new 7 wonders — popular choice

Posted on July 7, 2007

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China’s Great Wall, Rome’s Colosseum and Peru’s Machu Picchu were the top choices of around 100 million global votes cast in a contest to decide which landmarks worldwide are worthy of being anointed the title of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”.

The world’s most famous ode of love by a Mogul emperor to his wife, India’s Taj Mahal; Brazil’s Statue of Christ Redeemer that looms over Rio de Janeiro; Jordan’s ancient city Petra in the desert and Mexico’s Chichen Itza pyramid complete the lineup of the other architectural marvels emerging tops in the global contest. 20 sites in total were the finalists from which the top seven were chosen.

The winners were announced today in Portugal, which didn’t have any of its landmarks in the running, after the campaign was launched by the private organization New7Wonders Foundation in 1999. Beginning last year, people were encouraged to have a say in the naming of the new seven wonders either online or by phone. The contest ended at midnight yesterday.

Some countries have taken the contest seriously, such as Jordan, which lobbied hard for votes for Petra, going as far as to select a beauty queen, Miss Petra, as its mascot. Its hard work seems to have paid off.

Egypt’s Great Pyramids of Giza is the only structure that still exists today from the list of original seven wonders of the world, which counted the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus amongst the list. The list was first established by Greek scholars, the most notable being Antipater of Sidon in the 2th century B.C.

Given its venerable status, the Egyptian pyramids were exempt from the contest and were made an honorary new seven wonders member. But that was only after Egyptian officials complained of the “insult” to the pyramids to have to compete in the contest.

Other controversies the contest had stirred up included disapproval from UNESCO, which isn’t endorsing it, and critics that say the contest is gimmicky and profit-oriented.

But all that certainly hadn’t stopped around 100 million people from participating and countries from campaigning for their nominated sites, culminating in the results today.

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