A Photo Tour of the New Seven Wonders of the World

 
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The numbers will stupefy: more than 5,000 miles long in its entirety, passing through 10 Chinese provinces, and visited by nearly four million people per year. Though marked with greatness and bestowed a wonder of the world, the Great Wall of China is steeped in infamy to those who knew it best. Labeled “the longest cemetery on earth” by locals, the wall reportedly took the lives of more than one million laborers who worked to construct it over the course of two millennia and through varying ancient dynasties.  
Credit: Jerry Kobalenko/Digital Vision/Getty 
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The staggering maze of ruins that is Machu Picchu rests atop a rugged stretch of the Andes, South America's backbone of steep slopes, cloud forests, and waterfalls. Despite the flood of visitors, Machu Picchu will forever retain its mystery, largely because no one knows exactly why the city was built—or abandoned.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
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The desert of southern Jordan holds enough history to keep the most ADD-ridden historian excited for days—for not every mystery has been solved in this land of ancient temples and tombs. Discovered in 1812, Petra is more than 2,000 years old and was left by the Nabataean people, who settled the city in the 6th century B.C. The area is Jordan’s most-visited attraction, though you’d hardly know—the area is so vast and deserted, it rarely seems like you’re fighting a crowd.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
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It’s a city of epic proportion, with an astounding array of monuments representing thousands of years of history. Rome is Old World meets New. Traffic jams alongside the Colosseum, morning church bells greet late-night revelers, and column-lined cafés brim with state-of-the-art espresso machines. Despite all the chaos, Romans still live the good life. After you've cruised through the Colosseum, traipsed through St. Peter's Basilica, and thrown a coin in the Trevi Fountain, pause to experience the allure of the Roman evening. Find a café at summer twilight and watch the shades of pink turn to gold and copper before becoming just another page lost to history.  
Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock 
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Home to three generations of one of the most dynamic dynasties in the medieval world, their talent and wealth immortalized in stone and marble, Agra possesses India’s finest examples of Mughal architecture, of which the Taj Mahal reigns supreme. These visually stunning buildings will bowl you over, but the real sport comes in navigating the chaos of the Meena Bazaar. History holds that in 1607 Prince Khurram was doing just that when he locked eyes with his future bride. The two confidantes were inseparable and lived with 18 years of immeasurable devotion before her untimely death. The prince built the Taj as a monument to their grand love.  
Credit: Photodisc 
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The largest of the ruins in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is the center of what was once the great Mayan empire in Central America. The stone structures date back to around 750 and 1200 A.D.—the most visited of which is the Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo. The pyramid has 365 steps, one for each day of the year; perhaps a nod to the Mayan’s creation of the calendar.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
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Keeping watch over the city of Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer stands with outstretched arms atop the Corcovado Mountain. The idea of the statue, which is the largest art-deco statue in the world, first came in 1850—the brainchild of a Catholic Priest by the name of Pedro Maria. Taking nine years to complete, it now serves as a symbol of worldwide peace.  
Credit: Photodisc 
 
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