Published July 19, 2007
(RNS) — Move over, Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Colossus of Rhodes: An international poll named a new set of Seven Wonders of the World on July 7.
The updated seven wonders represent a marked religious shift from the seven ancient marvels, which included such sites as the Statue of Zeus and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. All have disappeared except for the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt, which will maintain their status as one of the seven ancient wonders, according to the Associated Press.
UNESCO, the United Nations agency that works to “assist countries in identifying, protecting, and preserving World Heritage,” confirmed that it is not involved in the new seven wonders project. While UNESCO keeps track of world heritage sites, the vote was an effort by a private foundation created by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber.
About 100 million votes were cast worldwide, and the winners were:
1. Colosseum of Rome, Italy: Inaugurated in A.D. 80, this structure was the site of sporting events, gladiator matches, and martyrdom, in which Christians were fed to lions.
2. Great Wall of China: Built to protect China from Hun, Mongol, and Turk invasions, this 4,160-mile wall was constructed between the seventh and fourth centuries B.C. and is the only manmade structure visible from space to the naked eye.
3. Taj Mahal of Agra, India: Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan built this elaborate mausoleum beginning in 1632. Considered the crown jewel of Islamic architecture, it acts as a tomb for the emperor’s favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
4. Petra, Jordan: An ancient city carved into rock, Petra flourished between the second and sixth century A.D. The site is famous for an unfinished tomb facade that functioned as a Byzantine church.
5. Christ the Redeemer Statue of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Completed in 1931, this 125-foot-tall statue with outstretched arms is perched atop Mount Corcovado.
6. Machu Picchu, Peru: This remote sanctuary in the Andes mountains includes palaces, walls, and temples constructed of giant stones. It was built in the 15th century by the Incan Empire.
7. Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico: Another sacred site, this Mayan step-pyramid is topped by a temple that bears carvings for a rain and serpent god. A Mayan community thrived in the area between about A.D. 700 and 900.
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