We all know about the Seven Wonders of the World. Well, the original seven wonders have disappeared except for one (Great Pyramids), leading world leaders to try and find seven wonders of the world that exist right now. However, it’s not just the very old monuments or the ruins of an ancient civilization that are wondrous. In actuality, there are places all around us that can be considered wonders of the world, and a lot of them haven’t actually been around for very long.
Without any further ado, here are fifteen places that are world wonders in their own right. You may have heard of some of these locations before, while some of them may have been entirely unknown to you. Either way, when you plan your next trip, make sure you take time to see any of these fifteen places. I can promise you that you won’t regret it.
15. The Temple of Rats – India
The Temple of Rats is also known as the Karni Mata Temple, and it’s a really interesting place. Legend has it that the son of Karni Mata, Laxman, drowned in a pond while trying to drink from it, and his mother tried to revive him by imprisoning the god of death. Not only did Death relent, he made it so Laxman and all of Karni Mata’s sons would eventually be reincarnated as rats. After that, the story varies, but according to the aforementioned version, Karni Mata spared the lives of 20,000 deserting soldiers by turning them into rats, who get to live at the temple, and the soldiers themselves are loyal to her. The rats themselves are held in high esteem, too: it’s considered an honor to eat the food that the rats have eaten, and if one of the rats dies, they’re replaced with a solid silver rat statue. There are also a few white rats that live there that are considered the reincarnations of Karni Mata and her sons, so they’re super special holy rats.
The temple itself was completed in its current version in 1999, so it’s not quite within the last millennium. However, the temple was actually 0n a very early season of The Amazing Race, which is pretty cool. If you’re not a rodent person, this might not be the best place to go, but other than that, this is an incredible place with a rich history.
14. The Island Of The Dolls – Mexico
The Island of the Dolls, or La Isla De Las Muñecas, is a small island off the coast of Mexico that wasn’t really meant to have this huge tourist following. The history of the island is actually really, really sad: legend has it that a little girl drowned around there, and her spirit is now possessing the dolls. The dolls themselves are really creepy, and the stories about them are even creepier: witnesses have heard the dolls whispering to each other. There are more stories about the island and the dolls themselves that are really cool, too. Whether you believe in ghosts and possession or not, you’ll find yourself affected by the island itself.
13. The Mindfield – Tennessee, US
The Minefield is an awesome looking structure begun by artist Billy Tripp, in Brownsville, Tennessee in 1989. Tripp’s life’s work was this structure, and he continued to work on it until his death. Every piece of the structure is representative of an event in Billy Tripp’s life, so essentially, this is an autobiography crafted in steel. He also wrote a book which also goes into some of those events in more detail. It’s a weird structure, certainly, but it’s a deeply personal one, and you can see that the Mindfield really meant a lot to Billy Tripp.
12. Carhenge – Nebraska, US
If you’ve ever been to the Midwest, chances are you’ve heard of Carhenge, a replica of England’s Stonehenge made entirely out of cars. This one is exactly what its name suggests. However, this is a representation of what Stonehenge looks like now, not what it looked like when it first appeared, between 2500 BC and 2000 BC. That in itself is pretty cool: a structure that was built more than four thousand years ago is now made out of cars in Nebraska. It was listed for sale in 2011, so if you’ve got $300,000 lying around, you might want to get your hands on Carhenge, especially before 2017, when it’ll be in the path of the next solar eclipse.
11. The World of Harry Potter – Florida, US
This sounds like a weird thing to put on a list of 15 modern wonders of the world, but I truly believe that this belongs here. The World of Harry Potter is two locations in both Universal parks in Orlando. Islands of Adventure has the Hogwarts castle and the neighboring village of Hogsmeade, where you can explore the famed fictional school itself, while Universal Studios Florida houses Diagon Alley, including a big Gringotts ride. On top of that, both places are connected by a literal Hogwarts Express, which lets you move between parks. It’s straight up awesome, and if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, you won’t regret visiting.
10. Underwater Restaurant – Maldives
Ithaa is the world’s first all glass, underwater restaurant, and it was rated the most beautiful restaurant in the world by The New York Daily News back in 2014. Essentially, while you’re eating, you are literally completely surrounded by water and fish, and the only thing separating you and your food from the water above you is the glass encasing the restaurant. Even if the underwater views didn’t make you want to eat there, the food will make you want to eat there. It’s a really fancy experience when you go there during regular business hours (it’s only open for lunch and dinner), and you can even book weddings there!
9. Pokemon Center – Japan
This sounds like an even weirder choice than the Harry Potter theme park, but honestly, gamers and Nintendo fans everywhere are going to start descending on this place like it’s a brand new Mecca. The Pokemon Center might look like a regular store to the uninitiated gamer, or even a blatant example of sheer consumerism, but for a fan of the Pokemon franchise, this is an incredible place. Located in Ikebukuro’s Shining City, the Pokemon Center is a shining example of the height and power of fandom.
8. The Rumah Terbalik Upside Down House – East Malaysia
The Rumah Terbalik Upside Down House is practically a miracle in modern engineering. The house is fully equipped with everything a normal house would have, except it’s upside down. Literally everything is upside down in this house, and it’s awesome. This might look like just an upside down house, but rest assured: this is a tourist attraction through and through. It’s accessible via wheelchair, it has a cafe where you can eat locally made ice cream and drink locally brewed coffee, and it’s even got a gift shop!
7. Magic Forest – New York, US
There are a lot of places that can qualify as a Wonder of the World in New York. One might have expected a skyscraper of some sort to make this list, but the real Wonder of the World that’s worth checking out isn’t in New York City at all, it’s at Lake George. This is probably the most kid-friendly attraction yet, as the Magic Forest is an amusement park that specifically caters to kids. Adults get their own rides, too, so this is really a place for all ages. The rides are cool, but what’s cooler about this place is the path trails that allow you to stumble across various fairytale retelling. This might not be the amusement park where you’ll find yourself on a crazy roller coaster, but this is definitely the place to get lost in a different world.
6. Market Theater Gum Wall – Washington, US
The Market Theater Gum Wall is basically exactly what its name says it is: it’s a big wall covered in gum. The wall itself is in Seattle, at the titular Market Theater, and the tradition of sticking gum to the wall started back in 1993. Theater workers there tried cleaning the wall off twice, but when the wall was dedicated as an official tourist attraction, they finally gave up. In 2009, it was named among the germiest of tourist attractions, second only to the Blarney Stone, which makes a lot of sense.
The wall looks different now, however; back in November 2015, officials in Seattle finally decided to completely clean the wall, since the sugar was starting to erode the bricks. However, as soon as the wall was cleaned, gum started going up on the wall again. The first pieces of gum to go up after the big cleanup job were actually memorials to the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, proving that literally any medium can provoke a good deal of thought.
5. Electric Ladyland – Amsterdam
Electric Ladyland is a one of a kind experience, not only because it’s the only museum of its kind in the entire world, but because the second you walk into the museum, you’re part of the museum. That might sound weird, but the museum was designed to make the visitors part of the art being shown there. The exhibit was opened on April 19th, 1999, and it’s all about fluorescence, which is why this is the only museum of its kind in the world. Not only is it a tour through a lot of incredible art, it’s an opportunity to learn from some of the demonstrations given, which go into how fluorescence affects different branches of science, and what everyday items are fluorescent.
4. Hobbiton Village – New Zealand
Anyone who’s seen the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies knows how gorgeous Peter Jackson made the Shire look. That’s why the Hobbiton set was made permanent after The Hobbit trilogy wrapped. The village is not only an exact replica of the set used in the movie, it’s an amazing representation of what the Shire from the books looks like. Not only does this exist, there’s a guided tour that actually sounds like it’s worth the price. You get to see the Hobbiton set, and you get to see some other sites around New Zealand, including caves filled with glowworms (I promise that’s way cooler than it sounds). Basically, the entire nation of New Zealand is a world wonder.
3. The Gnome Reserve – England
The Gnome Reserve is a strange, but cool place. Not only is it basically a cute living space for a lot of garden gnomes, it’s a place that really goes out of its way to make sure its visitors have the chance to blend in with the gnomes. It all sounds kind of weird, but there’s something really charming about the whole thing. The reserve was established back in 1979 by an art student who still owns the place now. In her own words:
“.. while painting birds in landscapes I came to what was like a T Junction in my painting development. I did not know whether to turn left or right as different elements of what I liked in painting appeared irreconcilably in opposite directions. It was very disturbing! Until – one day – a gnome appeared in my mind and seemed to say: ‘Don’t go left; don’t go right; you must dig / build your own road straight across.’..
The Gnome Reserve is a Guinness World Record holder, too! It’s also the home to model pixies.
2. Rock Climbing Waterfall – France
This rock climbing waterfall park in France went viral on Facebook not too long ago, so there’s a good chance you might have seen this video before.
The video itself tends to do a lot of my explaining for me. A lot of the footage is more than a little shaky, since it’s supposed to be a POV thing, but the cool thing about that is that the point of view on this video is essentially what we would be seeing if we went to the park ourselves. The place is called the Canyoning Park of Argelés Sur Mer, and it’s sort of a water park, except it’s a water park that requires a tour guide since there’s actual rock climbing and a ton of other stuff involved. This is definitely a world wonder that’s going to challenge anyone who goes there.
1. Giant Water Organ – Croatia
The giant water organ in Croatia also went viral, on both YouTube and Facebook, and it’s the very embodiment of a world wonder. It was opened to the public in 2005, in Zadar, Croatia, as an attempt to liven up the city’s coastline after the second world war had reduced the area to a plain concrete wall. In 2006, the sea organ won the prize ex-aequo of the fourth edition of the European Prize for Urban Public Space, which is a very long name for a very cool award.
Since the sea itself powers this organ, the notes it plays are completely random, but amazingly, the notes being played by the organ are completely harmonious and beautiful enough to attract locals and tourists alike.
If you think there’s a place that belongs on this list as a modern wonder of the world, let us know!