Lists

Ranking the Wonders of the World

Intro

There are seven wonders of the ancient world: The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, The Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Since only one, the Great Pyramid of Giza, remains, someone (i.e. the Millennium Project and Bernard Weber) apparently took it upon themselves to hold a public vote on what should be the new seven wonders of the world.

They started this initiative even with the knowledge that the public, in general, is stupid. Voting wrapped up in 2007 and the “winners” were announced. Egypt took the Great Pyramid out of the contest because they felt they shouldn’t have to compete for something that they already hold. It was a great point, so they were given honorary status.

At any rate, since I’ve been to all seven “new” wonders of the world, as well as the single remaining “old” wonder, I figured I’d rank all eight. I assume I am the foremost expert on this subject. Thus, the below list is set in stone. It cannot be argued. It is not debatable. It is the final word on the subject. It is, in other words, perfect.

8. The Colosseum

Image from a wonderful photographer: Paolo Marrassini http://wikipronto.com/wiki/colosseum-roma until I can find mine in storage

Why it’s ranked where it is: There are other sites better than this in Rome (e.g. the Forum, Trevi Fountain, most places that serve gelato). The arena floor of the Colosseum is missing, which totally ruins my image of gladiators fighting on it. It just looks like a hollowed-out American sports arena now. Single-handely launched the career of Russell Crowe.

7. Christ the Redeemer

Why you should visit it: The view of Rio is stunning. The statue is grand. Visiting it guarantees your passage into heaven.

Why you shouldn’t go: The statue itself is not the reason to go. It’s large, which is nice, but not exactly on par, detail-wise, with Michelangelo’s David. The statue sits in the middle of a favela, so there’s more than a hint of danger. Because of the danger involved, visiting it may mean that your passage to heaven happens sooner than you planned.

6. Chichén Itzá

bc-chichen

Why it’s rad: Architectural marvel. Sets out to seriously prove it’s the best pyramid in the world. Close to Cancun. Amazing cenotes nearby. Mexican food abound. Rivers consisting entirely of tequila.

Why it’s meh: Can no longer climb it. Fairly crowded because it’s close to Cancun. Tequila rivers perpetually contain remnants of vomit from fraternities on spring break.

Interesting fact: The Mayans (Maya), generally speaking, were expert astronomers. The coolest thing about Chichén Itzá is that on the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun casts its rays on the pyramid’s balustrade, which creates the illusion of a feathered serpent that appears to be moving, or slithering, its way down the steps.

5. Machu Picchu

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Why it’s not #1: It’s a cold, high-elevation city of rubble. Despite repeated requests, no porter would carry me up.

Why it should be #1: Those mountains. Those colors. That view. The story of being “discovered” in 1911 by Yale Professor Hiram Bingham (where would the world be without white people discovering everything?).

Interesting facts: Though most stones are at least 50lbs. or more in weight, it is believed that no wheels were used to transport the stones. The stones were so expertly cut to fit together (using a technique called ashlar), that not even a blade of a knife can fit in between the stones. Oh, and, the entire city was built with Ikea instructions and Alan wrenches.

4. Great Pyramid of Giza

Why it’s amazing: It’s so mysteriously that scholars still somewhat disagree on how it was constructed. It’s gigantic – bigger than expected. It’s the perfect result of years of failed pyramids.

Why it’s not so amazing: It’s in Egypt. It borders a big, dirty city. Rude locals will follow you around. Rude locals will purposely step in front of your camera. Rude locals will lie to you about whether the bathrooms are open. Hell, rude locals will lie to you about whether the pyramids are even open.

3. Taj Mahal

Why it’s not #1: In my opinion, it’s located off the beaten path, in a dirty, almost unbearably-miserable city; The locals are almost more interested in you (meaning, my wife) than they are of the monument.

Why it’s arguably the best Wonder of the World: It has the best backstory (doting husband builds for his wife, put the rest of men in all of history to shame); It’s brilliantly white and impeccably built; It’s just amazingly beautiful – sigh.

2. Petra

Why it’s ranked so high: It’s a miracle city carved out of rock. Yeah, a full city. Not just a building or two. It’s massive. Plus, there’s a narrow slot canyon leading to the Treasury – the crown jewel of Petra. Single-handedly launched the career of Indiana Jones.

Why it’s not #1: It’s in Jordan, so you have to deal with the whole Middle Eastern thing. Maybe it’s just us who were repeatedly harassed in that country. Meh.

Interesting facts: It’s one of the oldest metropolises in the world. There are over 800 carved tombs. The Holy Grail and the bodies of numerous Nazis in search of the Grail are tucked away somewhere deep in the Treasury (Source: Indiana Jones movie).

1. The Great Wall of China

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Why it’s #1: It’s an architectural marvel. The entire wall, with all of its branches, measures over 13,000 miles long. It served a distinct purpose – to stop immigrants from taking the jobs of honest, hardworking Americans (maybe I’m thinking of a different wall). At the Badaling portion of the Great Wall, there is a bobsled-like ride back down to the bottom of the hill (no joke).

Why maybe, just maybe, it shouldn’t be #1: The locals allow their children to “relieve” themselves on the Wall.

Disappointing fact: Sorry to debunk a popular myth, but the Great Wall cannot be seen from the moon.

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