[b]The Grand Canyon, United States[/b]
A steep gorge by the Colorado River, Arizona in United States, this
has the most enjoyable scenery. It is 277 miles in length, 4 to 18
miles in width and about a mile in depth. Scientists are of the opinion
that the canyon has been created by the Colorado River over a six
million year period.
Native Americans built settlements in the caves within the canyon
before the emigration of Europeans. It was also considered to be a site
of pilgrimage by the Pueblo people. The first recorded visit to the
Grand Canyon by the Europeans was in 1869. Although, it is not the
deepest canyon in the world, it is known for its extremely huge size
and beautifully intricate landscape. The Grand Canyon National Park is
said to be one of the first National Parks in the United States and
attracts more than five million visitors a year. Weather conditions in
the Grand Canyon vary a great deal between seasons as well as
elevation. While winter snow is experienced by the higher elevated
forested rims, the inner gorge has a desert temperature because of the
[b]The Great Barrier Reef, Australia[/b]
One of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef off
the east coast of Australia is the world’s largest coral reef. It has
the distinction of being placed in the World Heritage as well as the
National Heritage lists.
With more than 600 islands and coral cays, the reef covers more than
300,000 sq. km. Corals make up the several reefs and cays and are
responsible for a huge variety of sea life in the reef; including green
turtles, several varieties of whales and dolphins, dugong, about 4000
types of mollusk, 1500 different species of fish as well as a beautiful
colored bird life with 200 species. The Great Reef Marine Park is a
huge tourist attraction with more than a couple of million tourists
visiting the area each year. Sporting includes activities such as reef
sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling amongst several others.
[b]Cape Town, South Africa[/b]
Aptly called “heaven on earth,” this beautiful town at the tip of
the African continent, with small roads surrounded by huge mountains,
makes a person feel small; showing how marvelous and dominating nature
can actually be.
The Cape Dutch style buildings depict the architectural heritage of
the place. Beauty abounds in the black clouds that seem to pay homage
to Table Mountain at all times. Cape Point, Signal Hill, Chapman’s Peak
Drive, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Robben Island, Rhodes Memorial
and the beaches are some of the famous tourist attractions. Located on
the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town is famous for its natural floral
kingdom as well as its harbor. This town is one of the most popular
tourist attractions of South Africa, with its wine tasting day trips,
whale watching and dolphin watching.
[b]Taj Mahal, India[/b]
The Taj Mahal in India is one of the wonders of the world and is one
of the most beautiful mausoleums constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah
Jahan in memory of his favorite queen, Mumtaz Mahal. Located in Agra,
white marble is used in the creation of this symbol of love and is
considered to be the pinnacle of the famous Mughal architecture.
Story goes that the emperor was grief stricken when he lost his
beloved third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It took several thousands of
craftsmen, artisans and about twenty years to construct it. The masons,
stonecutters, carvers, inlayers, calligraphers, painters and others
were brought from the entire empire as well as from Iran and Central
Asia. Semi-precious stones were used for inlay ornamentation. It later
became the mausoleum of Shah Jahan too. This is a huge tourist
attraction with one to two million tourists visiting it every year.
[b]Canadian Rockies, Canada[/b]
The majestic Canadian Rockies are the Canadian segment of the North
American Rocky mountains. They are a visitor’s wonderland and the
playground for western Canada. They are older than the American Rockies
and are formed from over thrusting.
The Canadian Rockies house five national parks, out of which four of
them along with other provincial parks form a combination of a single
UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of beautiful mountain
landscapes, lakes, canyons, waterfalls, glaciers, peaks, limestone
caves as well as fossils. Mount Robson is the highest peak of the
Canadian Rockies and climbing it is considered a challenge. These
beautiful mountains are a haven for hikers and walkers alike.
[b]Machu Picchu, Peru[/b]
Machu Picchu in Peru, which means ‘Old Peak,” is one of the most
enigmatic ancient sites in the world. According to legend, Machu Picchu
was a long time ago considered to be a sacred place. The credit for the
creation of the extraordinary city goes to the Inca people who have
erected many stone structures and turned the place into an art form.
Two thousand feet above the Urubamba river, these ruins consist of
baths, temples, palaces and about 150 houses, all very well preserved.
These gray granite structures, some of which weigh more than 50 tons
are so perfectly sculpted that they are nothing less than architectural
genius. They were rediscovered by a Yale archaeologist in 1911. The
ethereal beauty, the workmanship and history of the place attracts
millions of tourists each year.
[b]The Pyramids, Egypt[/b]
The Egyptian pyramids are massive monuments with a square base and
four triangular sides rising up to a point. There was a lot of
curiosity associated with the pyramids as to their formation, whether
it was natural.
However, the Egyptians started constructing them after 2700 B.C. and
were built as tombs for the Pharaohs. The most well-known and the
largest pyramids of Egypt are the Pyramids at Giza which are said to be
the largest ever built, and the Great Pyramid at Giza took 23 years to
complete for about a work force of 30,000. About 118 pyramids have been
identified and are very popular with people from all over the world.
Described by the UNESCO as “one of the most precious cultural
properties of man’s cultural heritage, Petra is an archeological site
on the slope of Mount Hor. It is one of the new wonders of the world
and is famous for its rock cut architecture.
This site was kept hidden till 1812 when it was discovered by a
Swiss explorer. It was said to have been prepared by God for the Jewish
people. Petra once flourished under the Roman empire but a rapid
decline began with the Arabian trade being taken elsewhere. Then an
earthquake caused a lot of destruction. Tourists throng the place to
get a glimpse of the ruins of this beautiful city.
[b]Great Wall of China, China[/b]
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is a
man-made structure that was constructed over two thousand years ago and
took about 100 years to complete. The vastness of this project brings
to light the immense capabilities of man.
The constructions started in the 5th Century B.C. It is actually
many walls put together and stretches over 4,000 miles and was
constructed to protect the Chinese Empire from the Xiongnu people in
the north. The wall was initially built of stone, grass, earth and
wood, but bricks were used once the production started. It is believed
that about 2-3 million Chinese died as part of this project.
[b]The Iguazu Waterfalls, Argentina-Brazil Border
Heralded as the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, the Iguazu
Waterfalls are a true wonder of nature. They are located at the border
of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. While the Argentinean side allows
visitors to walk right around the water or explore the National Park;
the Brazilian side is known for its panoramic views and splendor.