Since at least the 19th century, people have suggested new wonders, or brought attention to a site by calling it “the eighth wonder of the world.” President Teddy Roosevelt supposedly said California’s Burney Falls was the eighth wonder, a detail still noted on its website. In a nod to its use as a marketing trope, the 1933 film King Kong even shows the great ape being hawked as the eighth wonder of the world. Here’s a list of other eight other sites that have been dubbed the eighth wonder.
Pink and White Terraces, New Zealand
The historic terraces on opposite sides of Lake Rotomahana on New Zealand’s North Island once represent the most extensive formations of silica sinter in the world. On the one hand, the terraces were pink. On the other, they were white. In the early 1880s, these natural terraces were a popular tourist destination, and supposedly known as the eighth wonder of the world.
Terra-Cotta Army, China
For the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, artists designed thousands of life-size terra cotta statues of soldiers, horses, and chariots to accompany him into the afterlife. In 1974, workers outside the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi Province discovered some of these third-century B.C.E. statues while trying to dig a well. Since then, a select group of these statues has appeared in museums around the world.
Banaue Rice Terraces, The Philippines
More than 2,000 years ago, the Ifugao people carved a series of rice terraces onto the mountains of Banaue, a region on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The terraces resemble steps stretching across 4,000 square miles of the mountainside and were part of a system of irrigation that the Ifugao people used to grow rice.
Borobudur is a massive Buddhist temple in Central Java, Indonesia, built by the Shailendra Dynasty in the eighth and ninth centuries. A volcanic explosion around the year 1000 buried the monument in volcanic ash, and it remained hidden until workers began restoring it in the 20th century. The memorial is built kind of like a pyramid with three separate layers, representing the three spheres in Buddhist cosmology.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
In the early 12th century, the Khmer empire built an enormous monument at its capital of Angkor. That monument, called Angkor wat, was originally a Hindu temple. By the end of the century, it had transitioned into a Buddhist temple and remained so for several centuries. Today, the monument in Siem Reap Province is one of Cambodia’s most significant archaeological monuments. The larger Angkor area containing the temple has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992.
Citadelle Laferrière, Haiti
A more recent wonder is the Citadelle Laferriere, a fortress built atop Haiti’s Bonnet an L’Eveque mountain in 1820. Construction began on the citadel after the Haitian revolution, the first successful rebellion of enslaved people against European colonizers. After the revolution, Haiti built the castle to serve as a military fortress if ever the French returned to enslaved Haitians again.
Aswan High Dam, Egypt
In the 1960s, the Soviet Union partnered with Egypt (then known as the United Arab Republic) to build the Aswan High Dam across the Nile. At a ceremony to mark the first stage of the dam’s completion in 1964, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev boasted that it would be the eighth wonder of the world.
Pikeville Cut-Through, United States
The cut-through highway in Pikeville, Kentucky, is another project that promoters tried to sell as the eighth wonder of the world before it was even built. Back in 1970, three years before construction also began, the new york times reported that “local boosters” claimed it would be the eighth wonder.