August 01, 2007

The New Seven Wonders of the World?

Over 100 million people from 200 countries responded to the call by the not-for-profit New7Wonders Foundation to vote on the extant manmade buildings and monuments they felt most deserved the label "Wonder of the World." The results were tallied, and the "New 7 Wonders of the World" were announced at a fete in Lisbon in July.

Of 21 New 7 Wonders finalists, the sites below made the cut. I've seen them all and list them here in completely subjective descending order of amazingness:

Petra, Jordan (photo)
Machu Picchu, Peru
Great Wall, China
Taj Mahal, India
Colosseum, Italy
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

The only one of these that leaves me scratching my head is the Christ the Redeemer statue. Yes, it's immense and impressive, and its physical setting atop Corcovado peak overlooking Rio de Janeiro is spellbinding.

But it's a big statue. That it beat out intricate, sublime, timeless stone creations like finalists
Angkor Wat, the Acropolis, and Istanbul's Hagia Sophia has me wondering whether the Rio tourist office cooked up a contest to get as many Cariocas as possible to stuff New7Wonders' virtual and digital nomination boxes, perhaps offering prized seats in the grandstands that line Rio's Carnival parade route to citizens submitting the most votes for the hometown landmark. How else to explain it edging out wonders like the Pyramids of Giza?

Christ the Redeemer is very, very nice, but it ain't no Stonehenge, another finalist.

The other six "new" wonders? They, indeed, belong on everyone's life list. Pack a bag and go.