LEGO® is not just a toy but a tool for expressing creativity, cultivating imagination, and learning about the world. When hands and minds work together to click those bricks into place, it sparks an exploration into realms of creativity, pushing the boundaries of imagination. LEGO® sets can embody everything from simple homes and cities to complex robots, architectural masterpieces, and far-off galaxies.
They can even recreate the greatest wonders of the world, and this capability is what makes LEGO® an important educational tool. It allows children and adults to explore concepts in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in a fun, engaging, and hands-on way.
In this article, we delve into a unique intersection of LEGO® and science by exploring a special series of LEGO® sets designed for science enthusiasts. These sets bring to life some of the most iconic architectural wonders of the world, allowing individuals to understand the grandeur and intricacy of these global marvels.
We’ll explore the criteria that qualify a monument or natural feature to be a “wonder of the world,” take a look back at the awe-inspiring wonders of the ancient world, journey through the stunning wonders of the modern world, and then see how LEGO® has beautifully encapsulated these wonders in their sets.
So whether you are a science enthusiast, a lover of history and architecture, or simply a LEGO® fan, join us on this exploration of the wonders of the world through the lens of LEGO®.
Qualifications for Something to Be a Wonder of the World
The concept of the “Wonders of the World” is rooted in human fascination with the extraordinary. It encapsulates those rare monuments, natural features, and structures that stand out due to their sheer scale, beauty, architectural innovation, or cultural significance. These are the marvels that have, across ages, captured the collective imagination of mankind and have spurred people to travel vast distances just to witness their grandeur.
Designating a place or structure as a “Wonder” is not arbitrary. While no official international body decides on these, a series of well-accepted criteria have emerged over the centuries. The following are often considered key qualifications for something to be a Wonder of the World:
1. Unique, Distinctive, or Pioneering Architecture or Engineering Achievement
The structure or place should showcase an extraordinary or pioneering feat of architecture or engineering. This could be in terms of the techniques used, the scale of the project, or the innovation it represents for the period in which it was constructed.
2. Outstanding Beauty, Size, or Magnificence
A Wonder of the World often possesses an aesthetic quality that sets it apart. It may be grand in scale or display an exceptional level of beauty or magnificence.
3. Historical or Cultural Significance
Many of the Wonders of the World have deep-seated cultural, historical, or symbolic significance. They often reflect the civilizations that created them, telling stories of their beliefs, values, achievements, or aspirations.
4. Global Recognition or Influence
A Wonder typically enjoys wide recognition and is known across the globe. It may have influenced or inspired other architectural works and is generally considered an iconic symbol of human achievement.
5. Ability to Inspire Awe and Wonder
Perhaps the most crucial and abstract criteria of all is the structure’s ability to inspire a sense of awe and wonder in those who witness it. This could stem from its grandeur, intricacy, historical significance, or even the mystery that surrounds it.
It’s important to note that these qualifications aren’t necessarily absolute or universally agreed upon. They are generally accepted principles that help guide our understanding and appreciation of what constitutes a “Wonder of the World.”
Wonders of the Ancient World and Brief History
1. The Great Pyramid of Giza
This colossal structure, built around 2580-2560 BC, stands as the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence today. The pyramid was constructed as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops). The pyramid, reaching a height of about 481 feet, took approximately 20 years to construct and is a testament to the ancient Egyptians’ impressive architectural and engineering skills.
2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
According to ancient accounts, these were a stunning ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. It is believed to have been constructed by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife around 600 BC.
The gardens, supposedly located in present-day Iraq, required an advanced irrigation system to keep the arid desert environment lush and green. Despite their legendary status, whether these gardens ever existed or their exact location remains a mystery.
3. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
This enormous seated statue of the Greek god Zeus was erected around 435 BC in the Sanctuary of Olympia. Made by the renowned ancient Greek sculptor Phidias, it was considered a masterpiece of its time, crafted with ivory and gold. The statue, which depicted Zeus on his throne, was approximately 40 feet tall.
4. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis, located in present-day Turkey, was a magnificent structure dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis. Completed around 550 BC, it was renowned for its grandeur and architectural beauty. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times over centuries. Its final destruction came in 401 AD, and only foundations and sculptural fragments of the temple remain today.
5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
This monumental tomb was built around 350 BC in Halicarnassus, present-day Bodrum, Turkey, for Mausolus, a Persian satrap. The structure was such an architectural achievement that the term “mausoleum” is now used worldwide to describe grand tombs.
6. Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was a massive statue of the sun god Helios, constructed on the Greek island of Rhodes around 280 BC. This bronze statue was considered one of the tallest statues of the ancient world, standing at approximately 110 feet high. However, it stood for only 56 years before it was toppled by an earthquake.
7. Lighthouse of Alexandria
Constructed around 280 BC on the island of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt, this lighthouse served as a beacon for sailors navigating the city’s busy harbor. At an estimated height of 330 feet, it was one of the tallest man-made structures for many centuries. The lighthouse was damaged by several earthquakes and eventually disappeared. Its exact likeness and structure remain something of a mystery.
Wonders of the Modern World and Brief Description and History
1. Great Wall of China
This iconic landmark stretches over 13,000 miles, making it the world’s longest wall and biggest ancient architecture. It was constructed in various stages from the 3rd century BC to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) to protect the Chinese empire from invasions, particularly from nomadic tribes from the north. This grand fortification exhibits the strategic military defense system of ancient China, and it’s a testament to human resilience and architectural grandeur.
2. Petra, Jordan
Often referred to as the ‘Rose City’ due to its color, Petra is an archaeological city known for its intricate rock-cut architecture and ingenious water conduit system. The Nabataeans, an ancient Arab civilization, carved this city into the sandstone cliffs around the 6th century BC. Its most famous structure is Al-Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style facade known as The Treasury.
3. Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro, the statue of Christ the Redeemer stands tall at the peak of the 700-meter-high Corcovado mountain. Created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, it was unveiled in 1931. This Art Deco statue, reaching a height of 30 meters with its arms stretching 28 meters wide, has become an icon of Brazil and symbolizes peace.
4. Machu Picchu, Peru
Perched high in the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel dating back to the 15th century. This awe-inspiring site was built under the reign of the Incan emperor Pachacuti but was abandoned a century later during the Spanish Conquest. Known for its sophisticated dry-stone walls and fascinating structures that align with astronomical events, Machu Picchu is a significant cultural site and an emblem of the Incan civilization.
5. Chichen Itza, Mexico
This complex of Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic period (around 600 AD) through the Terminal Classic (800–900 AD) and into the early portion of the Early Postclassic period (900–1200 AD). The site includes a rich variety of architectural styles, and the stepped pyramids, temples, columned arcades, and other stone structures of Chichen Itza are known for their distinctive Puuc design and their impressive geometric and symbolic motifs.
6. The Roman Colosseum, Italy
Also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum is a testament to the grandeur of the Roman Empire. Constructed under the rule of Emperor Vespasian in around 70-80 AD, it was the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire and is considered an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. Used for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, and dramas, it remains a prominent landmark of Rome.
7. Taj Mahal, India
This spectacular mausoleum, built between 1631 and 1648 in Agra, is an enduring symbol of love. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned it in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The white marble structure is a jewel of Muslim art in India, integrating Persian, Islamic, Turkish, and Indian architectural styles. Its symmetric design, intricate carvings, and stunning garden layout make it one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
These New 7 Wonders of the World represent the diversity of global cultural heritage and stand as remarkable feats of human endeavor, each with their unique history and significance.
LEGO® Sets Related to the Wonders of the World
LEGO® has created a wonderful world of bricks that allows enthusiasts to explore iconic landmarks and structures from the comfort of their homes. Several LEGO® sets correspond to the wonders of the world, allowing builders to recreate and marvel at the architectural ingenuity of these famous sites.
1. LEGO® Great Wall of China (21041)
Set Number: 21041
Theme: LEGO® Architecture
Year Released: 2018
No. Pieces: 551
This set is a part of the LEGO® Architecture Skyline Collection and enables LEGO® enthusiasts to recreate the impressive Great Wall of China. The model features a winding wall on a lush green landscape with two turrets. Collectors can marvel at the model’s accuracy as it showcases the vastness and undulating structure of the Great Wall. It makes an excellent addition to a LEGO® Architecture collection or any setup celebrating global landmarks.
2. LEGO® Roman Colosseum (10276)
Set Number: 10276
Theme: LEGO® Creator Expert
Year Released: 2020
No. Pieces: 9036
This set holds the record as the largest LEGO® set to date. It reproduces the Roman Colosseum’s iconic elliptical structure with an incredible level of detail, including the surviving parts and the ruined sections. Collectors can appreciate the ingenious construction methods that mimic the real-life techniques used in the Colosseum’s creation.
3. LEGO® Taj Mahal (10256)
Set Number: 10256
Theme: LEGO® Creator Expert
Year Released: 2017 (Re-release)
No. Pieces: 5923
This set offers an intricate and faithful reproduction of the majestic Taj Mahal, featuring the dome, minarets, and other architectural details. This LEGO® rendition of one of the world’s most beautiful buildings can provide an immersive building experience for collectors while creating a standout model for their collection.
4. LEGO® Statue of Liberty (21042)
Set Number: 21042
Theme: LEGO® Architecture
Year Released: 2018
No. Pieces: 1685
This set allows builders to recreate the symbolic Statue of Liberty with a detailed pedestal, lady liberty’s robe, and iconic crown. It’s a richly rewarding build that brings to life the grandeur of this universal symbol of freedom, making it an excellent addition to a LEGO® collection.
5. LEGO® The White House (21054)
Set Number: 21054
Theme: LEGO® Architecture
Year Released: 2020
No. Pieces: 1483
This set captures the neoclassical design of The White House. It includes the Executive Residence, the West Wing, the East Wing, and the surrounding gardens. An excellent addition to any LEGO® collection, the set encapsulates this iconic structure’s architectural significance and historical relevance.
The Role of LEGO® MOCs in Unique Collections
LEGO® MOCs, or “My Own Creations,” are custom designs made by LEGO® enthusiasts using standard LEGO® bricks. These designs are not official LEGO® products but offer a unique and creative twist to the standard sets. Here’s how LEGO® MOCs can help collectors have a unique LEGO® set:
LEGO® MOCs allow builders to create and own something truly one-of-a-kind. These sets are designed by individual LEGO® enthusiasts around the world and are not mass-produced, providing a unique piece for your collection.
2. Creativity and Skill Enhancement
Building a MOC can help builders refine their skills, as these designs often include unique building techniques not found in official sets. This encourages builders to think outside the box and approach LEGO® construction in new ways.
3. Wide Range of Themes
MOCs cover a broad range of themes that official LEGO® sets might not touch upon, including lesser-known architectural wonders, historical events, pop culture references, and more. This allows collectors to broaden their LEGO® landscape beyond what’s commercially available.
With MOCs, builders have the liberty to modify and customize the designs according to their preferences. They can add, remove, or change elements, enabling a truly personalized LEGO® building experience.
5. Community Engagement
MOCs offer a great way to engage with the wider LEGO® community. Builders can share their own designs, gain inspiration from others, and even participate in challenges and competitions.
6. Support for Independent Designers
Purchasing instructions for MOCs, which are often available for a small fee, support independent designers who spend countless hours designing these unique creations.
In summary, LEGO® MOCs offer a unique dimension to LEGO® building and collecting. They provide an opportunity to own and build something different and personally meaningful, enhancing the diversity and uniqueness of your LEGO® collection.
Where can You purchase LEGO® sets and MOCs related to the wonders of the world?
Official LEGO® sets can be purchased from LEGO®’s website, LEGO® stores, and various online and physical retailers. As for the MOCs, you can find instructions here.
What is the price range of sets?
The price of LEGO® sets can vary greatly based on the number of pieces, complexity, and rarity of the set. Smaller sets can be affordable, while larger and more complex sets can be expensive. Custom MOCs typically require the purchase of instructions and possibly bricks if you don’t already have them, which can also vary in price.
Are LEGO® sets suitable for children?
LEGO® sets come with an age recommendation, which is a guideline for the build’s complexity and the theme’s appropriateness. Some of the sets related to the wonders of the world, like the LEGO® Creator Expert sets, are quite complex and are recommended for older builders (usually 16+). However, LEGO® also offers sets with less complexity suitable for younger ages.
How long does it take to assemble LEGO® sets?
Assembly time can vary greatly depending on the number of pieces in the set and the builder’s experience with LEGO®. A small set may take a few hours to assemble, while a larger one could take several days or weeks. The enjoyment of building is a big part of the LEGO® experience, so there’s no need to rush!
Can you design my own LEGO® model of a wonder of the world?
Absolutely! Many LEGO® enthusiasts enjoy designing their own models, and resources like LEGO® Digital Designer can help. If you’re creating a MOC (My Own Creation), you can use any LEGO® bricks you own, and you’re limited only by your imagination and your supply of bricks.
What if You can’t find a specific LEGO® set, or it’s too expensive?
If an official LEGO® set is retired or too expensive, you might consider looking for a custom MOC design. Many LEGO® enthusiasts design their own versions of famous landmarks and sell the instructions at a fraction of the cost of official sets. You’ll need to supply your own bricks, but this can be a more affordable way to build a model of your favorite wonder of the world.
Exploring the wonders of the world through LEGO® sets not only offers an engaging and enjoyable building experience but also provides a unique educational journey. From the ancient charm of the Pyramids of Giza to the awe-inspiring majesty of the Great Wall of China, these sets offer insights into our world’s architectural and historical marvels. They cultivate an appreciation for human ingenuity and the richness of global cultures and histories.
LEGO® sets, and MOCs related to the wonders of the world also open up new avenues for creativity and originality. They inspire us to marvel at these magnificent structures and stimulate our curiosity about their origin and significance. They remind us of our shared human heritage and the sense of wonder that drives us to explore, learn, and create.
Belle-Ve Bricks for Custom LEGO® MOCs
If the world’s wonders inspire you and you want to expand your LEGO® universe beyond the official sets, Belle-Ve Bricks offers a bespoke service for custom LEGO® MOCs. Belle-Ve Bricks is known for its attention to detail and commitment to creating designs that resonate with the unique interests and passions of its clients.
Whether you dream of recreating the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, envision a model of the Lost City of Atlantis, or wish to construct a lesser-known architectural marvel, Belle-Ve Bricks can help bring your ideas to life in vibrant, brick-built form.
Visit Belle-Ve Bricks’ website or contact them directly to explore their offerings, discuss your ideas, and embark on a custom creation journey. Remember, with LEGO®, the only limit is your imagination. So, go ahead and dream big. Happy building!