Many lists depicting
the Wonders of the World have been compiled over the ages.They are used to catalogue the most spectacular
man-made constructions and natural monuments in the world.The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
is the first known published list of wonders.It is a collection of remarkable man-made creations
of classical antiquity.Over the years, many similar articles have been developed.In
2007, a popularity poll was conducted in order to select the New Seven Wonders of the World.I will be examining some of the most mysterious and beautiful places on the planet.Anyone of these
landmarks would be a magical place to visit.
10. The Sleeping
Location: Sibley Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
The Sleeping Giant
is a formation of mesas and sills on Sibley Peninsula which resembles a giant lying on its back when viewed from the
West to Northwest section of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.As you move southward along the shoreline
toward Squaw Bay, the Sleeping Giant starts to separate into various sections. Most distinctly, in
the view from the cliffs at Squaw Bay, the Giant appears to have an "Adam's Apple.”The
formation is part of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.Its dramatic steep cliffs are among the
highest in Ontario (250 m).
An Ojibway legend
identifies the giant as Nanabijou, who was turned to stone when the secret location of a rich silver mine now known as
Silver Islet was disclosed to the white men.Silver Islet was the first silver mine in Ontario. From 1870 to 1886, 3.25 million dollars worth of silver was extracted from Silver Islet.The Sleeping
Giant was voted number one on a list of Seven Wonders of Canada, with a total of 177,305 votes, beating the Bay of Fundy and Niagara Falls by almost 90 000 votes.If you are in this area of the world you have to be sure
to visit the legend of The Sleeping Giant.On a similar note, the Island of the Sleeping Giant is
located In Western Ireland off of the Dingle Peninsula.
9. Valley of
The Valley of
Geysers is the only geyser field in Eurasia and the second largest concentration of geysers in the world.Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming contains the greatest number of geysers in the world.A geyser is a spring characterized by an intermittent discharge of water ejected turbulently and accompanied by
a vapor phase (steam).The formation of a geyser is due to a particular hydrogeological condition,
which exists in only a few places on Earth.The Valley of Geysers contains a six km long basin
with approximately ninety geysers and many hot springs.It is situated on the Kamchatka Peninsula
in the Russian Far East, predominantly on the left bank of the ever-deepening Geysernaya River.
The "pulsating" geysers of Kamchatka were discovered by a
local scientist, Tatyana Ustinova, in 1941.She published her findings fourteen years later, but
there was little exploration of the area until 1972.A systematic survey was undertaken in the mid-1970s,
and an automatic monitoring system was introduced in 1990. Over thirty geysers were given names. The Valley of Geysers is one of the few places on the planet where you can watch the heat of the Earth’s core bubble through
the surface.In the 1980s, the area was promoted across the USSR as one of the tourist magnets of Kamchatka and the Russian Far East. Foreign tourists were allowed into the valley in 1991.However,
the site is difficult to reach, with helicopters providing the only feasible means of transport.
Sadly, the Valley
of Geysers was devastated by a mudslide on June 3, 2007. A large portion of the World Heritage site was buried by millions
of cubic meters of mud, rock, and water.Many feared the Valley had been destroyed forever.The World Heritage Organization expressed deep concern over the issue.Releasing a statement
saying "This is tragic for humankind, in that we have lost one of the great natural wonders of the world.”The extent of permanent damage is not yet clear, but may predict it to be much less than originally feared.In the years since the accident, waters have receded, exposing some of the submerged geysers.Velikan
Geyser, one of the field's largest, was not buried in the slide and is still active.
8. Easter Island
is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian triangle.
It is a small, hilly, and treeless island of volcanic origin.Easter Island is
officially a special territory of Chile, annexed in 1888.It is widely famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people.The island received its current name,
Easter Island, from the Dutch sea captain Jacob Roggeveen, who was the first European to visit the island on April 5,
1722.It has been determined that original inhabitants of the island were of Polynesian stock
(DNA extracts from skeletons have confirmed this). Publications suggest that the ancient people most likely came from
the Marquesas or Society islands, and arrived as early as 318 AD.
Easter Island is one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands.The history of the Island
is rich and controversial. Its inhabitants have endured famines, epidemics, civil war, slave raids,
colonialism, and a strange deforestation.Easter Island’s most famous features are its enormous
stone statues called moai, at least 288 of which once stood upon massive stone platforms called ahu.There are some 250 of these ahu platforms spaced approximately one half mile apart to create an almost unbroken
line around the perimeter of the island.Another 600 moai statues, in various stages of completion,
are scattered over Easter Island.
Nearly all the
moai are carved from the hard stone of the Rano Raraku volcano, although some of the statues are made of basalt.The moai have overly large heads, three-fifths the size of their bodies.The tallest moai erected, called Paro, is almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighs 75 tonnes. The heaviest erected statue is a shorter
but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons.One of the unfinished sculptures, if completed,
would have been approximately 21 metres (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons.Easter
Island’s statues are known for their large, broad noses and strong chins, along with rectangle-shaped ears and
deep eye slits.The statues have arms that are carved in bas relief and rest against the body in various positions.They also contain hands and long slender fingers that rest along the crests of
the hips.Except for one kneeling moai, the statues do not have legs.
Easter Island was treeless by the time the Europeans first visited.Pollen analysis has established that the island was almost totally forested until 1200 CE.The tree pollen
disappeared from the record by 1650, and the moai stopped being made around that time.The statues'
production and transportation is considered a remarkable intellectual, creative, and mysterious feat.It has been hypothesized that the islanders used the trees to drag the artifacts across the countryside on sleds
and rollers.Scholars are unable to explain the meaning and use of the moai statues.They
may have been created for religious or territorial purposes. You can visit the ancient artifacts.However, Easter Island is one of the world’s most famous yet least visited archaeological sites.
7. Kali Gandaki
The Kali Gandaki
Gorge is located in the Himalayas in Nepal.It is the deepest gorge in the world.The
upper part of the gorge is called Thak Khola after the local Thakali people.The gorge separates major
peaks Dhaulagiri (8167 m) to the west and Annapurna (8091 m) to the east. According to the difference between the
river elevation and these peaks, this is the world's deepest gorge. The Gandaki River runs at elevations between
1300 and 2600 metres, which is 5500 to 6800 metres lower than the mountain peaks.The Gandaki River
is subsequently older than the Himalayas.
Kali Gandaki Gorge rises along the Tibet border and flows south through the ancient kingdom of Mustang.The
gorge begins at Kagbeni and continues southwards past Jomsom, Marpha and Tukuche to the deepest part of the gorge
in the area of Lete.It then broadens past Dana and Tatopani towards Beni.The
Kali Gandaki gorge has been used as a trade route between India and Tibet for centuries. Today, it
is part of a popular trekking route from Pokhara to Muktinath, part of the Annapurna Circuit. The gorge is located
within the Annapurna Conservation Area.When you are visiting this incredible section of the Himalayas,
don’t forget to tour the Kali Gandaki Gorge.
New Mexico, United States
is the fifth longest cave known to exist in the world, and the deepest in the continental United States.The cave is named for Agave lechuguilla, a plant found near its entrance. It is located in
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico.One would not think that such an expansive cave system
would exist under the desert.Lechuguilla Cave was not fully discovered until 1986.To
date, 126 miles (203 km) of the cave has been charted.It reaches a massive depth of 1,604 feet (489
The first scientific investigation of
the cave system baffled researchers. Many geological formations in Lechuguilla are unique to this cave and are not
found anywhere else in the world.Geologists have discovered large amounts of gypsum, lemon-yellow
sulfur deposits, and a strange variety of rare geological shapes.The cave is in pristine condition
with an abnormally small amount of life.
Scientists have determined that the cave was formed by speleogenesis and sulfuric acid dissolution. The sulfuric acid
is believed to be derived from hydrogen sulfide which migrated from nearby oil deposits.Thus, this
cavern apparently formed from the bottom up.Rare bacteria are believed to occur in the cave.
These bacteria feed on the sulfur, iron, and manganese minerals and may assist in enlarging the cave
and determining the shapes of some unusual speleothems. Other studies indicate that some microbes
may have medicinal qualities that are beneficial to humans.
Inside of Lechuguilla
there are several standing pools of clear water.Many lakes have been identified and named.The largest is Lake Castrovalva. The water is reported to be so clear that researchers didn’t see many pools until they made a splash.The cave reportedly contains many mysterious tunnels and chambers.Lechuguilla Cave lies beneath a park wilderness area. However, it appears that the cave's
passages may extend out of the park into adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.
major threat to the cave is proposed gas and oil drilling in the area. Access to the cave is limited to approved scientific
researchers, survey and exploration teams, and National Park Service management-related trips. However, Lechuguilla
Cave can be seen in the BBC documentary series Planet Earth.It was featured in the episode
Location: Serengeti Area, Tanzania
The Serengeti National
Park is a large national park in the Serengeti area of Tanzania.The park is undoubtedly the best-known
wildlife sanctuary in the world.The area is regarded for its natural beauty and scientific value.It houses more than two million wildebeest, half a million Thomson's gazelle, and a quarter of a million
zebra.The park has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa.It is
most famous for the annual migration of over one million and a half white bearded wildebeest and 200,000 zebra.
The name Serengeti comes from the Maasai language and appropriately means an “extended place.”The National Park has an area of 12,950 square kilometers and is as big as Northern Ireland, its ecosystem, which
includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maswa Game Reserve, and the Maasai Mara Game reserve (in Kenya),
is roughly the size of Kuwait.
The Serengeti is
a mysterious land, with unidentified natural and animalistic phenomenon.The park offers the most
complex and least disturbed ecosystem on earth.A unique combination of diverse habitats enables the park to support more than 30 species of large herbivores and nearly 500 species of birds.Its landscape,
originally formed by volcanic activity, has been sculptured by the action of wind, rain and sun.
The park varies from open grass plains in the south, savannah with scattered acacia trees in the centre, hilly, wooded, grassland in the north, to extensive woodland and black clay plains to the
west.Small rivers, lakes, and swamps are scattered over the land.The southeast
portion of the park contains the great volcanic massifs and craters of the Ngorongoro Highlands. Each specific area of the Serengeti has its own particular atmosphere and wildlife.
As well as the migration
of ungulates, the Serengeti is well known for its healthy stock of other resident wildlife, particularly the lion, leopard,
elephant, Black Rhinoceros, and American Buffalo.The park also supports the cheetah, gazelle,
topi, eland, waterbuck, hyena, baboon, impala, African wild dog, and giraffe.The Serengeti is Tanzania's
oldest national park and remains the flagship of the country’s tourism industry, providing a major draw to
the Northern Safari Circuit.
4. Nan Madol
States of Micronesia
Nan Madol is a ruined
city that lies off the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia.The
city was the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty.The first organized government of Pohnpei was the Saudeleur Dynasty, which ruled from around 500 to 1450 AD.Nan Madol consists of a series of small
artificial islands linked by a network of canals. It is the only ancient city ever built atop a coral reef.Nan Madol’s ruins contain extremely large and heavy stones and columns.It is a wonder
how the ancient people managed to transport this material.The origin of the stones of Nan Madol
is a mystery.However, a short sea dive between the island and the quarries shows a trail of dropped
population almost certainly exceeded 1,000 people.Madol Powe, the mortuary sector, contains 58 islets
in the northeastern area of Nan Madol.Most of these islets were once occupied by the dwellings of
priests, although some served a special purpose.Food preparation took place on Usennamw, canoe
construction on Dapahu, and coconut oil preparation on Peinering.
High walls surrounding tombs are located on Peinkitel, Karian, and Lemenkou, but the crowning achievement is the royal
mortuary islet of Nandauwas, where walls of 18 to 25 feet (7.6 m) high surround a central tomb enclosure within
the main courtyard.Supposedly there is an escape tunnel beginning at the center of Nan Madol and
boring down through the reef to exit into the ocean.Scuba divers continue to look for this "secret" route, but a complete tunnel has yet to be discovered.
On Nan Madol there
is no fresh water and no food. One must go inland to gather water and grow crops. For
the Saudeleurs this was no problem, since they were the supreme rulers the servants brought them what they needed.
When the Saudeleurs were overthrown and the period of the Nahnmwarkis began, the Nahnmwarkis lived
at Nan Madol, but they eventually abandon the city.Nan Madol forms an archaeological district and contains nearly 100 artificial islets, which showcases stone and coral fill platforms and tidal canals.In 1985, the ruins of Nan Madol were declared a National Historical Landmark.It is strange
that the land is not on the World Heritage List.
Currently, a greater effort is being made to preserve the ancient city. You must gain permission to visit the
land and a fee is charged.Many of the modern Pohnpeians view the ruins as a sacred and scary place
where spirits own the night.Today, the city is covered with jungle, but is in the process of being
preserved.Aside from Easter Island, Nan Madol is the main archeological site in the Oceania that
is made up of huge rocks, but while Easter Island receives 50,000 visitors each year, Nan Madol sees fewer than
South West England
Stonehenge is a prehistoric
monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometers (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury.Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites in the world.The landmark is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones.In
archaeology, earthworks are artificial changes in land level often known as “lumps and bumps.”Stonehenge is at the center of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including
several hundred burial mounds. Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates
that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings.The dating of cremated remains
found on the site indicated burials from as early as 3000 BC.
Scholars believe that Stonehenge once stood as a magnificent complete monument.This cannot be proven,
as around half of the stones that should be present are missing, and many of the assumed stone sockets have never been found.One of the greatest mysteries surrounding the monument is the transportation of the
large blocks used in construction.It has been hypothesized that the blocks were transported by way
of rafts along the Welsh coast and up local rivers, finally to be dragged overland to the site. Some of the massive
stones weigh as much as 26 tons and the monument was jointly constructed.
Stonehenge was made
by a culture that left no written records.Many aspects of the landmark remain subject to debate.Professor Mike Parker Pearson, head of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, has suggested that Stonehenge was
part of a ritual landscape and was joined to Durrington Walls by their corresponding avenues and the River Avon. Durrington
Walls is the site of a Neolithic village and henge enclosure located two miles north east of Stonehenge in the parish
of Durrington.Parker suggests that the area around Durrington Walls was a place of the living, whilst
Stonehenge was a domain of the dead. A journey along the Avon to reach Stonehenge was part of
a ritual passage from life to death, to celebrate past ancestors and the recently deceased.
Many of the remains recovered from Stonehenge show evidence of trauma deformity, such as decapitation.The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO's list
of World Heritage Sites in 1986.It is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is owned by the National
Trust.When Stonehenge first became open to the public it was possible to walk amongst and even climb
on the stones, however this ended in 1977 when the stones were roped off as a result of serious erosion.Visitors are no longer permitted to touch the stones, but are able to walk around the monument from a short distance
2. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a
pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 meters (8,000 ft) above sea level.It is situated on a mountain
ridge above the Vicalamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco.Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472).It is often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", and is perhaps the most familiar icon of the
Inca World.The Incas started building the incredible structure around AD 1400, but it was abandoned
as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.
Machu Picchu was relatively unknown to the outside
world until 1911 when the American historian Hiram Bingham published an article on the landmark. Machu Picchu was
declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.Since it
was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a cultural site and
is considered a sacred place.Machu Picchu is, above all else, a place of mystery.Historians
are sure that it was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls, but little is known about the
cities purpose.It is unclear exactly when the sacred city was constructed and why it was so
Inca people were an extremely intelligent civilization.One reason they chose to build at the site
was precisely because it was so inaccessible. Invaders had no hope of approaching up the steep canyon
walls or down the backdrop of ridges, where only one narrow pass was created over the mountains to the city.It remains a mystery how the Inca people managed to hall all of the building materials up the one narrow
and steep pathway.Machu Picchu is now the most visited archeological site in all of South America.Modern visitors wanting a visceral taste of Machu Picchu's beauty can hike 20 minutes past the city to a sheer
granite cliff face. Public access beyond this point is prohibited.From here the
trail threads its way down across the cliff face of a narrow ledge.
Halfway across, stretched over thin air, is a large gap spanned by a few logs that Inca guards once slid
back and forth as a "drawbridge" to control access. If an invading army spotted the structure
they stood no chance of overtaking it.How did a civilization with no iron tools and no wheel manage
to chisel and move huge 15-ton blocks along the Andean ridge?Historians suggest that Machu Picchu
was more than a citadel or fortress. Its alignment with sacred Inca mountains, rivers, and astronomical
points suggests agreement with celestial and terrestrial deities. In January 2010 heavy rain caused flooding which buried
or washed away roads and railways leading to Machu Picchu, trapping over 2,000 tourists.No one was injured and all people were evacuated.The landmark has been closed, but it should reopen to tourists
by April 1, 2010.
1. Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid
of Giza, as the name suggests, is a pyramid situated in the Giza Necropolis of Egypt. It is the largest
of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt.Historians believe the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek) and was constructed over
a 20 year period concluding around 2551 BC.The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.
It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
and the only one that survives substantially intact.The creation of this magnificent pyramid remains
one of the greatest mysteries of the world.The pyramid has undergone extensive erosion and damage
over the centuries.Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth
outer surface, and what is seen today is the underlying core structure.
The total mass of the pyramid is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. The volume, including an internal
hillock, is believed to be roughly 2,500,000 cubic meters.Based on these estimates, building this
structure in 20 years would involve installing approximately 800 tonnes of stone every day.The Great Pyramid also consists of more than 2.3 million limestone blocks. The Egyptians obtained the majority of the limestone
blocks from a nearby quarry.The official story is that the limestone used for the casing was quarried
across the river.Many of the blocks weighed approximately 25 to 80 tonnes and were transported more
than 500 miles away from Aswan.
Besides the strange
large stones, one of the greatest mysteries of the pyramid is the precise architectural cutting that was used.Traditionally, ancient Egyptians cut stone blocks by hammering wedges into the stone which were then soaked
with water. The wedges expanded, causing the rock to crack.Once they were cut,
the stones were apparently carried by boat either up or down the Nile River to the pyramid.At completion,
the Great Pyramid was surfaced by white casing stones.
The stones were slant-faced, but flat-topped, and were made of highly polished white limestone. The
stones were carefully cut to what is approximately a face slope with a seked of 5 1/2 palms to give the required overall
dimensions.It seems strange that this precision architectural work was completed with a hammering
Another mystery of the
pyramid is how the ancient Egyptians planned its precise mathematical construction.There are three
known chambers inside the Great Pyramid.The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished.The chemical composition of the mortar used to build the
Great Pyramid of Giza is known, but it cannot be re-produced using present techniques.The temperature
inside the pyramid remains constant at 68 degrees F, the same as earth’s internal temperature.
Today, tourists enter the Great Pyramid via the Robbers' Tunnel dug by workmen employed by Caliph al-Ma'mun around AD 820. The tunnel is cut straight through the masonry of the pyramid
for approximately 90 degrees, and then turns sharply left to encounter the blocking stones in the Ascending Passage.Unable to remove these stones, the workmen tunnelled up beside them through the softer limestone of the Pyramid
until they reached the Ascending Passage. In recent years entrance to the pyramid has been restricted to groups
of 100 in the morning and afternoon.Tickets are highly prized and hard to find. Photography
inside the pyramid is strictly forbidden.