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Stone and the 7 New Wonders of the World

The ‘Wonders of the World’ concept dates back to the 5th century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus, who contemplated the incredible achievements of art & architecture by the Persians and Greeks. Various Wonders of the World lists have been published throughout history—from ancient structures (made of stone) to natural wonders—in honour of celebrating the world's most spectacular features made by man. In 2007, 200 monuments across the globe were nominated to become the next “7 New Wonders of the World”. Over 100 million voters narrowed the list down to the final seven. Amazingly—but not surprisingly, all of the monuments are built with some component of stone.

Naturally, we were curious to explore further. Here are the 7 New Wonders, from oldest to newest:

©Handson Lu–Great Wall of China

Starting with the Great Wall of China—(700 B.C.), these walls were built along the northern borders of ancient China to protect emperors’ territory. In the beginning, rammed earth and wood made up most of the wall. Each emperor strengthened and extended the wall. In some places, the wall is constructed of brick, #quarriedgranite or even #marbleblocks. These walls currently stretch ~22,000 km. It would take around 18 months to walk its length!

©Emile Guillemot–Petra

Next on the list is Petra—(312 B.C.), also known as the “Lost City” or “Rose City,” was built in the deserts of Jordan. Tombs, monuments, and houses were carved right into the sides of #pinksandstone cliffs using an early technique known as “rock-cutting” architecture—creating structures, buildings, and sculptures by excavating solid rock where it naturally occurs. Petra stretches approximately 100 km2 through canyons, up mountains and along riverbeds. The name Petra originates from the Greek word ‘Petros,’ which means rocks. How fitting?!

©David Libeert–Colosseum

The roman Colosseum—(80 A.D.) in Italy, was built by Emperor Vespasian. Intended to be an entertainment venue, hosting gladiatorial shows and other events with 50,000-80,000 spectators. The Colosseum measures 620 x 513 ft. and is built of #travertinelimestone, #tuff (volcanic rock), and brick-faced concrete. Mortar was not used; instead, iron clamps held the stones together. An estimated 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stone was used, mined from the quarries of Tivoli, 20 miles away. The Colosseum is famous for being the world's largest amphitheatre.