The first World Wonder I ever saw was Machu Picchu in Peru, in September 2007. Exploring the grounds and the in-tact remains of temples was a special adventure and education. After that visit, I knew I had to experience more of the World Wonders.
Here are five World Wonders I visited during the past 13 months of travel, plus two other sites I saw that I think should be recognized as well. See Wikipedia for a detailed list of World Wonders).
World Wonders I saw this year
1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
The Taj Mahal is a tomb built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife who bore him 14 children. The building cost is estimated at 32 million rupees in the 1600’s, or equivalent to $1 billion, according to one calculation on Quora. Contrary to what’s shown in the Slumdog Millionaire movie, you don’t have to leave your shoes outside the Taj. Your entrance fee includes a pair of red cloth covers to put over your shoes. Entrance fee: 750 Indian rupees ($15).
2. Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Istanbul, Turkey
Originally as a basilica in the 500’s and converted to a mosque in the 1400’s. It was especially interesting to see mosaics of biblical scenes in a mosque. The building didn’t look impressive to me from the outside, but I was stunned when I stepped inside. The grandness felt similar to St. Peter’s basilica at the Vatican, but in a mosque. Admission cost: 20 Turkish lira ($12).
3. The Colosseum (Colosseo), Rome
Completed in 60 AD, the Colosseum is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering and seats 50,000 spectators. Unlike some of the other world wonders which are buffered from cars or nearby congestion, the Colosseum is right downtown and surrounded by busy streets. Admission fee: 15.50 Euros ($21)
4. Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
The Pyramids of Giza is the only remaining structure from the list of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built in 2560 BC, it’s about 140 metres tall. It’s hard to tell the height of the building from my photo, but each stone is 2-3 feet hight. Entrance fee: 60 Egyptian pounds ($11) to enter grounds (includes the Sphinx), 100 Egyptian pounds to enter the Great Pyramid.
5. Petra, Jordan
Walking by tombs carved into rock faces and the walking through the rose-coloured canyon to the Treasury is an experience in itself. You aren’t allowed to go inside the Treasury, but during my evening visit, it rained and the night guide let us sit inside the Treasury. Admission fee: 50/55/60 Jordan dinars for a 1/2/3 day pass ($75, $80, $90) if you’re staying at least 1 night in Jordan, else admission is 90 JD ($135).
6. World Wonder finalist – Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Built in the 12th century, started as a Hindu temple but later became Buddhist in the 13th century. complex of wats (temples). The entire Angkor archeological site is 400km2 and to get to Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples, you need either vehicle or tuk tuk. Sections of the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie was filmed at Bayon. Entry fee: 20/40/60 USD for 1/3/7 day pass.
7. World Wonder finalist – Dead Sea, Jordan/Israel
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the earth’s surface at 425m below sea level. Israel is on the west bank, and can be seen from the shore of Jordan on the east bank. The Dead Sea has incoming rivers, but no outgoing rivers so as water evaporates, salt and other minerals are left behind. Entry fee: 15 Jordan dinars ($22) for the public beach.
>> Which World Wonders have you seen? Which one do you want to see next?
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