If you’ve missed it, my Facebook group, Travelers Tell All (yes, please join), has been running tournaments to keep ourselves amused while we can’t travel. We first decided what the best city in the world was, then the best US national park. Now it’s time for the best man-made wonder. There were no qualifications for who could vote, or criteria they had to use. It was just a plain old popularity contest!
I divided the tournament into four “regionals,” seeded one to sixteen, and named after four of the original Wonders of the World that are no longer standing: Hanging Gardens, Colossus, Lighthouse, and Mausoleum. The seeding is fairly arbitrary, made solely by me. Let’s examine the results by regional.
Italics won in the first round. Underlined italics won in the second round. Bold underlined italics advanced to the regional final by winning in the third round.
Hanging Gardens Regional
The Hanging Gardens regional first round looked like this:
(1) Pyramids of Giza vs (16) Todaji Temple
(8) Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi vs (9) Stone Town
(5) Panama Canal (12) Hungarian Parliament
(4) Taj Mahal vs (13) St. Mark’s Square
(3) Mount Rushmore vs (14) Borobudur
(6) Leaning Tower of Pisa vs (11) Golden Gate Bridge
(7) Chichen Itza vs (10) Baha’i Shrine of Haifa
(2) Eiffel Tower vs (15) Hollywood Sign
Mount Rushmore, the 3 seed, went down immediately, with the 2 seed Eiffel Tower following the next round. From there, Chichen Itza and the Pyramids cruised, although I’m a bit surprised that in the Sweet 16, the Panama Canal only received a single vote against the top seed.
Regional Winner: (1) Pyramids of Giza def (7) Chichen Itza
Biggest Surprise: Chichen Itza advancing all the way to the regional final as a 7 seed, easily topping the iconic Eiffel Tower and Golden Gate Bridge on the way.
The Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal
The Colossus regional first round looked like this:
(1) Machu Picchu vs (16) Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue
(8) Banaue Rice Terraces vs (9) Kremlin/Red Square
(5) Neuschwanstein Castle vs (12) Potala Palace
(4) Hagia Sophia vs (13) Shwedagon Pagoda
(3) Forbidden City vs (14) Santorini
(6) Moai of Easter Island vs (11) Christ the Redeemer
(7) Empire State Building vs (10) Notre Dame
(2) Vatican City vs (15) Las Vegas Strip
This one went largely according to seeding. The first round match between the Holy See and the Vegas Strip made me giggle, and was actually close!
Regional Winner: (1) Machu Picchu def (2) Vatican City
Biggest Surprise: None, really, unless you count sixth seeded Moai defeating the 3 seed Forbidden City.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
The Lighthouse regional first round looked like this:
(1) Great Wall of China vs (16) Timbuktu
(8) Registan vs (9) Hermandir Sahib
(5) Petra vs (12) Sagrada Familia
(4) Teotihuacan vs (13) Burj Khalifa
(3) Stonehenge vs (14) Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
(6) Terra-cotta Army vs (11) US Capitol Building
(7) Bagan vs (10) Tower Bridge
(2) Statue of Liberty vs (15) Fallingwater
While the Great Wall cruised, second seeded Statue of Liberty struggled, exiting in the second round and leaving that side of the bracket open for Stonehenge.
Regional Winner: (1) Great Wall of China def (3) Stonehenge
Biggest Surprise: Seventh seeded Bagan upsetting both Lady Liberty and the Terra-cotta Army while advancing to the Sweet 16.
There is no mistaking the Great Wall of China!
The Mausoleum regional first round looked like this:
(1) Colosseum vs (16) Las Lajas
(8) Mesa Verde vs (9) Mosque of Djenne
(5) Tikal vs (12) Sydney Opera House
(4) Alhambra vs (13) Mont-Saint-Michel
(3) Old City of Jerusalem vs (14) Marina Bay Sands/Gardens by the Bay
(6) Acropolis of Athens vs (11) Kinkaku-ji
(7) Luxor vs (10) Hoover Dam
(2) Angkor Wat vs (15) Space Needle
After a first round in which every favorite won, this region went to heck quickly, as three of the top four seeds went down in the second round, including the 1 and 2 seeds, Colosseum and Angkor Wat.
Regional Winner: (7) Luxor def (5) Tikal
Biggest Surprise: It has to be Luxor, cruising into the Final Four as a little seventh seed.
Guatamala’s amazing ruins at Tikal
Match One: (1) Pyramids of Giza def (1) Machu Picchu
Match Two: (1) Great Wall of China def (7) Luxor
Final: (1) Pyramids of Giza def (1) Great Wall of China
So, the Pyramids win. I’m not shocked. If you think of this as a contest to determine the new wonders of the world, the Elite Eight gives our answer, including the Pyramids from the original set, plus: Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, Vatican City, Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, Luxor, and Tikal. I think that’s a pretty solid list, don’t you? What is your favorite man-made wonder of the world?
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