Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Seven Wonders of the World...according to Colleen

I saw yesterday that there's a movement to sort of re-identify the Seven Wonders of the World, mainly because all but one of them no longer exist.

I guess if they're no longer standing, they don't consider them wonders? I suppose that makes sense.

Anyway, the Swiss foundation (New7Wonders) spearheading the change has a list of twenty-one finalists, and they're asking for people to vote on which monuments should be included.

I remember learning about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and then it seems to me there was a list of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, etc.

Interestingly enough, the criteria for inclusion on this new "potential Wonders" list is that the item must have been finished before the year 2000.

If I were making the decision, I'd still be looking at monuments and buildings that were:
1) built before modern technology (ie, without the use of gas or steam machinery) and

2) are grand in scale

3) have some sort of cultural or sociological meaning this would be my list:

1) The Pyramids at Giza~the only one of the original Seven Wonders that is still standing. I think it's a no-brainer why these mammoth objects should be included in the updated list.

2) The Great Wall of China~it meets my criteria in the sense that it's ancient, and of course it's mammoth enough to be seen from space. Various walls were built as early as 200 BCE, and as late as the 17th century as a protection. It was built by the man-power of criminals, prisoners of war, and political dissidents, who were also in danger of being attacked by brigands during the construction. The wall was made to protect and provide a line of dermarcaktion for various Chinese Dynasties.

3) Angkor Wat (Cambodia)~Built in the early 12th century, this temple is considered to be the largest religious structure in the world. Originally built as a Hindu temple, its main structure (shown here) later became a center of Buddhism. The towers are shaped like lotus buds, common aspects of Khmer architecture, and the entire design of the temple is harmonious and balanced. (Read more here about this interesting structure.)

4) The Colosseum (Rome)~As I'm writing my third Gardella Vampire Chronicles book, which takes place in 19th century Rome, I'm researching this amazing building as the site of one of the scenes. I don't know why it wasn't included in the "original" Seven Wonders, but I'm putting it on my list.

This amazing amphitheater was built using the pulley system, which allowed the workers to lift the massive blocks, and was designed to be as comfortable to ancient Romans as our Superdomes are today. There were 80 ground-floor entrances, three tiers of seating, bathrooms and running water throughout, and a removable roof that could be pulled over the viewers in the case of inclement weather. We don't even have that feature in our arenas now! It could seat 50,000 people. Definitely a Wonder!

5) Macchu Picchu (Peru)~The most familiar symbol of the Incan Empire, Macchu Picchu is set amid the lush green mountains of Peru. Not merely a city, but more of a retreat for important Inca nobility, it was built with the mountains in the background so as to appear like Incan faces turned up toward the heavens. The structure is made with polished dry-stone walls, cut to fit perfectly together without mortar, in a technique called ashlar. The space includes temples, sanctuaries, apartments, and gardens.

6) Stonehenge (England)~Truly another ancient marvel, these massive stones were somehow raised and arranged in a perfect alignment. There are many theories as to why and what they were used for, but most experts agree that the placement had to do with their alignment with objects in space during the ancient times.

(Interestingly, Graham Hancock's Footprint of the Gods discusses the amazing similarities between the placement of structures at Stonehenge, Giza, Angkor Wat and one other location in the Western Hemisphere that I cannot recall at this time. Very interesting theories.)

7) The Taj Mahal (Agra, India)~I must admit, I'm a bit biased by including the Taj in this list. It's not as ancient as the other items on this list (built in the mid-17th century), but it's so breathtakingly gorgeous and architecturally perfect that it get my vote.

A monument for the Shah Jahan's deceased wife, its pearl-like beauty is most appreciated when one sees how the architectural style evolved from previous temples and monuments that weren't quite perfect, and ended here, where it could get absolutely no better. We have balance, we have minnarets of the perfect height and placement, we have symmetry, and the epitome of the onion-shaped dome. Built with white marble inlaid with precious gems that catch the morning and evening sun, the Taj is glorious. Perfection and glory. I really hope to see it in person some day. (Maybe a Gardella book set in India is in line?)

So that's my list. Here are some of the others in contention. Which ones would you include? Which ones have you visited?

Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Chichen Itza Aztec site, Yucatan, Mexico

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Easter Island Statues, Chile
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Hagia Sophia church, Istanbul, Turkey

Kyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Kremlin/St.Basil's, Moscow
Neuschwanstein Castle, Fussen, Germany
Petra ancient city, Jordan
Statue of Liberty, New York
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Timbuktu city, Mali


Blogger Jana DeLeon soliloquized...

How about Paul Walker?

Okay, so I'm a PW junkie. :)

Loved the photos - wish I could visit them all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Jaye Wells soliloquized...

Fun topic today. Ii don't know that I could chose only seven. As for your question, I've been to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, St. Basil's in Moscow and Neuschwanstein in Germany. Reading your list is giving me the traveling bug. I'd love to visit all of those sites at some point.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Tori Lennox soliloquized...

Personally, I think the Statue of Liberty, the Eifel Tower, and especially the Sydney Opera House are way too modern to be included. I voted for the Acropolis, the Colosseum, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Petra, the Pyramids at Giza, and Stonehenge. I wanted to add the Easter Island statues because nobody's ever figured out exactly how they were erected, but I had to draw the line somewhere. :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Ooh, Jaye, I'm jealous that you've seen all of those! I've only seen the Eiffel Tower (and I have no excuse for not seeing Stonehenge, as I was in England for two weeks).

Tori, I completely agree with you. How can something so modern, built with machines, be considered a wonder when there are structures made on a much grander scale--without our modern machinery.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

I like your list Colleen :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger angela soliloquized...

Great list!

I've visited the Eiffel Tower, The Colosseum (tho it's being renovated, and the scaffolding on one side made for some not-so-pretty pictures, and the Statue of Liberty.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 1:01:00 PM  
Blogger scribbit soliloquized...

It does leave one to wonder why the year 2000? Ancient things are much more impressive given the methods of construction.

Sidenote: Historical author? Historical fiction is my guilty pleasure. My husband who's Techy-nonfiction Man laughs but I love them.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger scribbit soliloquized...

Okay don't laugh but since you asked . . . I'm really into "vintage" 1930s type stuff like Raphael Sabatini and Samuel Shellabarger--something about those old hardbacks with "To John, Christmas 1935" written on the inside flap thrills me. I also like historical mysteries which are kind of popular right now--I'll be going to another convention next year (Bouchercon). Probably more info than you wanted. I'd love to check out what you've written.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 1:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

I love your list! It's exactly what I would pick!

Well this makes me smile:

I've seen 2, 3, & 4 on your list of 7 wonders! And they are a wonder!

Now. To get to the other 4!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 1:57:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Zeek, I'm so jealous! Lucky you. I've wanted to see Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal ever since I took about three classes on Asian Architecture in college. Fascinating.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 2:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

I've been to the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House. My younger brothers don't appreciate history, so I'll have to go to the rest on my own.

I'd switch the Acropolis for the Colosseum though. That's the only change I'd make to your list.

I do not like the idea of the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty or the Sydney Opera House as one of them. I think it's preposterous that they are even on the list.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 2:36:00 PM  
Anonymous N. Mallory soliloquized...

I've been to Stonehenge and have been one of the lucky ones inside the fence. Very moving. I had to laugh when my companion went "Wow, they're much bigger than I thought they'd be."

I have to agree that I think anything made with modern technology shouldn't count as one of the Seven Wonders. I probably would have gone Greek rather than pick the Taj though, but that's just my personal bias. ;)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 2:58:00 PM  
Blogger Spike soliloquized...

Scribbit. Just like me, I love the old, inscribed books you find in second hand book shops. Biggest thrill for me was finding a book in North Berwick, Scotland that was inscribed with a name and date of June 21st 1960, New Jersey. The date of my birth.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:26:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Hey, N....I know I probably should have put the Acropolis on the list if I was really being consistent :-) ~~it fits better. But I just love the Taj Mahal.

Spike, thanks for stopping by. What a really cool thing to have found a book with your birthdate inscribed! Very serendipitous and synchronistic.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

I really REALLY want to see the pyramids and petra as well. OH and the Taj!

Ankhor Wat was something! I did it in two days on the back of a cycle with a local. The main wat (the one you pictured) is only part of the whole experience!

The same young man that took me around Angkor Wat also got his best friend to take me to a river city when he had to go to school the next day. (RE: The river "city": it's amazing how some people live- we really have no clue sometimes!) AND I went to a wedding reception with them the one evening!

I know this all sounds dangerous- letting two strange guys haul me around like that- but they really were sweet and perfect gentlemen! (Besides they both got a nice monatary tip in the end!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:42:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Zeek, you and my (single) brother would get along great. He does stuff like that all the time--because he travels alone, he gets to meet the locals and really gets integrated into their world. Very lucky!

He visited Angkor Wat last year, Macchu Picchu a few years before, and is going to Africa in a month.

Hmmmm....did you say you were from PA?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:49:00 PM  
Blogger Spike soliloquized...

Thanks Colleen, it was a weird coincidence, the book was also an old UFO publication that I was after.

By the way, can't wait for your books to come out, but, will they be too romantic for your average male reader?

Many Thanks


Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:50:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Hey Spike...thanks. And really wild that the inscribed book was one you were looking for. Talk about freaky.

As for the level of romance in my books...there is a love story, but there's a lot more than that going on.

The story is really about a woman who finds out she's sort of a superhero in Jane Austen England, and how she tries to balance her life in that world.

I've had a few guys read it, and they didn't think it was too romantic at all. :-)

I hope this helps. You can read an excerpt (on my website)or listen to the first chapter (on the right side of the blog) to get a feel for the book.

Thanks for your interest!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 4:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Gypsy soliloquized...

I like your list!

I don't think things like the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House should be included. They seem way too new. I don't see them with a sense of wonder -- they don't seem to me to be a testament to an amazing human effort.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 4:45:00 PM  
Blogger Dance Chica soliloquized...

I would love to see the pyramids and I am dying to one day go to Cambodia! I’d love to see the temples.

Timbuktu city is another place I’d like to see as well as: the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, Macchu Picchu, the Taj Mahal…my dream is to one day travel all over the world so pretty much everywhere you mentioned I’d like to go.

I got to go to Italy last summer for school and one of the sites we visited was the Colosseum in Rome. It was amazing but I will say that it’s a lot more decayed than it appears in pictures (which, I suppose, is to be expected since it’s so old). But still, a great experience esp. for a huge fan of the movie Gladiator, like me.

Great post! :-)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 5:03:00 PM  
Blogger Alyssa Goodnight soliloquized...

What a great little travelogue, Colleen! Don't know what I'd pick. Sadly, I haven't visited any of these places...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 5:50:00 PM  
Blogger Zeus soliloquized...

I haven't visited any of these places, but I think your list should be taken into serious consideration. You chose all of the places (and then some!) that I would have chosen.

Also, (and normally, I would never do this, but I don't know of any other way to do it!) I was hoping you would come by and participate in my friend's contest. The details are on my blog which will lead you to her's. I think you would definitely win since you are, after all, the professional writer! ;) (Actually, I'm just curious to see what you would come up with!) Love you, Colleen!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Jill soliloquized...

Loved the blog, loved the photos. I feel like I learned something today, always a good thing!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 7:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

LOL! you little matchmaker you! Nice try but the bf might have a little problem with that!

(But funny coincidence, I've always felt like Africa is my next spot!)

Thursday, October 19, 2006 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger Carl V. soliloquized...

I think the more modern stuff, like the Statue of Liberty, shouldn't be included. I wish they would call them something else though. Since all but one of the Seven Wonders no longer exist except in memory, no doubt preserved by their inclusion as part of the Seven Wonders, I would hate to see other places associated with this terminology. There is too much passing over history the way it is.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Catherine Avril Morris soliloquized...

I agree w/ Tori Lennox et al re: the Statue of Liberty and other modern monuments erected with the benefit of modern building techniques--I was surprised to see in the Yahoo article that the Statue of Liberty is even in the running. I mean, that vs. the likes of Stonehenge? And we don't even know how Stonehenge got there? C'mon!

(And what about Benicio del Toro? He wasn't made with modern machinery either... :) )

Finally, I'm wondering why we have to limit the Wonders of the World to seven.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 8:16:00 PM  

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