Nature Has Gifted Mankind With So Many Wonders That Leave Anyone In Awe
In 200 B.C., Philon of Byzantium had chosen wonders of the world to serve as a guide for Athenian travelers. All the sites he selected were situated in the Mediterranean basis which was then the known “world.” Of his selections, only Egypt’s the Pyramids of Giza remain. Thousands of years later, the concept of the 7 Wonders of the World was revived by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber through worldwide campaigns for the modern-day man: we now have the official New & Wonders of the World, New 7 Wonders of Nature, and the New 7 Wonders Cities. The only difference between the ancient selection of the wonders and the 20th-century selection is that the sites were chosen by millions of people globally based on certain criteria, and not just by one person.
The new wonders are considered the “people’s choices,” where the aim is to make known to the world the natural heritage of the countries where the sites are located and hopefully make more and more people appreciate these creations.
Inauguration events were held in the respective countries to name these wonderful selections officially. Let’s take a virtual tour of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and be drawn by their breathtaking beauty.
Amazon – Peru, Colombia & Brazil
South America houses the largest and longest river in the world that is called the Amazon. The river’s source of water comes from the Cordillera Rumi Cruz at the headwaters of the Mantaro River in Peru. Because of its enormous size, the Amazon river traverses Brazil and Colombia. Its basin is considered the biggest drainage basin in the world, with an estimated area of 7.050 million square kilometers – making up 1/5 of the world’s total river flow. The Amazon river discharges approximately 6,591cubic kilometers of water yearly, an amount that far exceeds the next seven biggest independent rivers combined. With this, the great river comprises 20% of the world’s riverine discharge to the Atlantic Ocean.
Ha Long Bay – Vietnam
The popular tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site is part of Ha Long City in Van Don District, Vietnam. The bay is a sight to behold with its isles in different shapes and sizes and limestone formations. The limestone alone dominates the 1,553 square-kilometer bay and developed over a period of 500 million years through the help of different weather and land conditions. The karsts have gone through 20 million years of evolution with the effect of the wet tropical climate. The bay is abundant with 60 endemic animal species and 14 endemic floral species. Biodiversity is very much present in Ha Long Bay, as evidenced by its having oceanic, sea shore and tropical evergreen biosystems.
Komodo Island – Indonesia
The 390 square-kilometer island in Indonesia belongs to the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and is inhabited by 2,000 locals. The islanders are descendants of Bugis from Sulawesi mixed with former convicts who were exiled to the island. Islam is the predominant religion, though there are also Hindu and Christian groups. The island is the habitat of the largest lizard on earth called the Komodo dragon. The lizards have an average length of 3 meters and weight of 140 kilograms and are known to have lived in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years. Komodo island is a part of the Komodo National Park and is a well-known diving destination.
Iguazu Falls – Argentina & Brazil
The name originated from Tupi words “y” which stands for ‘water’ and “uasu” that means ‘big.’ Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was the first to record the existence of the waterfalls in 1541. The 2.7 kilometre-long waterfalls system which is the biggest one in the world is located on the border of Argentina’s Misiones province and the Brazilian state of Parana. The river flows through Brazil for the most part, while the falls originate mainly from Argentina. Hence, the Iguazu River is part of the boundary that separates Argentina and Brazil. Legend has it that a deity sliced the river and created the waterfalls in a fit of rage after being jilted by a woman who fled in a canoe with her mortal lover. But the reality is that the falls are indeed a spectacular sight to behold.
Jeju Island – South Korea
Also known as Jejudo, it is the main island of South Korea’s Jeju Province and the largest among the islands of the Korean Peninsula. The island houses the World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. Jeju is what it is now through an evolution that started 1.2 million years ago when magma formed in the sea and began to erupt. When the volcano stopped forming for a hundred thousand years, a coastline was born. Some thousands of years later, volcanism restarted and Hallasan – the highest point on the island, was formed. Aside from this mountain, the island has 360 satellite volcanoes surrounding the main volcano. Visitors are always drawn to the mystique beauty of Jeju Island and how it came about.
Table Mountain – South Africa
The flat-topped mountain is a prominent landmark that overlooks South Africa’s city of Cape Town. People enjoy the scenery by using the cableway or hiking to the mountain top. It forms part of the Table Mountain National Park where tourists flock yearly to marvel at the impressive cliffs, plateaus, and the broad sweep of mountainous heights. Orographic clouds often cover the flat top of the mountain, and this happens whenever south-easterly winds blow upward towards the slopes and into colder air, where “table-cloth” like clouds are formed when the moisture condenses. Legend has it that when the table cloth is seen, a contest happens between the Devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks.
Underground River – Philippines
Located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan province of the Philippines, the Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a protected area bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east. It is more than 24 kilometers long and winds through the cave before flowing straight into the West Philippine Sea. The river park also boasts of limestone karst mountain landscape. In 2010, environmentalists and geologists found out that the underground river has a second floor, where small waterfalls can be found inside the cave. One can also see a 980-ft cave dome above the subterranean river, including rock formations, a deep water hole, river channels, and other deep areas that are difficult to reach because of lack of oxygen. Interestingly, marine creatures and large bats also reside in the caves and river. Nineteen reptile species have been identified, eight of which are endemic.
All these wondrous sites are nature’s gifts to mankind, and we should all have an endless appreciation of the indescribable beauty they bring to our world.