Thursday, 26 May 2011

Archives





Saturday, 21 May 2011

Criteria Of A Wonder

What makes a Wonder?

At the simplest level, the word “wonder” itself captures the essence of what I'm after - a monument or structure that imbues a sense of awe. Never mind that we get the word from a mistranslation of the original Greek, which more accurately meant “must-see”, wonder should be the primary impact of these landmarks. They should be impressive, and upon viewing should make us take a step back and say something along the lines of “Bloody hell.”

So what makes us react like that? Sudden and unexpected nudity from a pretty lady, for one, or an obese man on a trampoline. But in terms of being impressed with man-made monumentality there are a few criteria that can give us the “wow” moment.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Ancient Wonders and Motives For A New Selection

What are the Seven Wonders of the World?

It's a famous and prestigious title, but how many people can actually identify all seven? Until recently I, like most people, could have come up with a handful, perhaps five if I was feeling particularly inspired: The Pyramids of course, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Statue of Zeus of somewhere. Which am I missing? No, The Great Wall of China isn't one, or The Colosseum. There's a mausoleum there, and a temple...

More accurately, the Seven Wonders are the Seven Ancient Wonders, all based around the Classical world of Greece, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and as the name suggests they are pretty old. Or were pretty old. You see, the thing is, apart from the Pyramids, all the other ancient Wonders no longer exist. The Hanging Gardens possibly never existed in the first place. All were destroyed hundreds of years ago, with nothing or virtually nothing remaining. So if we feel like a little trip down mankind's memory lane, or just a little wonder in our lives, we don't have much to go on.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Travel Plans

In September of this year I am going to go travelling for two or three years around the world, visiting man-made monuments, to determine what the actual and existing Seven Wonders of the World are.

As such, I have selected about ninety-three of what I consider to be the best candidates, ranging from the ancient to the modern, the sacred to the unholy, the graceful to the brutal, and from the crumbling ruins of mysterious civilisations to the gleaming showpieces of modern capitalist powerhouses. One thing unites them: they are, quite literally, monumental. These are the most remarkable buildings known to man.

For a few years now I have been researching each location, to understand the history, the feats of engineering, the manpower (and cost to life) and the - sometimes entirely insane - motives behind building such epic structures. I want to understand the story behind each, so that I know exactly what I'm seeing, rather than wander around with a slightly glazed expression admiring really large piles of bricks. I want to know who built each place, and when, and how, and why.