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Life - Style Updated: November 23, 2023

Seven amazing alternative cultural wonders of the world

By Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi
November 23, 2023
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The traditional "wonders of the world" are well known to us. 

These are the locations that are frequently featured on postcards and travel guides. 

Locations such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer in Rio, the Met or Buckingham Palace, or Venice's St. Mark's Square. 

There's no doubt that these locations are fantastic, astounding, and eye-opening for first-timers, but aren't they also a little stale?  

Instead of traipsing the tourist trail, you might want to visit somewhere a little less crowded.

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Somewhere distinct. Somewhere strange. But there's somewhere that's just as remarkable, albeit in a strange, empty way. 

In light of this, we decided to compile our list of seven top alternative cultural marvels in the world using input from specialists from some of the most prestigious cultural organizations in the world. 

 

1. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi

This is the largest Sikh temple in Delhi. The architecture is traditional Sikh, and there's a vast water tank, similar to the one around Amritsar's Golden Temple, that's nice for an evening stroll. 

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If possible, go during midday, when the Langar rite is done, thus providing free lunch to everybody who shows up. 

The museum that occupies the basement space is the most interesting aspect of Bangla Sahib. 

This is a pictorial exhibition, recounted through a series of large-format paintings ranging from socialist realism to impressionism, teaching tourists the history of the Sikh religion and, in particular, the biographies of the 10 gurus who founded the faith.

 

2. District Six and District Six Museum, Cape Town

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This inner-city Cape Town neighbourhood is rich in culture and legacy and also serves as a reminder of the consequences of apartheid South Africa's forced removals. 

It began as a community of emancipated slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers, and travellers in 1867. 

At the District Six Museum, a cornerstone of social justice consciousness and community-led memorialisation and commemoration, visitors may learn more about the area's rich and diverse history, as well as the tenacity of its people.

 

3. Seonyudo Park, Seoul

Seonyudo Park was a small mountain top in the centre of the Hangang River that was popular among painters and poets due to its beautiful view. 

The peak, however, lost its natural appearance during the Japanese colonial period and was used as a water purification facility to deliver tap water to the southwestern area of Seoul from 1978 to 2000. 

Architect Jo Seung Ryong later restored the summit as an ecological park. 

Seonyudo Park, which opened to the public in 2002, features a glasshouse with diverse fauna and concrete tanks left over from the plant that now forms small ponds for lotus leaves and other vegetation. 

 

4. Palacio de Cristal, Madrid

The Palacio de Cristal, a magnificent 1887 structure that functioned as a great showcase of tropical plants during an exposition that same year, stands in the centre of the picturesque El Retiro Park. 

It is currently an outpost of Madrid's Reina Sofa Museum and shows free temporary exhibitions throughout the year. 

It was designed by architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco and was inspired by the Crystal Palace in London. 

The scene, surrounded by chestnut trees and calmed by the murmur of the fountains of the artificial lake next to it, could not be more charming. Small friezes by ceramicist Daniel Zuloaga can be seen if you look closely at the walls. 

 


5. Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

Sir John Soane's London home is overrun with corpses (dead things). And we mean, completely. 

The architect, who designed the Bank of England, Dulwich Picture Gallery, and many other significant commissions, turned his own home into a strange and delirious living museum of the dead, complete with a sepulchral chamber' in the cellar, a sarcophagus, statues of the dead, and paintings of ruins. 

It isn't morbid, dark, or gothic. It's a dream space with an exquisite blend of light and shade, colour and blackness.

 

6. Teatro Malibran, Venice

Teatro Malibran is an opera venue that first opened its doors in 1678. 

It quickly became recognized as 'the city's largest, most beautiful, and richest theatre,' and it rose to popularity throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

However, this was a brief period, with opera infrequently performed there between 1751 and 1800. 

When legendary singer Maria Malibran arrived to perform there on April 8, 1835, she was visibly dissatisfied with the plight of the once-grand theatre and gave money to help rebuild it. 

It's now hidden in plain sight, just near the Rialto Bridge.

 

7. Elorrio, Basque Country

Elorrio, about 40 minutes by vehicle from Bilbao, is one of Bizkaia's most attractive old towns. 

Wander through its streets and you'll be transported back in time, past beautiful palaces and manors from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such as Palacio Zearsolo 'Casa Jara' and the Baroque Tola Palace, as well as the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which began construction in the fifteenth century. 

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Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi

Rasheed is a Prolific Content Writer who also has a niche in all Genres of Literature, Academic Pape...

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