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What's your wonder? After millions from around the globe took part in an internet vote this week to pick the new seven man-made Wonders of the World, here are our ideas..

Byline: By ADRIAN MOURBY

WHEN the first list of the Seven Wonders was put together 2,000 years ago the New World hadn't been discovered, the desert city of Petra in Jordan had been forgotten and the Taj Mahal hadn't even been built.

This week internet site New7wonders.com has been counting votes from around the world to try to find out what people think are the most amazing man-made sights on Earth.

As argument rages as to what really are the greatest wonders, check out our guide to what WE think are absolute must-sees...

STONEHENGE

WHAT IS IT? Wiltshire's towering stone circle is the most important prehistoric monument in Britain. The circle we see today was built about 2,500BC but earthworks first began on the site 5,000 years ago. And you think building work is slow today!

WHERE IS IT? On windswept plains near Amesbury.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? The ancients shipped in 80 blue stones - each weighing about four tons - some 240 miles from Wales. This was before the M4 - or the wheel - were invented. The stones were hauled on sledges to Milford Haven then brought upriver on rafts and eventually dragged into position. It is also an astonishing piece of astronomical design in that the monument is aligned to the midsummer and midwinter sunrise.

GETTING THERE: Entry costs pounds 6.30 adults, pounds 3.20 kids, pounds 4.70 concessions and a family ticket for two adults and up to three kids costs pounds 15.80. English Heritage and National Trust members are admitted free. Find it by driving two miles west of Amesbury near the junction of A303 and A344. For rail information call 08457 48 49 50 and for local buses go to www.wdbus.co.uk. For info go to www.english-heritage.org.uk

THE COLOSSEUM

WHAT IS IT? A huge open air auditorium built in 72AD, where Roman citizens could watch mock battles and fights to the death between gladiators.

WHERE IS IT? In the middle of Rome between the Palatine and Esquiline hills.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? The sheer scale of the achievement. The Colosseum could hold 55,000 spectators and yet everyone could be seated in 10 minutes. It was built by Emperor Vespasian over an ornamental lake belonging to the much-hated Emperor Nero as a way of restoring the land to ordinary Roman citizens.

GETTING THERE: Thomson Cities (0870 606 1476, www.thomson.co.uk/cities) are offering weekend breaks in Rome from pounds 169 per person (B&B based on two sharing).

CHICHEN ITZA

WHAT IS IT? Mayan capital city containing temples, palaces, stages, markets, baths, and ballcourts dating from the 7th Century AD.

WHERE IS IT? On the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? The most complete remains of the ancient blood-thirsty Mayan civilisation. Steeply-stepped temples are dedicated to the sun or to the moon. The ball court has carvings that show what games were played and how the captain of the losing team would be decapitated.

GETTING THERE: Direct Holidays (0871 664 7764, www.directholidays.co.uk) are offering seven nights in Cancun from pounds 645 per person (price is inclusive of flights, meals, hotel and excursion to Chichen Itza).

PETRA

WHAT IS IT? A lost rock city carved out of sandstone in the 7th Century BC.

WHERE IS IT? In a mountain range in the south of Jordan, at the end of a long narrow chasm called The Siq.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? The Nabateans who built this hidden city were wealthy trading partners of the Roman Empire. When trade routes moved to the sea, landlocked Petra lost its wealth and the city was abandoned. People forgot about it for more than 500 years. When it was rediscovered in 1812 it was just as it had been in Roman times.

GETTING THERE: Imaginative Traveller (01473 667 337, www.imaginativetraveller.com) offer three nights in Petra from pounds 830 per person (price includes flights and B&B).

ACROPOLIS

WHAT IS IT? A collection of Greek temples and sanctuaries dating from the 5th Century BC.

WHERE IS IT? On a flat-topped rock in the centre of Athens.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? It contains the Par then on, one of the most visited archaeological sites in Greece and a symbol of both ancient Greece and Athenian democracy. It's also one of the most copied buildings in the world. Acropolis means "high city" and there are plenty of them in settlements across Greece but there is only one known simply as The Acropolis.

GETTING THERE: Airline Network (www.airlinenetwork.com) offer two nights in Athens (flights and B&B) from pounds 184 per person.

EIFFEL TOWER

WHAT IS IT? A 1,050ft 19th Century observation platform built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889.

WHERE IS IT? Next to the River Seine in Paris, at the end of the Fields of Mars.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? Although it was only ever intended as a temporary structure, Gustave Eiffel's tower proved so popular that it was never dismantled. It has now become the defining symbol of Paris and of France. Until 1931, when the Empire State Building in New York was opened, it was the world's tallest building. On a clear day you can see for 45 miles from the top.

GETTING THERE: Thomson Cities (0870 606 1476, www.thomson.co.uk/cities) are offering weekend breaks in Paris from pounds 199 per person (B&B based on two sharing).

THE GREAT WALL

WHAT IS IT? Longest man-made barrier in the world, built in the 3rd Century BC and 4,000 miles long.

WHERE IS IT? Runs from Inner Mongolia across the northern border of China to the Yellow Sea.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? The Chinese already call this the Eighth Wonder of the World. Its length is staggering and its height (26 ft) and width (21ft) make it an extraordinary feat of construction, especially as it hugs the contours of steep hills, often dipping down almost vertically. In its history it was twice breached by enemies and much of it is in ruins now.

GETTING THERE: Flight Centre (0870 499 0042, www.flightcentre.co.uk) offer a seven-night trip to Beijing and the Great Wall from pounds 900 per person.

MACHU PICCHU

WHAT IS IT? A complete lost city of the Incas from the 15th Century which was only rediscovered in 1911.

WHERE IS IT? It is 7,970ft above sea level in an mountain ridge that towers over the Urubamba Valley in Peru.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? Constructed in 1450, at the height of the Inca empire, it was abandoned less than 100 years later, as the empire collapsed under Spanish conquest. Unlike many Inca sites, it was never found and destroyed by the Spanish. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew up and kept the site intact.

GETTING THERE: Explore (0870 333 4001, www.explore.co.uk) are offering a two-week tour of South America that includes Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca. Prices from pounds 1,902 per person (inclusive of flights, accommodation and local guide).

GETTING THERE: Sunvil Latin America (020 8758 4774, www.sunvil.co.uk/latinamerica) offer eight nights in Brazil including Iguacu Falls and a visit to Christ The Redeemer. The trip costs pounds 1,931 per person and includes flights, B&B and excursions.

TAJ MAHAL

WHAT IS IT? A 17th Century marble memorial built by the Emperor Shah Jahan to the wife he loved.

WHERE IS IT? On the bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India - the spot where Shah Jahan first met Mumtaz Mahal.

WHY IS IT SPECIAL? Possibly the most beautiful building in the world, and the greatest testimony to love that has ever been erected. It took 20 years to build and its construction cost so much that Shah Jahan's son deposed him because he was ruining the economy. These days everyone flocks there to be photographed on the "Diana Bench", where the princess posed in 1992.

GETTING THERE: Colours of India (0208 343 3446, www.colours-of-india.co.uk) offer three nights in Delhi and Agra including visits to the Taj Mahal from pounds 878 per person.

CAPTION(S):

STONEHENGE Britain's most important prehistoric site is astronomically aligned; THE COLOSSEUM Rome's stadium could hold 55,000 spectators cheering gladiators; CHICHEN ITZA The breathtaking remains of Mexico's bloody Mayan civilisation; THE ACROPOLIS Ancient Greece high above modern Athens; PETRA Jordan's hidden rock city; EIFFEL TOWER The enduring symbol of Paris; GREAT WALL China's 'Eighth' wonder; TAJ MAHAL The world's most extravagant monument to love in Agra, India; CHRIST THE REDEEMER The imposing 125ft statue of Jesus which overlooks Rio de Janeiro; MACHU PICCHU Peru's jungle kept the lost Inca city intact until its discovery in 1911 Pictures: TRAVEL LIBRARY/PICTURES COLOUR LIBRARY/ WORLD PICTURES/GEORGE IMPEY
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 8, 2007
Words:1471
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