At a wonderful ceremony held in Lisbon on 07/07/2007, people of this planet inherited a new list of seven wonders of the world. Earlier when we had a list of seven wonders, that list was prepared and passed on by ancient scholars and others. On the other hand, this New Seven Wonders of the World list was not compiled by an ancient scholar but by people of the planet like you and me who voted on the new seven wonders online and through text messaging.

The New Seven Wonders of the World

#1. The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The Taj Mahal received the highest number of votes for the New Seven Wonders of the world list. The Taj Mahal is considered to be the eternal symbol of love. It was built by an Indian Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died while giving birth to their child.

The Taj Mahal was completed in 1648 and was built over a period of 16 years with workmen and sculptors from all over the world lending their hand to this massive project. The finest material like the Marble, the Jade, Crystal, turquoise was sourced from all over the world. Nearly every inch of the 55 m tall Taj Mahal is decorated. This symbol of love is visited by more than 3 million people all over every year.

The Taj Mahal, new seven wonders of the world

Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images









#2. The Coliseum, Rome, Italy

The Coliseum was one of the first monuments to get a confirmed spot in the list of the New Seven wonders of the world. You probably saw the Coliseum in Gladiator and many other popular Roman movies. The Coliseum was built by Roman Emperor Vespasian where work began in 72 BC and took about 10 years to complete.

The Roman Emperors used the Coliseum to stage war games and entertainment where Gladiators used to fight in the re-staging of famous battles, animal fights etc often paying with their lives for the entertainment. At its heyday, the Coliseum could seat upto 50,000 people.

the coliseum

Image: A Formula One Ferrari cruises past the Coliseum. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Down Underground: Coober Pedy residents take the moniker “Down Under” literally.

ASKSTUDENT.COM guest author

Coober pedyAfter hours of restless sleeping on a Greyhound bus that provided no leg room and miles of empty desert scenery, I arrived at 5:00 AM in Coober Pedy. It was cold, dark and crowded as the weary travelers piled their huge backpacks on the floor of Radeka’s Downunder motel and made their way to the check-in counter. Even in the dark there was a sense that Coober Pedy, an opal mining town in South Australia, held a rugged element of danger and mystery.

Like half the homes in Coober Pedy, my hostel was built underground. For around $15 a night you can sleep in one of the four bunk beds lodged in a dugout cave with no doors and dim lighting. I enjoyed my bed despite the rock walls and constant chatter of foreign languages I could not decipher.

Coober pedy locationLiving underground became popular when returning World War I soldiers came to Coober Pedy in search of opals. Used to living in trenches in France, the soldiers quickly discovered they could avoid hot desert days and cold nights by remaining underground where the temperature stays a constant 23 degrees Celsius.

For travelers who chose to stay underground at Radeka’s, a daily Desert Breakaway Tour can be added on to your bill for an additional $15. The tour group is small, about ten people, and my bus driver recommended it as one of the better tours offered. Taking any tour is well worth the money as Coober Pedy is too spread out to walk and see all the sights.

Windy City: Eats and Sleeps
Things to do:

Smaller than a big city, bigger than a small city, this “gateway to the west” is a cultural mecca in Missouri.

ASKSTUDENT.COM guest writer

Most people know St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West.” I know it as home.

St.Louis ArchThe population of St. Louis is somewhere around 3-4 million. It takes a lot of industry and a lot of culture to support a town this big in Missouri. Washington University is here, as is the Anheuser-Busch Brewery (I-55 and Arsenal St.), the world’s largest collection of mosaic art (the Cathedral of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd.), Ulysses S. Grant’s restored farm (10501 Gravois) and a world-class zoo. And of course there’s the Gateway Arch, which, at 630 feet, is the nation’s tallest monument.

Along the Mississippi River bank is the South Grand area, home to a series of terrific ethnic (especially Thai) restaurants. North of Grand is the city’s small theatre district. The Fabulous Fox Theatre, a restored old-fashioned movie house, is often a stop for Broadway shows on tour. Powell Symphony Hall” is home to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Ave.), the Grand Square Theatre (performance space for the St. Louis Black Repertory Company) and good weekend jazz can be found down on Grand.

Save the Queen and save a few pounds on your next visit to London, the city on the Thames.


Windsor CastleLondon Travel Shortly after arriving at Gatwick Airport at 7 a.m. on a sunny, English morning, I took a train to London’s Victoria Coach Station. During the ride, I met two students from California on a work-abroad program in central London for the summer. They explained how they fell in love with the city after their first visit and decided to spend the next three months working and traveling around England. After hearing about the great time they had, I couldn’t wait to begin exploring the city.

From the coach station, I took a cab (in London, they’re black) to my hotel. Passing through streets dotted with historic, looming cathedrals, resplendant royal palaces and red, double-decker buses was unforgettable. The friendly cab driver narrated this impromptu tour in a heavy Manchester accent, offering the significance of every monument we passed on the way to the hotel. Contrary to their reputation for being very reserved, I found Brits to be very friendly, open and enthusiastic people.

By far, London is the most fascinating and exciting city I’ve ever visited. It’s city of contrasts, a modern yet traditional city that’s steeped in history and invigorated by youthful energy. Although I’ve traveled there three times in the past few years, I’ve only begun to discover all that London has to offer. As a student, there are many ways to make your trip to London fun and affordable.

It’s become a rite of passage. Europe 101: The eight-week crash course in European culture and sites.

Europe LondonAs the thousands of young backpackers who descend upon Europe every summer or end of their fall semster quickly discover, the path has been well blazed. The grand tour of Europe’s sites includes more than a few obnoxious Americans, travel pitfalls, hassles — and yes — rewards.

With the first-time adventurer in mind, here are a few essential tips to help get you started on your journey and go a little off the beaten path:

Counsel on European Security

Contrary to the common perception, not all parts of Europe are safe. Crime and theft are just as common there as they are here and perhaps even more so for the backpack-toting adventurer. Be aware that your gear marks you as an easy target for the many thieves who make their livelihood off the summer influx of unwitting young tourists. Be skeptical of those who immediately approach you in train stations or other public places. Above all, don’t let your valuables leave your person. Hostels and night trains are the prime spots for robbery. You may want to invest in a money belt to prevent night-time theft. Keep a few extra dollars stashed in a secret place. When the unthinkable happens and your wallet is stolen, it will tide you over until help arrives.