NEW SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
IN THE year 2000, a Swiss foundation initiated a campaign aimed at identifying the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Considering that the original Seven Wonders catalog was compiled in the 2nd century BCE, and with just one of those wonders, the Pyramids of Giza, still standing, it became evident that an update was long overdue.
Interestingly, people worldwide seemed to concur, as more than 100 million votes were cast through the Internet or via text messaging.
When the final results were unveiled in 2007, they elicited both applause and criticism. Some prominent contenders, such as Athens’s Acropolis, didn’t make the final cut. Do you align with the choices made for the new list?
Please read on:
- Great Wall of China
Great might be an understatement. One of the world’s largest building-construction projects, the Great Wall of China is widely thought to be about 5,500 miles (8,850 km) long; a disputed Chinese study, however, claims the length is 13,170 miles (21,200 km). Work began in the 7th century BCE (Before the Common Era) and continued for two millennia. Although called a “wall,” the structure actually features two parallel walls for lengthy stretches. In addition, watchtowers and barracks dot the bulwark. One not-so-great thing about the wall, however, was its effectiveness. Although it was built to prevent invasions and raids, the wall largely failed to provide actual security. Instead, scholars have noted that it served more as “political propaganda.”
- Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is a Mayan city on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, which flourished in the 9th and 10th centuries CE. Under the Mayan tribe Itzá—who were strongly influenced by the Toltecs—a number of important monuments and temples were built. Among the most notable is the stepped pyramid El Castillo (“The Castle”), which rises 79 feet (24 meters) above the Main Plaza. A testament to the Mayans’ astronomical abilities, the structure features a total of 365 steps, the number of days in the solar year. During the spring and autumnal equinoxes, the setting sun casts shadows on the pyramid that give the appearance of a serpent slithering down the north stairway; at the base is a stone snake head. Life there was not all work and science, however. Chichén Itzá is home to the largest tlachtli (a type of sporting field) in the Americas. On that field the residents played a ritual ball game popular throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
The ancient city of Petra, Jordan, is located in a remote valley, nestled among sandstone mountains and cliffs. It was purported to be one of the places where Moses struck a rock and water gushed forth. Later the Nabataeans, an Arab tribe, made it their capital, and during this time it flourished, becoming an important trade center, especially for spices. Noted carvers, the Nabataeans chiseled dwellings, temples, and tombs into the sandstone, which changed color with the shifting sun. In addition, they constructed a water system that allowed for lush gardens and farming. At its height, Petra reportedly had a population of 30,000. The city began to decline, however, as trade routes shifted. A major earthquake in 363 CE caused more difficulty, and after another tremor hit in 551, Petra was gradually abandoned. Although rediscovered in 1912, it was largely ignored by archaeologists until the late 20th century, and many questions remain about the city.
- Machu Picchu
This Incan site near Cuzco, Peru, was “discovered” in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, who believed it was Vilcabamba, a secret Incan stronghold used during the 16th-century rebellion against Spanish rule. Although that claim was later disproved, the purpose of Machu Picchu has confounded scholars. Bingham believed it was home to the “Virgins of the Sun,” women who lived in convents under a vow of chastity. Others think that it was likely a pilgrimage site, while some believe it was a royal retreat. (One thing it apparently should not be is the site of a beer commercial. In 2000 a crane being used for such an ad fell and cracked a monument.) What is known is that Machu Picchu is one of the few major pre-Columbian ruins found nearly intact. Despite its relative isolation high in the Andes Mountains, it features agricultural terraces, plazas, residential areas, and temples.
- Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer, a colossal statue of Jesus, stands atop Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. Its origins date to just after World War I, when some Brazilians feared a “tide of godlessness.” They proposed a statue, which was ultimately designed by Heitor da Silva Costa, Carlos Oswald, and Paul Landowski. Construction began in 1926 and was completed five years later. The resulting monument stands 98 feet (30 meters) tall—not including its base, which is about 26 feet (8 meters) high—and its outstretched arms span 92 feet (28 meters). It is the largest Art Deco sculpture in the world. Christ the Redeemer is made of reinforced concrete and is covered in approximately six million tiles. Somewhat disconcertingly, the statue has often been struck by lightning, and in 2014 the tip of Jesus’s right thumb was damaged during a storm.
The Colosseum in Rome was built in the first century by order of the Emperor Vespasian. A feat of engineering, the amphitheater measures 620 by 513 feet (189 by 156 meters) and features a complex system of vaults. It was capable of holding 50,000 spectators, who watched a variety of events. Perhaps most notable were gladiator fights, though men battling animals was also common. In addition, water was sometimes pumped into the Colosseum for mock naval engagements. However, the belief that Christians were martyred there—namely, by being thrown to lions—is debated. According to some estimates, about 500,000 people died in the Colosseum. Additionally, so many animals were captured and then killed there that certain species reportedly became extinct.
- Taj Mahal
This mausoleum complex in Agra, India, is regarded as one of the world’s most iconic monuments and is perhaps the finest example of Mughal architecture. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58) to honor his wife Mumtāz Maḥal (“Chosen One of the Palace”), who died in 1631 giving birth to their 14th child. It took about 22 years and 20,000 workers to construct the complex, which includes an immense garden with a reflecting pool. The mausoleum is made of white marble that features semiprecious stones in geometric and floral patterns. Its majestic central dome is surrounded by four smaller domes. According to some reports, Shah Jahān wished to have his own mausoleum made out of black marble. However, he was deposed by one of his sons before any work began.
(Filed by Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)
Image Courtesy of The Kahimyang Project
Today in Filipino history, on September 24, 1669, Manuel de Leon took possession of the Philippines as the new governor-general. He was appointed by royal provision on June 24, 1668, and arrived in Manila on September 24, 1669.
During his time the seeds of cacao were brought to the Philippines and planted first in Carigara, Leyte. De Leon extended the commerce of the islands to China, India, and Java, and thus enabled the citizens of Manila to attain unusual wealth and prosperity.
On April 11, 1677 (according to Concepcion’s account from his Hist. de Philipinas, vii, pp. 258, 259), Governor Manuel de Leon died due to excessive obesity. De Leon left all his property for charitable purposes.
Casimiro Diaz from his Conquistas said that Governor General Manuel de Leon died on the night of April 8, 1676.
On account of his death, the senior auditor, Don Francisco de Coloma, took charge of the government, in company with auditors Don Francisco de Mansilla and Don Diego Calderón y Serrano for civil affairs.
Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan
The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XLII, 1670-1700, page 15, 157-161 E. H. Blair, Gutenberg EBook #34384
(Filed by Jr Amigo/A. Inigo/mnm)
Photo of the brand new Cessna-208B (C-208B) Grand Caravan EX Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Aircraft that has been added to the Philippine Air Force’s fleet after its formal acceptance, turn-over, and blessing on September 19, 2023, in Clark Air Base, Mabalacat, Pampanga. Secretary of National Defense, Gilberto Teodoro Jr. was the Guest of Honor at the turnover ceremony. Photo from Philippine Air Force
THE United States government officially handed over a surveillance aircraft to the Philippines on Tuesday, aimed at bolstering monitoring efforts amidst growing concerns over China’s increasing activities in the West Philippine Sea.
This includes alleged coral harvesting within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The transfer of this US aircraft follows closely on the heels of global attention being drawn to China’s reported large-scale destruction of coral reefs and marine life in the Rozul (Iroquois) Reef and Escoda Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
Simultaneously, satellite imagery released on Tuesday revealed a suspected buildup of Chinese vessels at Rozul Reef, which is located 125 nautical miles from Palawan and positioned at the southwest edge of Reed (Recto) Bank.
Ray Powell, Director of SeaLight, emphasized that their partners at Planet Labs provided “clear visual evidence” of at least 35 Chinese fishing and maritime militia vessels operating at Rozul Reef. While he couldn’t definitively confirm these as Chinese maritime militia vessels based on the images alone, historical patterns, vessel sizes, and behavior strongly suggest their origin.
Historically, Powell pointed out that vessels from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been consistently monitored in this area. Additionally, he noted that neighboring Southeast Asian countries typically do not possess fishing ships of such size, as depicted in the satellite imagery.
Powell also highlighted the “swarming/rafting” behavior exhibited by the ships in the satellite image, a tactic commonly associated with Chinese vessels in the region.