April 17, 2023

The 7 (or 8) Wonders of the World: Ancient, Modern, and Natural

By Paul William

April 17, 2023

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You might be confused about whether there are 7 Wonders Of The World or 8 — and which locations belong on the official list.

To clear this up, I’ve put together this ultimate guide that goes over ALL the 7 Wonders of the World lists, and covers which wonders are actually included in each.

There are actually 3 different lists referred to as the 7 Wonders of the World:

1. The 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

giza pyramid ancient wonders of world

This is the first list created by ancient historians, and includes:

  • the Great Pyramid of Giza
  • the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • the Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • the Colossus of Rhodes
  • the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • the Lighthouse of Alexandria

2. The New 7 Wonders of the World

taj mahal new wonders modern

An updated Wonder of the World list chosen in 2007 includes still-standing man-made structures including:

  • Chichén Itzá
  • Christ the Redeemer
  • the Great Wall of China
  • Machu Picchu
  • Petra
  • the Colosseum
  • the Taj Mahal

Sometimes the Great Pyramid of Giza is also included with these, and referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World as an honorary mention, since it’s the only remaining ancient wonder that still stands today. (We’ll talk more about the 8 Wonders of the World later on).

3. The 7 Wonders of the Natural World

Grand Canyon Ariel view - 7 natural wonders of the world

A list of natural wonders (not man-made) that were selected by various nature experts. This list includes:

  • the Amazon Rainforest
  • the Great Barrier Reef
  • Victoria Falls
  • Paricutín Volcano
  • the Aurora Borealis
  • the Grand Canyon
  • Mount Everest

Read more below for the list for all the wonders, see what they look like, and to learn more about each one!

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are famous for their remarkable architectural achievements given their time of construction (thousands of years ago).

There’s some incredible history behind these wonders, but unfortunately only one of them is still standing today.

1. Great Pyramid of Giza

Egypt pyramids Giza wonder of the world with sphinx in front

The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was built as a tomb for a Pharaoh named Khufu. It’s the oldest and only remaining wonder of the ancient world.

It seems almost impossible that it could be constructed thousands of years ago due to the precise engineering required, which still amazes researchers and visitors.

Some conspiracy theorists even claim that aliens built the pyramids (I don’t think that’s the case, but I’ll let you make up your own mind).

2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Garden of Babylon artist rendition

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were said to be a series of terraces filled with lush vegetation, built by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife.

Their exact location remains unknown, but it’s rumored to have been in ancient Babylon, near present-day Hillah, Iraq.

There is debate within the archeology community whether these gardens actually existed.

3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

temple of Artemis rendition

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess named Artemis. It’s listed as wonder due to its impressive size and intricate sculptures included in the temple.

Although it’s no longer standing, it’s commonly known that it was located in Ephesus, near present-day Selçuk, Turkey.

4. Statue of Zeus at Olympia

statue of zeus mockup

This was a colossal statue of the God Zeus created by a famous Greek sculptor named Phidias. The gold and ivory statue was sure to catch the eyes back in the day!

5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus


The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built for Mausolus, a Persian ruler and his wife.

The tomb was famous for its sculptures and the unique fusion of Greek, Egyptian, and Lycian styles.

Although it’s no longer standing, the historically site is located near present-day Bodrum, Turkey.

6. Colossus of Rhodes

Drawing of statue of Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes was another gigantic statue of the Greek god Helios.

It was originally built to celebrate Rhodes’ victory in a battle against invading forces from Cyprus.

The statue was unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC and can no longer be seen.

7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

Postcard Drawing lighthouse of Alexandria

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was built to guide sailors safely into the busy harbor of Alexandria, Egypt before we had fancy navigation systems and computers.

It was one of the tallest structures in the ancient world, earning it a spot on this list.

The New 7 Wonders of the World

In 2006-2007, the world voted on a new set of wonders to celebrate modern architecture and the incredible achievements of human progress.

Here are the New 7 Wonders of the World:

1. Chichén Itzá

chicken itza pyramid mexico
El Castillo step pyramid

Chichén Itzá is an ancient Mayan city, famous for the well-preserved El Castillo, a step pyramid that served as a temple to the god Kukulcan.

The site showcases the intricate Mayan architecture and astronomical knowledge of the time.

Most people think that Chichén Itzá is the name of the pyramid, but it’s actually the entire complex of Mayan ruins, while El Castillo is the pyramid most people are familiar with.

2. Christ the Redeemer

Christ the redeemer statue Ariel view

Christ the Redeemer is a world famous statue of Jesus Christ with open arms. It’s located standing on the peak of Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This towering statue is one of the largest Art Deco-style sculptures in the world and is instantly recognizable.

3. Great Wall of China

Great Wall of china from on the wall

The Great Wall of China is an extensive network of walls and forts that stretches over 13,000 miles.

It was originally built to protect China from invading forces and much of the wall is still in good condition today.

Visitors to China can hike the wall at various locations. There is easy access from the city of Beijing.

4. Machu Picchu

Machu picchi overlook andes mountains Peru

Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel nestled among the Andean Mountains in Peru.

This breathtaking archaeological site, often called the “Lost City of the Incas,” features well-preserved stone structures and terraces built on a mountaintop.

This is very impressive since it was built all the way back in 1450 AD.

5. Petra

Petra Jordan

Petra is an ancient city in Jordan, carved into rose-colored sandstone cliffs.

Known as the “Rose City,” it features impressive monuments, including the iconic Al-Khazneh, which showcases the arts and architecture of the Nabatean civilization, an ancient Arab people.

6. Colosseum

rome colosseum

The Colosseum is a huge arena in Rome, Italy.

Back in the day, gladiators would fight it out and other spectacles were performed for the citizens of ancient Rome.

Think of it as their version of a football stadium! You can still visit today and take a tour of the Colosseum.

7. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal in India looking over pool

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum in Agra, India, known as one of the most beautiful buildings on earth.

It was originally built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife.

Because of it’s history, the location is known as a symbol of eternal love and is considered a top masterpiece of architecture throughout the world .

The Seven Wonders of the Natural World

Our planet is home to breathtaking landscapes and natural phenomena that never cease to amaze. Let’s explore the Seven Wonders of the Natural World:

1. Amazon Rainforest

amazon rainforest from above winding river

Spread out across nine countries in South America, the Amazon Rainforest is the largest and most diverse rainforest in the world in terms of plants and animals.

This tropical paradise is home to countless plant and animal species (including some big scary snakes), many of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

2. Great Barrier Reef

turtle swimming through reefs in the ocean

The Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, is the largest coral reef system in the world.

Comprised of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, this vibrant underwater world is home to an astounding array of marine life.

It should be no surprise that visitors travel from all over the world to snorkel and scuba dive at the Great Reef.

3. Victoria Falls

Victoria falls waterfall flowing over big cliff in Africa

Victoria Falls, situated on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is one of the world’s biggest waterfalls.

Locals call it “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (The Smoke That Thunders) — a call out to it’s visually striking appearance and the loud roar of the river as it flows over the cliffs.

4. Paricutín Volcano

Paricutin Volcano Mexico

Parícutin Volcano, a cinder cone volcano in Mexico, is unique mainly because it’s so new.

While most volacanoes formed thousands or millions of years ago, this one emerged suddenly from a farmer’s field in 1943 and grew to over 1,000 feet in just one year.

Its relatively recent formation and accessibility make it a wonder of the natural world.

5. Aurora Borealis

aurora borealis through the trees

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is a natural light display caused by charged particles colliding with Earth’s atmosphere.

This breathtaking phenomenon can be observed in high-latitude regions like Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Canada.

6. Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon with river

The Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River, is the crown jewel natural wonder of Arizona, USA.

The unique layers of red rock showcases the power of water erosion and offers visitors breathtaking vistas.

There are many helicopter tours over the canyon, and even tours where you can ride Mules down into the canyon itself!

7. Mount Everest

the top of Mount Everest summit

Mount Everest is the highest peak on Earth, standing at 29,032 feet above sea level.

Located in the Himalayas between Nepal and China, this mountain welcomes extreme mountain climbers and those who just want to admire it’s beauty.

Getting to the top is no easy feat, and many have died trying.

7 Wonders of the World – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many wonders of the world are there?

The most famous lists include the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the New 7 Wonders of the World, and the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. So there are 21 total Wonders of the World.

Sometimes the “New 7 Wonders of the World” list will also reference the Pyramids of Giza as an 8th mention, as it is the sole remaining ancient wonder that’s still standing.

Which wonder is the oldest?

The oldest wonder of the world is the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is also the only surviving wonder from the ancient list, despite being built thousands of years ago.

Are there any other lists of wonders?

Yes, there are many other lists of wonders, including regional wonders, modern wonders, wonders of the industrial world, wonders of the solar system, and other specific categories. The number of wonders in these lists may vary.

What happened to the other six wonders of the ancient world?

The other six wonders of the ancient world were destroyed over time due to natural disasters, human conflict, or decay. Only the pyramid of Giza remains.

What about the 8th Wonder of the World? I’ve heard many things referred to as the 8th wonder.

The title of the “8th Wonder of the World” is a subject of debate. Most commonly the Pyramid of Giza is added to the “New 7 Wonders” list to create the “8 Wonders of the World” list, but there is much debate around this, with many different interpretations of what’s truly the real 8th wonder.

Additionally, other potential wonders have been proposed as candidates for this title, including Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Panama Canal.

And famously, Albert Einstein once referred to compound interest as the “8th Wonder of the World.”

If you’re interested in seeing what, where, and who else has competed to claim the 8th spot, check out my more in depth post on the 8th wonder here.

At the end of the day, these are all just lists chosen and voted on by groups of experts and the general population — not rules of the universe.

You’re always free to make your own Wonders of the World list which contains your favorite attractions!

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