The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ is an unofficial title given to many places, monuments, sites and even people! These things are considered at par with the Seven Wonders of the World.
Here is a list of 10 things dubbed as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’
1) Sigiriya, Sri Lanka- The eighth wonder of the world
King Kashyapa I of the Sinhalese Dynasty built this impressive rock fortress in the 5th century. According to the chronicle Culavamsa, King Kashyapa was the son of King Dhatusena. Kashyapa then killed his father and usurped his brother who was the rightful heir to the throne. His brother then fled to India, following which Kashyapa built the fortress to protect himself from any reprisals. During his reign, the magnificent fortress Sigiriya was the capital of the kingdom. Sigiriya essentially means ‘Lion Rock’.
Following the King’s death, the fortress was used as a Buddhist Monastery until the 14th century. The structure was later swallowed up by the forests surrounding it and was only known to local villagers. The British rediscovered it in the 1800s and were impressed by its ingenuity and colourful frescoes. Later, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, many consider this stunning site as the eighth wonder of the world.
2) Terracotta Army, China
An impressive form of funerary art, the Terracotta Army is quite a sight to behold. These terracotta structures were built to accompany Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China to his afterlife. The figures which date back to at least the 3rd century BCE were accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974 when they were digging a water well in Lintong County.
According to historian Sima Qian, the work on the mausoleum began when Emperor Qin ascended the throne at the age of 13. Moreover, its construction required more than 700,000 conscripted workers. The terracotta figures are life-size and have distinct facial and physical features. These figures are also accompanied by terracotta horses and chariots. This artistic marvel is aptly dubbed as the eighth wonder of the world.
3) Niagara Falls, Canada
Now, who hasn’t heard of the famous Niagara Falls? Situated between the Ontario region of Canada and New York, United States, the Niagara Falls is made up of 3 waterfalls. The largest one being the Horseshoe Falls. The formation of these powerful falls took place around 12,000 years ago. During the last ice age, large torrents of water were released from the melting glaciers and drained into the Niagara River.
Additionally, the falls are a massive source of hydroelectric power and today they are the largest electricity source in New York. The falls are also associated with many ‘daredevils’ who have performed publicity stunts at the falls. One famous example is Annie Edson Taylor who went over the falls in a barrel, she survived but she famously said that no one ought to do that again. Today, the powerful Niagara Falls are deemed as the natural eighth wonder of the world.
4) Banaue Rice Terraces, The Philippines
Often deemed the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ these impressive terraces were built more than 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao tribe of the Phillippines. An elaborate irrigation system sustains these vast rice terraces. The agriculturist tribe started building the terraces around the 1st century CE. These structures were made using minimal equipment and largely by hand. Despite this, they were an engineering marvel.
According to reports, the terraces which are similar to steps cover some 4,000 sq miles and their total length is 12,500 miles. This means that if the steps were put end to end they would cover roughly half the Earth’s circumference. Due to threats and dangers associated with the site, UNESCO declared it as ‘World Heritage in Danger’ but following restoration and conservation work the site was declared out of danger in 2012.
5) Borobudur, Indonesia
Borobudur, known as the largest Buddhist temple in the world was built during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty in the 9th century. Its constructions took at least 75 years. The monument is a shrine to Lord Buddha and the Buddhists among the Javanese visited the temple for pilgrimage and rituals. However, the temple was abandoned during the 14th or 15 century, the most likely reason being the Javanese conversion to Islam. Subsequently, the temple was buried in volcanic ash until its rediscovery in 1814.
Following its rediscovery, extensive restoration work began at the monument and the temple was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Today the site remains a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists in Indonesia and they celebrate Buddha Day at the temple.
6) Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is an enormous temple complex in northern Cambodia. The temple was originally built as a Hindu Temple for Lord Vishnu. King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Dynasty constructed it in the early 12th century. Towards the end of the 12th century, it transformed into a Buddhist temple. And now it is regarded as a Hindu-Buddhist Temple. The magnificent monument is spread across 400 acres making it the largest religious monument in the world.
The monument’s name translates to ‘temple city’. What further makes it unique is that it was a temple that broke the tradition of Shaivism of previous rulers and was dedicated to Vishnu. Moreover, unlike other historical sites, Angkor Wat was not abandoned but fell into gradual disrepair and disuse. The temple is now the symbol of Cambodia and is displayed on its national flag. Its impressive architecture and grandeur deem it as an eighth wonder of the world.
7) Amber Room, Russia- An eighth wonder of the world that disappeared
The Amber Room was famously dubbed as the eighth wonder of the world before its disappearance. Constructed in the 18th century, the Amber Room was a chamber made up of amber panels which were gold encrusted. The grand chamber was a gift from Prussia to Tsar, Peter the Great of Russia, celebrating their peace and its beauty enthralled the world.
However, the Nazis stole the eighth wonder during World War II and to date, its whereabouts remain a mystery. A reconstruction of the chamber was ordered in 1979 which was eventually completed in 2003. The new Amber Room is now on display at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve outside of St. Petersburg.
8) Pink and White Terraces, New Zealand- A lost eighth wonder of the world
The Pink and White terraces in New Zealand are now regarded as one of the lost wonders of the world. But before their disappearance, they were quite a sight to behold. These terraces were once located on the shores of Lake Rotomahana and were the largest formation of silica sinters on Earth.
The terraces were pink on one side and white on the other and this beautiful sight was a popular tourist destination in the 1800s. However, after the 1886 volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera, the terraces were destroyed and ‘lost’. Today the terraces are allegedly half intact and are sitting at the bottom of Lake Rotomahana.
9) The Eighth Wonder of the World- André the Giant
André the Giant was a professional wrestler and was often called the eighth wonder of the world for his majestic height. He stood at around 7 feet and played for the WWF (later WWE). André stood at an impressive height of 6 ft 3 at the age of 12 itself. This was a result of acromegaly, a disorder that causes an excess of growth hormones.
André is also best remembered for his role as the giant in the ‘Princess Bride’. After his demise, he was the first one to be inducted into the newly formed ‘WWF Hall of Fame’.
10) King Kong- A fictional eighth wonder of the world
Yes, we are talking about the fictional giant ape King Kong. The character has been deemed as the eighth wonder of the world within many films. The monster ape is a legendary character and has inspired many movies, spin-offs and other pop culture adaptations.