000 years that might qualify for reconsidering the content of this list

Hillman therefore suggests this list as the seven wonders of todays world:

  • Pyramids of Egypt
  • Great Wall of China
  • Taj Mahal
  • Grand Canyon
  • Serengeti Migration
  • Machu Picchu
  • Iguazu Falls

The National Geographic Society

Taking on another approach, the National Geographic Society enters the ring and introduce their own list of wonders of the world. They do not claim that these are the seven wonders, but state quite clearly that they are the seven NATURAL wonders of the world:

  • The Grand Canyon
  • Mount Everest
  • The harbor of Rio de Janeiro
  • Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil
  • Yosemite Valley’s giant sequoias
  • The Nile River
  • Aurora Borealis (the northern lights)

Readers Digest Magazine

Reader’s Digest Magazine, allthough not a great research organization agrees with the first three choices above from National Geographic, but wish to replace the latter four choices, rendering this final list of natural wonders of the world.

  • The Grand Canyon
  • Mount Everest
  • The harbor of Rio de Janeiro
  • Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • The caves of France and Spain
  • Paricutin, a volcano in Mexico.

The Seven Wonders Homepage

The seven wonders homepage also address the problem of defining the seven wonders and adds a number of candidates to the list:

Forgotten Wonders

  • Abu Simbel Temple in Egypt
  • Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  • The Aztec Temple in Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), Mexico
  • The Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines
  • Borobudur Temple in Indonesia
  • The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Inca city of Machu Picchu, Peru
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
  • The Mayan Temples of Tikal in Northern Guatemala
  • The Moai Statues in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile
  • Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France
  • The Throne Hall of Persepolis in Iran
  • The Parthenon in Athens, Greece
  • Petra, the rock-carved city in Jordan
  • The Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar
  • Stonehenge in England
  • Taj Mahal in Agra, India
  • The Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque, Mexico

Modern Wonders

  • The Channel Tunnel
  • The Clock Tower (Big Ben) in London, England
  • The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada
  • Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
  • The Empire State Building in New York City, USA
  • The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, USA
  • The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA
  • The High Dam in Aswan, Egypt
  • Hoover Dam in Arizona/Nevada, USA
  • Itaipu Dam in Brazil/Paraguay
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, USA
  • The Panama Canal
  • The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • The Statue of Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • The Statue of Liberty in New York City, USA
  • The Suez Canal in Egypt
  • The Sydney Opera House in Australia

Natural Wonders

  • Angel Falls in Venezuela
  • The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada
  • The Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA
  • The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • Iguazu Falls in Brazil/Argentina
  • Krakatoa Island in Indonesia
  • Mount Everest in Nepal
  • Mount Fuji in Japan
  • Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
  • Niagara Falls in Ontario (Canada) and New York State (USA)
  • Paricutin Volcano in Mexico
  • Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe

Further reading on the topic

More information can be found at at these addresses: