- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2007

LISBON — The Great Wall of China, Rome’s Colosseum and India’s Taj Mahal were among seven architectural marvels selected yesterday as the new wonders of the world. The other four winners, chosen by a global poll, were Peru’s Machu Picchu, Brazil’s Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Jordan’s Petra and Mexico’s Chichen Itza pyramid.

About 100 million votes were cast by the Internet and cell phone text messages, the nonprofit organization that conducted the poll said. The winners were announced in Lisbon.

The seven sites beat out 21 other nominated landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Easter Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Acropolis, Russia’s Kremlin and Australia’s Sydney Opera House.

The Great 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 United States’ Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House had been sitting near the bottom from the start.

Also in the less-voted group are Cambodia’s Angkor, Spain’s Alhambra, Turkey’s Hagia Sophia, Japan’s Kiyomizu Temple, the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Russia, Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, Britain’s Stonehenge and Mali’s Timbuktu.

The campaign was started in 1999 by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber. Almost 200 nominations were submitted, 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.

Mr. 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 places, but the agency was not involved in Mr. 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 at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria have all vanished.

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