News from Around the Americas | July 2007
|The 'New' Seven Wonders of the World|
Barry Hatton - Associated Press
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Lisbon, Portugal - The Great Wall of China, Rome's Colosseum, India's Taj Mahal and three architectural marvels from Latin America were among the new seven wonders of the world chosen in a global poll released on Saturday.
|The 125-foot-tall statue of Christ the Redeemer with outstretched arms overlooks Rio de Janeiro from atop Mt. Corcovado. The statue, which weighs more than 1,000 tons, was built by Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski in pieces in France starting in 1926, then shipped to Brazil. The pieces were carried by cogwheel railway up the mountain for assembly. The statue was inaugurated in 1931. (AP)|
Jordan's Petra was the seventh winner. Peru's Machu Picchu, Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid also made the cut.
About 100 million votes were cast by the Internet and cellphone text messages, said New7Wonders, the nonprofit organization that conducted the poll.
The seven beat out 14 other nominated landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Easter Island in the Pacific, the Statue of Liberty, the Acropolis, Russia's Kremlin and Australia's Sydney Opera House.
The pyramids of Giza, the only surviving structures from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, were assured of retaining their status in addition to the new seven after indignant Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete.
The campaign to name new wonders was launched in 1999 by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber. Almost 200 nominations came in, and the list was narrowed to the 21 most-voted by the start of 2006. Organizers admit there was no foolproof way to prevent people from voting more than once for their favorite.
A Peruvian in national costume held up Macchu Picchu's award to the sky and bowed to the crowd with his hands clasped, eliciting one of the biggest cheers from the audience of 50,000 people at a soccer stadium in Portugal's capital, Lisbon.
Many jeered when the Statue of Liberty was announced as one of the candidates. Portugal was widely opposed to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Another Swiss adventurer, Bertrand Piccard, pilot of the first hot-air balloon to fly nonstop around the world, announced one of the winners - then launched into an appeal for people to combat climate change and stand up for human rights before being ushered off the stage.
The Colosseum, the Great Wall, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and Petra had been among the leading candidates since January, while the Statue of Christ Redeemer received a surge in votes more recently.
The Statue of Liberty and Australia's Sydney Opera House were near the bottom of the list from the start.
Also among the losing candidates were Cambodia's Angkor, Spain's Alhambra, Turkey's Hagia Sophia, Japan's Kiyomizu Temple, Russia's Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral, Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle, Britain's Stonehenge and Mali's Timbuktu.
Weber's Switzerland-based foundation aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments. It relies on private donations and revenue from selling broadcasting rights.
The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, keeps a list of World Heritage Sites, which now totals 851 monuments. But the agency was not involved in Weber's project.
The traditional seven wonders were concentrated in the Mediterranean and Middle East. That list was derived from lists of marvels compiled by ancient Greek observers, the best known being Antipater of Sidon, a writer in the 2nd century B.C.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria have all vanished.
On the Net: new7wonders.com
The 'New' Seven Wonders of the World
Here is the list of the seven new "wonders" of the modern world, announced after nearly 100 million people voted on the Internet or by telephone to choose between 21 sites short-listed from 77 selected by a jury.
- The Great Wall of China
Its construction started over 2,000 years ago. The longest monument in the world, it extends from the Pacific Ocean to the borders of Central Asia. The Wall was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.
- The pink ruins of Petra in Jordan
The centuries-old pink-coloured ruins of Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of the capital Amman. It comprises stunning temples and tombs carved in the rock and was the capital of Arab Nabataean nomads, who settled in the area more than 2,000 years ago, turning it into a junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
- The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro
The statue is today the symbol of all Brazil. It was inaugurated 75 years ago on Mount Corcovado after five years of work that required the building of a road and a rail line giving access to the 710 metres high Corcovado heights. It is Rio's top tourist attraction with 1.8 million visitors a year.
- The Incan ruins of Machu Picchu
The legendary temples, llama husbandry and the steep slopes of the Incas' last refuge from Spain's 16th century conquest can be seen at machupicchu360.com , which can serve as the first step in making a journey to the 2,400 metre (8,000 foot) settlement in Peru's Andes. Spain's conquistadors never found the mystical city, which was lost until US archaeologist Hiram Bingham arrived, in 1911.
- The ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico
Chichen Itza is a pre-Colombian city mingling Maya and Toltec art, built around 500 AD in the north of the Yutacan Peninsula in Mexico. Four staircases of 91 steps lead up to a platform, making 365 levels for 365 days of the year. Besides the pyramid, an astronomical observatory and the temple of warriors, going back to the conquest of the Yutacan by Toltec groups from central Mexico, are the most imposing buildings.
- The Coliseum in Rome
The Coliseum, symbol of the city of Rome, was built nearly 2,000 years ago during the first century AD during the Roman Empire. Financed by the Roman victories in Judea and the pillage of the Temple of Jerusalem, it is Rome's largest amphitheatre.
- The Taj Mahal mausoleum
The Taj Mahal was constructed in the 17th century by emperor Shan Jahan as the mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to her 14th child. The white edifice, north of the town of Agra, is by far the most visited monument in India, with nearly three million visitors a year.