The Seven Wonders of the Medieval Mind

Stonehenge The Colosseum The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

The Great Wall of China The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing The Hagia Sophia The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

The medieval mind, just like the classical mind before it, was captivated by the wondrous things people had made. For much of the thousand-year period known as the Middle Ages, most Europeans lived in small, isolated communities; travel was difficult and often dangerous; and knowledge was confined to, and often controlled by men of the church. The great civilizations of Greece and Rome were long gone, but even so, some of their glory was still remembered. Travelers brought back tales of an incredible civilization in the East which sparked the European imagination.

Following the third century B.C. when lists of wonders were compiled, many scholars and philosophers modified these lists to reflect their own opinions. At some point around the Middle Ages, another list appeared - the medieval world's seven wonders.

The surviving list holds a particular fascination because only some of its marvels actually date from the Middle Ages. The list represents almost 4,500 years of human endeavor.