With the world at a standstill due to Covid-19, virtual tours are proving invaluable to isolated globetrotters. From the Great Wall of China to the Taj Mahal, here’s how you can visit the New Seven Wonders of the World without even leaving your armchair.
A winding, ancient fortification system that spans over 21,000 kilometres (13,000 miles), the Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world and China’s most-visited landmark. Travel agency The China Guide has created an immersive tour that allows visitors to take a virtual hike along certain sections of the wall, including a particularly breathtaking panorama of the hills between Jinshanling and Simatai at golden hour. The best part? No crowds!
The Italian capital’s free-standing stone amphitheatre is an enduring symbol of the power and wealth of Ancient Rome. In its heyday, up to 50,000 spectators would pack into the Colosseum to watch gladiators, animal fights and recreations of navy battles. In lieu of visiting the Colosseum in real life, explore centuries of history from your armchair with this hour-long walking tour, filmed in 4K for an immersive experience. Alternatively, AirPano’s collection of 360-degree panoramas give you a sense of the stadium’s magnitude.
An ancient Nabatean city carved into the pink cliffs of southern Jordan, Petra – or the Rose City, as it’s often called – is one of the world’s most breathtaking archaeological wonders. This audio-led 3D tour from Google Maps guides you all the way from the tombs and caves at Bab Al Siq, the gateway to the city, to the temple of Al-Khazneh and the Street of Facades.
Every day, hundreds hike the Inca Trail in Peru to reach Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca citadel in the Andes Mountains. Virtual tour site YouVisit offers a 3D guide through the painstakingly built dry-stone city, taking in sweeping views over the Sacred Valley and accompanied by informative audio clips to give explorers an insight into the Inca Empire.
The Taj Mahal is considered the world’s most beautiful building, and certainly the most elaborate memorial ever made to a wife. A masterpiece of Mughal architecture, fronted by immaculate gardens and flanked by white minarets, the ivory mausoleum is visited by millions of tourists every year. Make your way through the crowds using Google Street View, where you can virtually stroll along the reflecting pool and take in the marble masterpiece from the comfort of your own living room.
Christ the Redeemer needs no introduction. Standing tall on Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, the 30-metre-high (98-foot), 28-metre-wide (92-foot) statue of Jesus Christ was constructed in the early half of the 20th century. The gigantic monument is now visited by nearly 2 million people a year. AirPano captures aerial, back and side views of Brazil’s most famous monument, taking in epic panoramas of the city and the mountains at different times of day. The sunrise over Sugarloaf Mountain and Rio’s sparkling night-time cityscape are particularly wonderful shots.
Concluding our list is Chichén Itzá, a complex of Maya ruins in the Mexican state of Yucatán. During the Terminal Classic period, Chichén Itzá was a busy settlement and the centre of economic and religious life for the Maya. Today, the collection of temples and pyramids attract 1.2 million tourists a year. Stockholm360 offers seven panoramas of the ancient city, accompanied by text describing the history and archaeological details of each site.