(CNN) — For the longest time (we’re talking millennia here), we had the Seven Wonders of the World.
Except for the ever durable Great Pyramids of Egypt, the rest were nothing more than distant memories from a hazy history.
Want to see the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the Colossus of Rhodes? You missed that boat by many centuries. A rendering in a book or online is the best you’ll ever do.
Visit these seven magnificent sights, and you’ll have checked off four continents on your travel list as well. Let’s get started:
Chichen Itza (Mexico)
It was eventually abandoned and lost to nature in modern Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The ruins weren’t uncovered until 1841, and it’s only become a big tourist destination in recent decades.
The pyramid of El Castillo (“The Castle”) is probably the best known structure of the once vast city.
Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)
The view from Christ the Redeemer is part of its appeal.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
It’s one of the most magnificent meetings of natural and man-made beauty in the world.
The world famous Colosseum is giving up its secrets, and some of them are colorful. CNN’s Ben Wedeman reports.
Emperor Vespasian ordered the construction around 71 AD, and it was dedicated in 80 AD during the rule of his son Titus. It held around 50,000 spectators and even had a retractable awning to shield Romans.
Given how quickly stadiums come and go in the modern age, it makes this feat of engineering all the more amazing. And this freestanding structure sits in the middle of a bustling, modern-day Rome.
Great Wall (China)
In the 1980s, Dong Yao-hui was part of the first three-man team to walk the entire length of China’s Great Wall. Today, he’s focused on its preservation.
However, the Great Wall has turned out to be a great way to usher an invasion of tourists (and their money) into China in recent decades.
Machu Picchu (Peru)
Take a well earned mini break to the ancient wonder of Machu Picchu. Filmed by Alex Rosen.
But oh what rewards you’ll find: the most splendid example of Incan architecture placed in a jaw-dropping landscape of tropical mountain forest. There are about 200 structures in this religious and agricultural center set on a steep ridge crisscrossed by terraces of stone.
Amazingly, it was in active use only a short time, historically speaking. The Inca built it in the 15th century, but it was abandoned after the Spanish invasion in the 16th century.
A Jordanian Bedouin sits on a camel in front of the Treasury Building in the ancient city of Petra in May 2016.
KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
People today may recognize it from the 1989 movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” but during the classical heydays of Greece and Rome, it was known as an important caravan stop between the Mediterranean and the Far East. By the 7th century AD, it was abandoned. But its desert location preserved much of it through the centuries
No wonder it mesmerizes visitors today — its blend of Eastern and Hellenistic styles, half-built and half-carved into the natural red sandstone of the area, truly deserves the term “unique.”
Taj Mahal (India)
Indian Muslims pray during the Eid al-Adha festival at the mosque inside the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 13, 2016.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ordered construction in 1632 as a monument to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The stunningly beautiful structure, considered the height of Indo-Islamic architecture, was completed in 1648.
The white marble structure is in Agra, about 212 kilometers (132 miles) south of India’s capital, New Delhi.
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