Seven Wonder Cities: Showcasing varying forms of Architecture

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Seven Wonder cities is another campaign conducted by the Swiss Foundation New 7 Wonders to curate a list of seven cities that are considered the finest architectural developments of all time. After the Casting of votes by millions of people from all over the world, the below-narrated cities is a list of the seven cities that are the most admired and appreciated worldwide.

Beirut, Lebanon

The capital city Beirut is also the largest city in Lebanon and the third-largest city in the Levant region. At the midpoint of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast lies a peninsula that houses the city of Beirut. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and is considered to have been habited for more than 5,000 years. The Beirut River runs on the eastern edge of the city from south to north.

The tourism industry generates major revenue for the city and holds historical significance for the local economy. The architecture of the city is a blend of French architecture with Venetian Gothic architecture combined with Ottoman and Arabesque Architecture. The most appealing neighborhood of the city is Badaro; witnessing a constant crowd of hipsters, trippers, and residents. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network have identified Beirut as a Beta World City. The cultural landscape of the city underwent major reconstruction due to the havoc caused by the Lebanese Civil war.

Seven Wonder cities of the world

Doha, Qatar

With more people than the rest of Qatar combined, Doha is the capital and largest city of Qatar. The city is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the East, Al Khor in the South, and Al Wakrah in the North. It was founded in the 1820s and is the most populous city in the nation with 80% population of Doha or its surrounding suburbs inhabiting the city. 

It is not only one of the  Seven Wonder Cities but also a beta-level global city due to its significance as an emerging financial center in the Middle East. It was declared the country’s capital in 1971. The Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations organized the first ministerial-level meeting hosted by Doha. Many schemes have been planned and executed to preserve the cultural and architectural heritage of the city.

Seven Wonder cities of the world

Durban, South Africa

Durban is the largest city in the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal and the thor most populous city after Johannesburg and Cape Town. It was formerly named Port Natal due to its location on the natal bay of the Indian Ocean and was known as the chief seaport of South Africa. It is an ethnically diverse settlement with a combination of Zulu, White and Asian Inhabitants. 

Due to the city’s warm subtropical climate and beaches, it is one of the major centers of tourism in South Africa along with being one on the list of Seven wonder cities. The architectural heritage of Durban witnesses major construction in Art-deco style with bold colors, geometric patterns, and incorporation of local motifs and narratives. 

Seven Wonder cities of the world

Havana, Cuba

Havana is the capital and the largest city of Cuba spanning over an area of 728.26 sq km. It is the third largest Havana is the capital and the largest city of Cuba spanning an area of 728.26 sq km. It is the third largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region and the most populous city in the state. The city is extended mostly on westward and southward sides of the bay which is accessed through a narrow inlet that divides it into three main harbors – Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atares. Along with being the country’s main port and leading commercial center, it is the heart of the La Habana province. 

This city, enlisted as one of the seven wonder cities, was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and got the title of capital in 1592 by Philip II of Spain. The architecture of the city is referred to as the mirror reflection of the political and cultural evolution of the city to date. It is a blend of different architectural styles that developed over time and each building is symbolic of the era it was constructed showcasing the respective architectural elements. Contemporary Havana is articulated with a blend of three different cities – Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts.

Seven Wonder cities of the world

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city of Malaysia with an estimated area of 243 sq m. 

In terms of population and economy, it is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Southeast Asia. It was the founding capital of the Federation of Malaya and its successor Malaysia, and the city remained the seat of the executive and judicial branches of the Malaysian Federal Government before these were relocated to Putrajaya in 1999. 

Kuala Lumpur is among the leading cities for tourism and shopping with housing three of the ten world’s largest shopping malls. UNESCO named this city included in the seven wonder cities to list the World Book Capital in 2020. The architecture of the city has seen rapid development in recent years with the city housing the iconic building Petronas Tower – the tallest twin building in the world. 

Seven Wonder cities of the world

La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, which is officially known as Nuestra Señora de La Paz and Chuqi Yapu in Aymara, is the executive and legislative capital of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. It is the third-most populous city in Bolivia with an estimated population of 789,541 residents. The city is located in a bowl-like depression surrounded by the high mountains of the Altiplano and is set in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu river. La Paz is the highest capital city in the world with an elevation of around 3650 meters. 

The Spanish conquistador Captain Alonso de Mendoza founded one of the seven wonder cities – La Paz, at the site of the Inca settlement of Laja on October 20, 1548, as a connecting point between the commercial routes that led from Potosi and Oruro to Lima but was later moved to its current location. The city had many buildings built in a colonial architectural style which seemed to decline in recent years due to a lack of funds for their restoration. La Paz houses several cathedrals from the Colonial era and is also an important cultural center of Bolivia. The city is known for its unique markets and vibrant nightlife.

Seven Wonder cities of the world

Vigan, Philippines

It is the capital of the province of Ilocos Sur in the Philippines and a 4th class component city located on the western coast of the large island of Luzon, facing the South China sea. It is one of the seven wonder cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site later declared as a UNESCO World Heritage city. The city is known for its cobblestone streets and is one of the few towns left in the Philippines that has kept its structure intact. The architectural style is a unique blend of Colonial European architecture with Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction techniques.

The city of Vigan was founded by Juan de Salcedo in 1572 and he aligned the urban plan of the city with Intramuros – the walled city in Manila. The basic planning pattern followed by urban planners in most of the towns dates back to the Spanish Colonial Period. This pattern was put into force in the 18th century under the Law of the Indies which stated that the streets were supposed to follow a grid pattern with a central plaza or park.

Seven Wonder cities of the world
Written by Aastha Trivedi

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