Most of us are familiar with the "New Seven Wonders of the World." These include Christ the Redeemer, the Taj Mahal, Petra, Chichen Itza, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, and the Colosseum. But there are so many jaw-dropping structures and landmarks that it’s unfair to limit a list to just seven places. So we rounded up a new list with modern and ancient iconic structures that deserve a place on the itinerary for an unforgettable trip.
Burj Khalifa (Dubai)
The Burj Khalifa tower is the newest structure on this list, but it’s an architectural feat and deserves to be here. The Burj Khalifa is currently the world’s tallest building. It's so tall, in fact, that you can watch the sun set twice in one day.
Sydney Opera House (Australia)
A trip to Sydney is not complete without seeing the Sydney Opera House and how it dominates the harbor. Built to look like a ship with its sails blowing in the wind, the active arts, music, and events space is a major source of pride for the nation. The Opera House was built in the 1950s, designed by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon, and sits on sacred ground for the Gadigal people — an indigenous enclave from the Eora Nation. You’ll find that the UNESCO site receives more than 10 million visitors a year and features five theaters — many of which are designed to be flexible for diverse shows and fluctuating audience sizes.
Terra-Cotta Warriors (China)
The Terra-Cotta Army is one of the most famous archeological discoveries ever. The nation’s first emperor under the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang, who ruled from 259 to 210 B.C. commissioned the reproduction of his immense army in the form of roughly 8,000 terra-cotta warriors in 221 B.C. What makes this site so significant is that each warrior displays a unique facial expression with life-like precision — along with battle armor, horses, and weapons. The burial ground is located in Xian and sat lost for centuries until a local farmer discovered the site by accident in 1974.
Borobudur is a sacred Buddhist temple located in Java, Indonesia. The temple was built during the eighth and ninth centuries by the Shailendra Dynasty. A volcanic explosion in the year 1000 covered the region in ash and buried the temple for centuries. Much like with the Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xian, Borobudur sat undisturbed until the early 20th century when restoration began on the site. The Buddhist temple went through two additional rounds of restoration later that century and eventually joined the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1991.
Meroë Pyramids (Sudan)
Take a trip south to Sudan and you’ll discover a series of 200 structures that are known as the Meroë Pyramids. These pyramids are smaller with steeper angles and narrower bases than those in Egypt. Based on archeological evidence, the Meroë pyramids were built between 2,700 to 2,300 years ago by the Kingdom of Kush and sit between the Nile and Atbara Rivers. What makes these pyramids interesting is that they incorporate design styles from Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures.
Humāyūn’s Tomb (India)
While the Taj Mahal gets all the shine for trips to India, insiders know that the beautiful tomb was inspired by Humāyūn’s Tomb, which is located in Delhi. This tomb was built in the 16th century and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built as a lasting legacy of the second Mughal emperor by his wife after his death. This tomb is a great example of Mughal architecture, and, during its construction, it brought Persian architects and designers to India.
Kizhi Pogost (Russia)
How do you erect a building without using nails? Sounds pretty impossible, right? However, the Church of Transfiguration is a wooden structure that was, in fact, built without any nails. It’s located in Kizhi, Russia, and, according to legend, the builder, Master Nestor, used only an ax to build it. Legend has it that after he finished his work, he threw the ax into a nearby lake. We don’t know whether or not he used only an ax, but according to UNESCO, the structures are the only remaining wooden churches that are this ornate, and they represent traditional Russian architectural style from this era.