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Coliseum, Italy

The Coliseum in Rome is a stunning ruin—the remains of a gigantic stadium. Built in the
capital of the Roman Empire, it could hold 50,000 spectators. It is opened in A.D. 80 and
used as a stadium for nearly 500 years, the Coliseum hosted brutal competitions for the
“entertainment” of the Roman citizens. Although no one knows who the architect was, the
Coliseum was a triumph of engineering. Made of stone blocks, concrete bricks, and iron
clamps. Although the statues are long gone, a large section of the outer wall survives today,
preserving almost half of the original arched entryways to the Coliseum. During the middle
Ages, large chunks of stone were removed from the Coliseum to build churches and other
buildings in Rome.
Great Wall, China
Leaders in Ancient China were always worried about being invaded by their enemies to the
north. So around 500 B.C., a few Chinese states started building defensive walls. When these
Chinese states were unified in 221 B.C., Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered that the existing
walls be joined. That was the beginning of the Great Wall of China. Building the Great Wall
wasn’t easy. It took hundreds of thousands of workers, soldiers, and prisoners more than
2,000 years to build. Some sections were constructed of large limestone and granite blocks.
Others were made from bricks. Still others were built from wood and dirt. The workers along
the wall’s route used the best materials they could find nearby. They even sometimes used a
mixture of sticky rice and egg whites to make the mortar that held the stones and bricks
together. The Great Wall winds through a variety of terrains, including steep, mountainous
hills. It is lined with watchtowers from which soldiers at one time kept an eye out for
invading armies. Today, parts of the Wall are major tourist attractions.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
At its peak from about A.D. 800 to 1200, Chichen Itza was a military, cultural, and religious
center for the Mayan and Itza people—all who influenced its architecture and life. For
hundreds of years, the elite of Chichen Itza ruled the Yucatan Peninsula. By around A.D.
1250 Chichen Itza had fallen into decline. Today, the city of Chichen Itza is a haunting ruin
and archaeological site. Located just 100 miles inland from the beach resorts on Mexico’s
Caribbean coast, Chichen Itza attracts 1.2 million visitors each year. Among its features are
wide abandoned avenues, a stunning stepped pyramid, several temples, an ancient ball court,
and stone masks of the long-nosed Mayan rain god Chaac carved into structures around the
Taj Mahal, India
In 1631, the city of Agra in northern India was the capital of the wealthy Mughal Empire,
which ranged across most of modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. That
year the Mughal emperor, whose name was Shah Jahan, suffered a terrible tragedy. His wife,
Mumtaz Mahal, died unexpectedly. Shah Jahan was full of grief. To honor Mumtaz Mahal,
he ordered that an enormous tomb be built—a tomb so elaborate and so richly adorned that
it was more like a palace. The Taj Mahal complex took 22 years to build. Construction
materials were brought to the site with the help of over 1,000 hard-working elephants. The
complex includes a vast formal garden, a monumental entry gate, a mosque, and the tomb
itself made of dazzling white marble. A giant onion-shaped dome sits atop the tomb, rising
144 feet high over the wide arches of its base.

Petra is a ghost city. Machu Picchu was rediscovered by archaeologist Hiram Bingham.000 feet above sea level in the mountaintops of Peru.” or “The Treasury. The conquistadors didn’t even know the city was there. Repairs were made and new lightning rods were installed to help protect the statue from future strikes. spices. It was influenced by all the peoples and cultures they interacted with. and agricultural terraces were left intact. visitors take a 20-minute-long “cog-wheel” train ride through the Tijuca forest to the top of 2. and has since become both an important archaeological site and a tourist destination. 300. 1450 by Incas.C. Brazil The newest of the New Wonders. Jordan From about 100 B. the wealthy inhabitants of Petra created beautiful art. statues.D. Petra. which are all literally carved in stone right into the rocky red hillsides. Arabia.Machu Picchu. this 124-foot-high statue was built between 1926 and 1931 on rainforest-covered Corcovado Mountain. and incense through this rocky desert refuge on their way to the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt.” The artisans of Petra carved this grand structure out of a soft sandstone cliff. reliefs of numerous ancient mythological characters such as Medusa Christ the Redeemer. It was located nearly 8. In 1911. One of the most amazing structures that survive is “Al Khazneh. Camel caravans carried cloth. After its abandonment. the statue was struck by lightning. and beyond. sculptures of eagles.D. and amphitheater. It was built around A. What makes it a Wonder are its beautiful buildings. tombs. pottery. tombs. overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. To get to the statue. Peru Machu Picchu was a remote Inca city. Machu Picchu remained untouched. Visitors to Machu Picchu arrive by bus on mountain roads. . Today. causing damage to the tiles on the head and fingers. From there. The ruins include over 140 buildings and numerous stone stairways and terraces. However. In 2008. Its elegant exterior includes twelve columns. to A. Petra was a center of trade along the silk and spice roads at the heart of the Middle Eastern world. Machu Picchu’s structures were soon swallowed and covered over by jungle vegetation.329-foot-high peak. and architecture. they can walk up 220 steps or take a combination of panoramic elevators and escalators to the statue’s base. When the residents of Machu Picchu mysteriously abandoned the area a few years later—no one knows exactly why—the temples. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1532 they destroyed most Inca cities.

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