New Wonders of the World
UNESCO/ National Museum of China
Site of Xanadu, China
Xanadu was a real place north of China’s Great Wall, first described to westerners by Italian explorer Marco Polo. As the capital of Kublai Khan’s empire, Xanadu was designed to combine the Mongolian nomadic, warrior culture with the sophistication of the native Han Chinese and was planned using feng shui principles in 1256. The city’s role as a religious center helped spread Tibetan Buddhism through northeast Asia. Today, remains of temples, palaces, and tombs spread over nearly 62,000 acres.