Russian Seven Wonders

As written by the historian Herodotus (450 b.C.), the ancient list of the Seven Wonders of the World was formed by:

Colossus of Rhodes
Great Pyramid of Giza
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The only still existing wonder is the Great Pyramid of Giza, the other wonders were destroyed by the time and the human’s hand.

In 2007, the New Seven Wonders of the World list was declared after an initiative by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation:

Great Wall of China
Petra, Jordan
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Machu Picchu, Perù
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Taj Mahal, India
Colosseum, Italy
Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

In 2008, a curious initiative by the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Radio Mayak and a Russian television channel, determined The Seven Wonders of Russia:

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus 

Volcano located in the western area of Russia, it’s the tenth most prominent mountain in the world and the highest Caucasian (5.643 m) mountain.
Mount Elbrus has two twin summits, whose ascent is accessible to all climbers, though,  according to many experts, it is considered dangerous because of its potential volcanic activity.

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed
Church located in the Red Square, Moscow, it’s now a museum, built from 1555 on orders from Ivan IV Vasilyevich “the Terrible” in commemoration of the capture of Astrakhan and Kazan.
The cathedral, since 1990 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s list, is one of the most famous Russians symbols.

The Peterhof Palace
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and referred as the “Russian Versailles”, it is a series of outstanding palaces and gardens located in Saint Petersburg, built in 1714 on the orders of Peter the Great.

Mother Russia
Mamayev Kurgan
A memorial complex in the city of Volgograd commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad (World War II, 1942- 1943), built between 1959 and 1967. 

The complex is dominated by the Mother Russia statue (85 m high).

The Valley of Geysers
Located in the Kronotskij Natural Reserve, Kamchatka Peninsula, this spectacular valley has one of the largest concentration of geysers in the world with hundreds of living geysers and hot springs.

Discovered in the 1950’s it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site; the valley, due to its instability, is often subject to geological disasters like the events in 2007 and 2014 that had hardly damaged the landscape.

Lake Baikal
Formed more than 20 million years ago and located in the southern area of Siberia, it is the largest by freshwater, the deepest (1.642 m depth) and maybe the oldest an clearest lake in the world.

In 1996 the lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Manpupuner rock formations 

Also known as the Seven Strong Men Rock Formations, these seven gigantic (30-45 m high) stone pillars are located in the Pechoro-Ilychski Reserve, western Ural mountains.
The pillars have bizarre shapes formed through the effects of wind, rain, ice and snow.

Gara Medouar, Morocco

Gara Medouar
photo © mytouristmaps

Located outside Erfoud, Morocco, along the N12 road connecting Merzouga to  Alnif, the Gara Medouar is a sedimentary rock formation which by the erosion processes had taken on the appearance of a crater.

Gara Medouar map

Nicknamed the Portuguese Prison due to his use as a sheltered area for the slave trade from Africa to Portugal, the rock formation was also used as a Moroccan military base.

Fascinating movie landscape, Gara Medouar has appeared in many films: Spectre (2015), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2000) and the TV series The Secret of the Sahara (1998).

Baceno, Italy

Orridi di Uriezzo
photo © mytouristmaps
Although not spectacular as its distant relative Antelope Canyon (USA), the Uriezzo Gorge (Orridi di Uriezzo) has the charm of a place you do not expect to find in Piedmont, more precisely near Baceno, Verbania province.

Formed by the water erosion during the glacial period, the gorges can be walked on, allowing visitors to admire the rock formations illuminated by the few light beams penetrating from above.

The Southern gorge is the most spectacular, about 200 meters long and up to 30 meters deep.

In the nearby, along the Toce River, can be observed the impressive Marmitte dei Giganti: cylindrical rock potholes formed by water erosion.

Darvaza Crater, Turkmenistan

Darvaza crater
 © Tormod Sandtorv

Also known as The Door to Hell, the Darvaza Crater, is a natural gas crater in the Karakum Black Sands desert, Turkmenistan, about 250 kilometers north of Ashgabat.

It was formed after the collapse of a natural gas field into an underground cavern. According to most sources, it is burning since 1971, when Soviet geologists set it alight to prevent the spread of the potentially poisonous methane gas.
The scientists believed that the gas would extinguish within a few weeks, but it is now still burning.

The Canadian explorer George Kourounis was the first scientist descended into the crater, collecting some extremophile microorganisms that live even in that hellish place.

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

the great blue hole

The Great Blue Hole is located near the Lighthouse Reef atoll, in the Belize Coral Reef Barrier, the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; it is considered one of the best scuba diving site in the world.

The hole is almost perfectly circular in shape, 300 meters wide and 120 meters deep. It was formed as a limestone cave during the quaternary glaciation (when sea levels were much lower), flooded after the oceans’ level raising.

Recently, some scientific studies, by analysis of the amount of aluminum and titanium deposited in the Great Blue Hole (lower levels of aluminum and titanium in soil and sediments correspond to periods with fewer precipitations) have demonstrated that between 800 d.C. and 1100 d.C. two periods of drought created the preconditions for the decline of the Maya civilization.

Garda Lake, Italy

Strada della Forra
photo © mytouristmaps
Defined by a correspondent of the Frankfurter Zeitung the most beautiful street in the world and by Winston Churchill the eighth wonder of the world, the SP 38 road, well known as Strada della Forra, is a panoramic route located along the West coast of the Garda Lake, in Italy.

The most spectacular point is the short track through the gorges formed by the Brasa river, crossing dark tunnels and overhanging rocks.
In 2008, the SP 38 was the scene of a car chase starring Daniel Craig as James Bond in the movie Quantum of Solace and in the past of many other films and TV advertisements.

Built between 1908 and 1913, it is still considered one of the most spectacular roads of Italy.