Why not make your next vacation a Wonders of the World vacation? Choose your vacation rental accommodations within easy access to some of the world's most revered sites to create a vacation of a lifetime customized to meet your dreams. Here are some of our top choices for creating unforgettable vacation memories.
Towering over New York harbor since 1886, this 305-foot statue was dedicated as a gift of the French government. Its lighted torch greets Americans returning from abroad and was one of the first sights welcoming immigrants from around the world when they arrived at Ellis Island in New York City. The elevator inside takes visitors to the 10-story pedestal observatory where they can enjoy views of the New York skyline. The adjoining museum tells the story of immigration to the United States.
PYRAMIDS OF GIZA, EGYPT
Here's your opportunity to visit the only surviving structures of what are considered to be the original Seven Wonders of the World. The three pyramids of Giza were built as tombs for the pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty about 4,500 years ago. The 452-foot-high Great Pyramid, which is the largest, was built for King Cheops. Nearby you will find the Great Sphinx, made of limestone, recognizable for the face of a man on the body of a lion.
On a flat-topped hill high above Athens stands The Acropolis. Its 2,500-year-old marble temples draws around a million visitors each year. Visitors feel a true sense of history walking among the many statues of Greek gods and goddesses. The Parthenon, with its majestic columns, is largest temple. It was used as a church, and later on as a mosque, until the 17th century when it was heavily damaged during a war.
Rome's giant 50,000-seat Coliseum, has played a major influence on the design of modern sports stadiums. This giant amphitheater was the site where thousands of gladiators fought, usually dueling to the death, and early Christians were fed to the lions. The arena was inaugurated by the Emperor Titus in A.D. 80 in a special series of games lasting 100 days.
NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, GERMANY
This magnificent "fairytale" castle was the creation of "Mad King" Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was built in the 19th century, long after the age of castles, as an indulgence to his romantic fantasies. Visible for miles around, the castle is perched atop a high mountain in the Bavarian Alps. With its towers, turrets and pinnacles, the gray granite castle became the inspiration for Disneyland's signature Sleeping Beauty Castle. Within are many paintings revealing scenes Ludwig's favorite Richard Wagner operas.
This ancient rock formation is a major tourist attraction with special spiritual significance for many, especially on June 21st when thousands gather each year to celebrate the summer solstice. Some say the alignment of stones was part of a sun-worshipping culture. Others say it was part of an astronomical calendar. Experts can only speculate on how and why this circular monument of massive rocks was created some time between 3000 and 1600 B.C.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, AUSTRALIA
One of the most recognized sites in Australia, the Sydney Opera House sits on Bennelong Point looking out into Sydney's
harbor. Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, the opera house is known for its roof, which is covered by more than 1 million white tiles and looks like a ship in full sail. Queen Elizabeth II opened the Opera House 1973. Within its 1,000 rooms it hosts more than 3,000 events each year.
EIFFEL TOWER, FRANCE
One of the most recognized structures in the world, this 985-foot tower was built for Paris' International Exposition of 1889 by engineer Gustave Eiffel. Erected in only two years with a small labor force, it quickly became the international symbol for the City of Lights. The tower is made of open-lattice wrought iron and is still the tallest structure in Paris
. Considered at first to be an eyesore by many Parisians, the Eiffel Tower ultimately become an example of a significant advance in building construction technology.
High above the city of Granada is the palace and citadel of Alhambra. This magnificent residence, home to the Moorish caliphs who governed southern Spain in splendor, features mosaics, arabesques and the classic mocarabe, or honeycomb work. Eight hundred years of Muslim rule ended when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled them in 1492.
HAGIA SOPHIA, TURKEY
Known around the world as the Church of Holy Wisdom, this soaring cathedral was built in 537 B.C. under the authority of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, at Constantinople, which today is Istanbul. When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the cathedral was transformed into a mosque with minarets. Years later, in 1935,Turkish President Kemal Ataturk turned it into a museum in which the Christian mosaics that had been covered by the Muslims were revealed and appreciated once again.
PYRAMID AT CHICHEN ITZA, MEXICO
This majestic step-pyramid surmounted by a temple was originally part of a sacred site that was a prominent spiritual destination for one of the greatest Mayan civilizations in Mexico's Yucatan
peninsula. It was built according to the solar calendar so that shadows cast during both the fall and spring equinoxes appear to look like a snake crawling down the steps, resembling the carved serpent that sits at the top.-->
CHRIST THE REDEEMER STATUE, BRAZIL
Inaugurated in 1931, the revered 125-foot-tall statue of Christ the Redeemer sits atop Mt. Corcovado in Brazil. Weighing more than 1,000 tons, the statue, with its outstretched arms, overlooks Rio de Janeiro. It was built in pieces in France by Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski starting in 1926. Subsequently it was shipped to Brazil where the pieces were carried by cogwheel railway up the mountain for assembly.
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