Seven Wonders of the Modern World

List of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, as determined by the American Society of Civil Engineers (or ASCE). In 1994, the ASCE asked for nominations from experts around the world for the greatest achievements in civil engineering in the 20th Century. Responses were varied, but based on this survey, a final list of seven "Modern Wonders" was determined. The idea was to draw comparisons to the well-known original concept of "The Seven Wonders of the World," which refers to amazing structures created during classical antiquity.

The original "Seven Wonders" included the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. These structures were all built between 2584 and 280 BC, and remarkably, only the oldest – the Great Pyramid – remains standing. Others were destroyed by earthquakes, fires (including an arson that destroyed the Temple of Artemis), or floods.

The original concept dates back to at least 140 BC, when Greek epigrammist Antipater of Sidon wrote about the Temple of Artemis and compared it to a number of the other structures now considered part of the original Seven Wonders group. Since then, a variety of competing designations and lists of Wonders have been offered. Today, this original list is known as "The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" to differentiate it from the more modern list created by the ASCE.

  • Originally completed in 1931, the Empire State Building (which takes its name from the nickname of New York State) was, for a long time, the world's tallest building. It was surpassed in 1972 by the World Trade Center. It has 102 stories and stands at 1,250 feet (1,454 if you include the antenna spire.)
  • Located on the Brazilian-Paraguayan border, the Itaipu Dam was fully constructed in 1983 and provides hyro-electricity with the Parana River. It's the largest hyroelectric facility in the world, reaching heights of a 65 story building and has enough steel to construct 380 Eiffel Towers. It's one of the most expensive objects ever built, providing 17.3% of all of Brazil's energy consumption and 72.5% of Paraguay's.
  • The CN Tower of Downtown Toronto, Canada, serves as both a communications and observation tower. It stands at 553 meters (or about 1,815 feet), and was the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower when it was completed in 1976. The name "CN" originally stood for Canadian National, the railway company that helped sponsor the tower. Today, it is sometimes referred to as "The Canadian National Tower" or "Canada's National Tower."
  • The canal is a 51-mile man-made waterway connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, cutting through the Isthmus of Panama. Since its completion in 1914, it has been an important route for international trade, as it eliminated the need for ships to sail around Cape Horn below South America to travel between the two oceans. Construction of the Canal took over 30 years and remains one of the most complex and significant engineering projects ever attempted.
  • The Channel Tunnel (sometimes shorted as the "Chunnel") is an undersea railway connecting the United Kingdom with France. The tunnel, which opened in 1994, runs beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is about 250 feet deep. The Channel Tunnel contains the longest undersea tunnel segment in the world. 
  • North Sea Protection Works

    A massive hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands is collectively known as the "North Sea Protection Works," though it's really made up of two separate manmade systems of dams and water drainage – the Zuiderzee Works and the Delta works. The projects involved damming large, shallow inlets of the North Sea and thus, reclaiming land that would otherwise be underwater and unusable. The land is currently used for flood protection and agriculture.