This updated list was the result of a global contest that started with 200 existing monuments. Over 100 million votes were cast. The Pyramids of Giza were later granted honorary status. Of course, I took offense with this list upon its announcement. While I love Christ The Redeemer and its incredible setting overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the statue is less than 100 years old. And in clear conscience I cannot place it in the same category as the ancient stone carvings of Petra.
Chichen Itza is a pre-Columbian civilization that dates back 1000 years in Mexico. While Chichen Itza is an expansive and well-preserved monument it does not move me in the same way as the Temples of Bagan in Myanmar or Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Neither of those sites made the list.
7 Off The Beaten Path Wonders Of The World
With that said, I thought I would wander into this travel list minefield with my own list. It is the list of 7 Off The Beaten Path Wonders Of The World. Lists are always very subjective. And how do you define off-the-beaten-path? In short, I know it, when I see it. I would argue that the Taj Mahal is known literally to billions of people and this magnificent monument is visited by millions. The Great Mosque of Djenne (which is listed below) literally might receive zero foreign visitors on any given day. This to me is off-the-beaten-path destination.
These are wonders that are not well-known or visited but deserve to be. Of course, this is only my opinion and experiences. I have created this list after visiting over 140 countries and have personally been to all of these monuments. Let the debate begin!
Great Mosque of Djenné
The Great Mosque is located in the sleepy, isolated town of Djenne in Mali. Mali despite its rich history and culture is not a tourist hotspot due to instability and violence. The Great Mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates to 1907 and is considered to be the largest mud structure in the world. Multiple mosques have stood at this location dating all the way back to the 13th century.
Half the adventure is getting here. I left at sunrise from Bobo-Dioulasso in neighboring Burkina Faso and arrived in Djenne a bit before sunset. The car slid off the ferry, and I drove into this ancient mud-baked walled city. The card roads wheeled trough the deep sanded roads and then I stood in front of the Grand Mosque in gratifying solitude.