Friday, June 08, 2007

New Seven Wonders

Here´s a topic I´ve been wanting to write about for a while, but just haven´t gotten around to it. But with less than a month to go, I have to write about it sooner rather than later.

I´m not sure how much publicity this website has received in various countries, but a Swiss entrepreneur has set up a website to help choose the New Seven Wonders of the World. Considering only 1 (the pyramids of Egypt) of the 7 Ancient Wonders still exists, I think this is a great idea and fully support it.

The website can be accessed at either www.n7w.com or www.new7wonders.com.

In Peru, let me tell you that the publicity for this is insane. I´m not sure who´s behind the campaign, but they are very determined to have Machu Picchu named among the new 7 wonders. I´m guessing that´s so they can raise the ticket prices even more! ;) There´s a very determined campaign spread throughout the country using all types of media - posters, articles, print ads, billboards, radio ads and TV ads. A very well organized campaign.

The Swiss man in charge of the show has been travelling the world visiting the 21 finalists and we actually saw him speak when we were in Easter Island.

Here are the 21 finalists:

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
The Kremlin/St. Basil´s, Moscow, Russia
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Stonehenge, England
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
The Great Wall of China, China
Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Timbuktu, Mali
Petra, Jordan
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Easter Island Statues, Chile
Machu Picchu, Peru
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
The Statue of Liberty, New York City, USA

Karen has been to 18 of the 21 finalists (hasn´t seen Neuschwanstein, Petra or Timbuktu) and I´ve been to 16 (haven´t seen those 3 plus Kiyomizu or Kremlin), so I think we´re well placed to weigh in on the finalists.

First off, I have to say the final list of 21 sights is a bit political. The selection committee was very smart to pick at least 1 finalist from the countries with the largest populations and those countries most connected to the internet. Hence finalists like the Statue of Liberty, Christ the Redeemer, Neuschwanstein, and Sydney Opera House. I think the organizers were very keen to get at least one representative from the major countries to increase interest in the endeavor. I think it was also political, for example, why Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet is not a finalist (it was on the shortlist of 77, though). I think it was a bit too controversial to have somewhere in Tibet. I think there´s probably a few candidates in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia as well as in Iran that probably should have made the final list.

It´s also interesting to note that each culture was only entitled to one entry, so some entries actually represent an entire culture. For example, I think some of the temples in southern Egypt (e.g. around Luxor) are actually much better than the pyramids, but I think the pyramids are there to represent Egyptian culture as a whole. The same goes for Machu Picchu which is supposed to stand for all the myriad of cultures that have inhabited Peru and the surrounding areas for millenia. The Inca culture only lasted for about a century before the Spanish showed up. There were many other cultures lasting for centuries long before the Incas came on the scene.

Now, when looking at the finalists, I gave much more weight to those finalists that had an air of mystery surrounding them, especially those built by lost or mysterious civilizations. I also had a strong bias towards those things that have been around centuries and millenia rather than just merely decades. I think having permanence is a big thing.

I voted for my 7 a few months ago. Now looking at the website, I´m a bit confused (I must say that the website is not the best designed website, so it´s sometimes confusing navigating around). It now appears that the decision has been taken to make the Pyramids of Giza an automatic honorary choice and then another 7 will be chosen. Which, in my opinion, would make 8 Wonders. I think you´re no longer allowed to vote for the pyramids. It´s a bit unclear why this decision was made, but apparently it was made in conjunction with Egyptian authorities.

Having said all of this, here is my list of the top 8 choices:

Pyramids of Giza
Machu Picchu
Angkor Wat
Easter Island Statues
The Great Wall of China
Petra
Taj Mahal
Stonehenge

If you can´t vote for the Pyramids anymore, then I think the remaining 7 on my list make fine choices.

My second tier would include The Alhambra, Acropolis, Colosseum, Chichen Itza and Hagia Sophia (I think any of those could reasonably replace either the Taj Mahal and/or Stonehenge). The ones I´m not sure about either way are the Kremlin, Timbuktu, and Kiyomizu Temple. The ones I definitely wouldn´t vote for are Neuschwanstein Castle (there are many similar castles in Europe, like in Sintra, Portugal), Statue of Liberty (frankly I think Mount Rushmore is more impressive), Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House and Christ the Redeemer Statue. And no, I´m not excluding the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty or Christ the Redeemer Statue just because they were all designed and built by Frenchmen. ;)

Anyway, I highly encourage to check out the website and put in a vote. The winners will be announced on 7/7/07 (appropriately enough) in Lisbon, Portugal. That gives you less than a month to make your vote heard, so get voting!

3 Comments:

Blogger Beatrice said...

The New York Times wrote up a trip to
the Machu Picchu alternate, Coricancha. Did you go there??
What do you think - possible substitute for Peru's 7th wonder?

Mon Jun 11, 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Beatrice said...

Correction, the place is named Choquequirao, Peru. Jun 3, 2007,
article by Ethan Todras-Whitehill

Tue Jun 12, 04:42:00 AM  
Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Hello, i just surfed in searching for interesting blogs on new seven wonders of the world, you have a cool blog. Do keep up the good work. i live far from where you are and its nice to be able to see what people from across the world thinks.

Warm Regards from the Other Side of the Moon.

On a related note perhaps you might find the following links interesting. we're reviewing the best among the competing 21 participants for the new 7 wonders competition. i'll like to hear your take on the subject via comments. i'll be back soon...

The Kremlin and the Red Square
Angkor Wat
Eiffel Tower
Hagia Sophia

ps. if you have your own favourites list or if you'd like us to write about other wonders pls do mention about it in the comments.

Bibby

Kerala, India

Thu Jun 28, 04:17:00 PM  

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