Having seen the inspiring exhibition - Gold of The Pharaoh's at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh in 1988 on a school trip. I was intrigued and keen to learn more!
While doing some research or in my case playing around (I was only 10) I came across the words "Wonder of the Ancient World". Now I was on a mission to discover what the Wonder's of the Ancient World were. Oh my, I had taken a journey down a rabbit hole!
Did you know there are several lists of Wonders of the World? We are most familiar with the Ancient Wonders of the World. What about the natural wonders, modern wonders, new seven wonders? Today there are even 100 Wonders of the World List Challenges!
The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
The original Wonders of the World list is my favourite but only one monument from it still stands - The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt. The oldest of all the ancient wonders constructed more than 4,500 years ago. The monumental tombs were seen as gateways, to the pharaohs becoming gods in the afterlife.
Relics of Egypt's Old Kingdom, The Great Pyramid of Giza is said to be the tomb for the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops, and his queen. Khufu is believed to have reigned during the 26th century BC from 2589BC to 2566BC.
It took a number of years until I was finally on my way to see this great place with these incredible monumental structures. It was a bit surreal, there they were at the end of the main road leading out of Cairo. Stepping off the bus in a place that felt quite alien. The heat hits you once more, while the landscape surrounding me dry and baron, camels grunting and the pungent smell as they got closer. "No, thank you" I had heard the stories of people disappearing into the distance on camels. Anyway, there wasn't much time to explore before getting back on board the bus.
It was a day trip from the cruise ship, one I will never forget.
Have you visited? What did you think? Were you brave enough to go inside the narrow and dark passage and into the chamber?
Me in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza ©MDHarding (photo taken before digital)
Some say it's the only man-made structure you can see from space, but this has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Do you know what's next?
The Great Wall of China
It's not at all what I imagined it to be like. Yes, it's a wall but the stairs along it were two to three feet high! It was a real work out. Did you think it was flat too?
Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Great Wall around 221B.C. It is said that as many as 400,000 people died during its construction. Many are buried within the wall itself.
Spanning over 13,171 miles 921,196 km) to protect and consolidate territories it has been maintained and added to throughout the years. The most well-known section of the wall was built by the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).
Stephen Robert Loken, 41, Norway, hiked the entire Ming Dynasty section spanning 3,728 miles (6000km). It took 601 days!
We set off early (middle of the night) to drive and have as much time as possible at The Great Wall. It was February and even with the sun shining it was bitter cold. There are several points where you can ascend. Our small group alone, in what seemed like a vast deserted wilderness. Local children appeared from nowhere, inquisitive and curious to who we were and where we had come from. They offered to carry our bags and keep us company along the wall.
Have you ever visited? If not, I can highly recommend it! I travelled on a group tour with an adventure company. If you have little time and would love to see all the highlights inc the Terracotta Warriors, Pandas and much more it is perfect.
Just after climbing along The Great Wall of China (in the background) ©MDHarding
(photo was taken before digital)
Still in Asia, photographs of this Wonder of the World don't do it justice. It has to be seen to be believed.
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Each time I have visited, I'm still taken back and in awe, as when I first saw the incredible white marble structure with it's inlaid precious gems and jewels.
The mausoleum was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to host the tomb of his favourite wife. Built between 1632 - 1653, it has seen more than 8 million visitors (2014). Taking over 20,000 skilled artisans and said to cost 32 million rupees (2020 347,000. GBP).
Today it is a UNESCO world heritage site and also declared to be a winner of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Have you visited the Indian masterpiece? Did you know you can take a day trip from Delhi to see this beautiful building? To make the most of your visit I would recommend at least an overnight stay in Agra.
Taj Mahal & Me ©MDHarding
Now for a bit closer to home....
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The Colosseum located in the centre of Rome, Italy is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman structures. Built for audiences of between 50,000 and 80,000. Opening in 80AD it was popular to watch Gladiator combats. It was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in Lisbon 2007.
One of the most easily accessible of all the Wonders of the World. Have you visited?
Recommend visiting in the low season (winter) when fewer visitors.
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy ©MDHarding (photo was taken before digital)
Now a hop, skip and jump over to South America.
Christ The Redemer, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Did you know you can take a cruise and enjoy both the Rio Carnival and see Christ the Redemer in Brazil? Christ The Redemer a popular attraction at 98 feet (30 metres) tall, I would recommend visiting early morning. I took the cable car/train up (known as bondinho in Portuguese) Mount Corcovado and then there are some steps. One of the highest vantage points to see Rio De Janeiro and also experience the urban rainforest.
Listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, constructed between 1922 & 1931 with reinforced concrete and soapstone.
Is it on your must-see list?
On top of Mount Corcovado, in front of Christ The Redeemer.
(Photo was taken before digital)
Still in South America the enchanting and mystical lands of Peru.
Back in my younger days, I was engrossed by the children's animation - Mysterious Cities of Gold. Have you watched it? Like most stories, there is a hero with an emotional start. That grabs your attention and invested interest to see if they're going to survive. Plus are they going to find the Mysterious Cities of Gold? Set in South America, with action-packed drama from Spanish Conquesidors, Inca & Mayan history and lots more.
Why wouldn't you want to go an see these magical places for yourself? A few years ago we grabbed the opportunity to visit Peru with both hands. It has to have been one of the most amazing trips we have ever taken. It was a small group tour departing from its capital Lima stopping at Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon & Arequipa. Before returning to Lima for the flight home.
We could have easily stayed, gone to Bolivia and more. It was all within touching distance. Argh, we had already booked our return flights and had commitments to return to. Maybe one day.
Have you ever been or is Peru still on your travel list? Don't forget your camera. It's a must!
Machu Picchu, Peru ©MDHarding
I kept the best until last, it's not listed on the Ancient Wonders of the World list but it could have been. Can you guess?
Fearing the worst after hearing about the long lines and hundreds of people that visit the Rose City each day. We were there just after the site opened at 6am. We didn't have to worry. The place was that quiet it was eerie. Can highly recommend visiting in January.
You have probably seen the incredible scenes in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. As Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are on horseback riding through the Siq and out to the ancient Nabatean city of Petra. For years I have dreamt about visiting and was so close many years ago, alas. Everything comes to those that wait. Devine timing and all that. The scale of the site is beyond what I could have imagined. It's 100 square kilometres with many archaeological sites including the famous Treasury.
Today you can visit this stunning New Wonder of the World throughout the year. It's so easy to reach Petra, only two hours drive from Aqaba Airport.
Buy the Jordan Pass before you go, it not only includes your entry but also your visa too!
The Treasury, Petra, Jordan ©MDHarding
What incredible Wonders of the World have you seen? Do you still have some on your travel list? Need any help organising? Drop any questions below.
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Until next time. Happy Travels:)