There have always been ‘wonders of the world’: iconic symbols of representation designed to rubber-stamp some kind of permanence on the land or peoples represented by their presence. Their existence, often only confirmed by legend or hearsay, remained mysterious to those who could only dream of travelling unachievable distances to view such sights for themselves: maybe dreaming at looking on in wonder at their majesty and magnificence. The ‘original’ seven wonders of the ancient world are easy to research at the click of a mouse, but here is a reminder: the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (which is the one best remembered by most), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Realistically, things have changed. Might I suggest that the ancient world has little or no relevance to the peoples of the world today, though there are still iconic structures that have the power to amaze and startle. Of the seven, only the word ‘Pyramid’ remains on most ‘wonderful’ lists. Perhaps today the others have been replaced by America’s Grand Canyon, Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa, India’s Taj Mahal, the Brandenburg Gate, the Eiffel Tower, the Elizabeth tower of Big Ben, oh, and the Pyramids of Egypt. I’m sure we have our own lists that might even include the likes of Rome’s magnificent Colluseum or the Statue of Liberty in New York. However be warned, the latter has many impostors around the world, including one in Leicester: make sure you visit the right one!
I once came across a copy of the Statue of Liberty in a little village called Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer on the coastline near Marseille, one of four replicas of the Statue in France though, just for the record, I didn’t for one second imagine that I was standing anywhere near Liberty Island in Manhattan. So, what would be on your Seven World Wonders list?