Wednesday, 6 May 2015

New Additions To The List: Part 7: The Final Amendments I Sincerely Hope

When will these ever end? Since first drawing my very first shortlist to select my Seven Wonders of the World, I've been coming across new places that also seem like reasonable candidates. Every time I update my list, I think "Yes, that's it now." Well, this time I really think that this will be it. These few tweaks to my list, they will be the final ones, and my shortlist will be completed. Yes, this will be it. No more.

Without further ado, let's get into it.

1. Umayyad Mosque aka The Great Mosque of Damascus, Damascus, Syria. ACCEPTED.

Back in February, I wrote about this for my Longlist. As I did so, I realised that this mosque really is a bit of a heavyweight. It's got history in spades, and personal accounts from people I know are hugely complimentary. It's a very grand, very ancient, very holy mosque.

The good news is that it's in Syria, and as I've already got two candidate Wonders in Syria, it doesn't take me much out of my way when I eventually visit. The bad news is - it's in Syria, so God knows when it'll be safe to visit. And whether it will even be standing when I do...

2. Pena National Palace, Sintra, Portugal: ACCEPTED (at second attempt)

Back in my last edition of "New Additions To The List", I'd pained over this before eventually rejecting it. Well, pain no longer. This colourful castle, just one of many of Sintra's 19th Century architectural delights, seems worthy of further investigation. The entire town of Sintra does.

3. Skelling Michael, somewhere off the south-west coast of Ireland. REJECTED.

Imagine Meteora but with a lot more misery. That's Skelling Michael, a 7th-to-12th Century monastery on a bleak rock in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the west coast of Ireland. The monks who went there turned their noses up at the lightweight austerity of the rest of Europe's softy monks - no, for them life was all about getting assaulted by wind and rain all year round. I found out about this place just recently, appropriately enough on a TV programme about monks, and immediately thought, wow that looks pretty amazing. Building the stone-age style huts on this remote rock was no mean feat, and the rock itself is astonishing scenic. It doesn't make my list because although a fascinating place in amazing surroundings, arguably it's kind of low key, and a tremendous small-scale achievement rather than the grand triumph of mankind that an actual wonder of the world should be.

You may be seeing more of it soon, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, as it will be appearing in the new Star Wars film - possibly as the scene of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy.

Tweaked: Jetavanaramaya to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

Why have this:

When I could have this?


Jetava... I really can never remember how to write this word. It's part of the sacred, partially ruined city of Anuradhapura. The more I looked into it, I realised that Jeta... is just one component of the greater overall spectacle of the site. Anuradhapura looks pretty impressive, and is full of giant bell-shaped stupas and other ancient ruins.

Removed: Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

I was in Venice last year, and was able to visit this, although distractions meant that I wasn't able to give it a proper visit and review. Still, it was enough. Always an outlier on my list, it was pretty clear that although, awfully pretty, and interesting too, the Santa Maria della Salute isn't Wonder class. There's no point reviewing something I know would be near the bottom of my list.

I believe that takes my list to 106. And I hope, I very sincerely hope, that 106 is my final number. 

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