LISBON, Portugal — Monuments in three Latin American countries were named among the new seven wonders of the world Saturday, July 7, 2007.
Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer, Peru's Machu Picchu, and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid were chosen alongside the Great Wall of China, Jordan's Petra, the Colosseum in Rome and India's Taj Mahal.
The sites were selected according to a tally of around 100 million votes cast by people around the world over the Internet and by cell phone text messages, the nonprofit organization that conducted the poll said.
Among the places left out were the Acropolis in Athens, Greece; the Statues of Easter Island, Chile; Cambodia's Angkor; Turkey's Hagia Sophia; and Russia's Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral.
Those major attractions were on the shortlist of 21 before the announcement of the results at a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Great Pyramids of Giza, the only surviving structures from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, kept their status in addition to the new seven.
The new architectural marvels were presented during a show which included appearances by American actress Hilary Swank, Indian actress Bipasha Basu, and British actor Ben Kingsley, as well as performances by Jennifer Lopez and Jose Carreras.
The campaign to pick the seven new wonders was begun in 1999 by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber. His Switzerland-based foundation, called New7Wonders, received almost 200 nominations from around the world. The list of candidates was narrowed down to 21 by early last year. Voting took place over the past six years, but gathered pace only in recent months.
The organizers conceded there was no foolproof way to prevent people from voting more than once for their favorite. They claimed votes came in from every country in the world.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, keeps updating its own list of World Heritage Sites, which now totals 851 places.
However, Paris-based UNESCO distanced itself from the seven wonders ballot, saying it reflected only the opinion of those who voted.
Weber aims to encourage cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments, and inspire people to value their heritage.
His foundation said it would use 50 percent of net revenue from the project to fund restoration efforts worldwide. One of them is a mission to rebuild the giant Bamiyan Buddha statue in Afghanistan, blown up in 2000 by the Taliban regime.
Weber said he was starting a new campaign Sunday to choose the new seven natural wonders of the world.
"If you want to save something, you first have to truly appreciate it," he told the crowd.
The original list of seven architectural marvels was collated by a variety of observers of the ancient Mediterranean and the Middle East.
However, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria in Egypt have all vanished.
All beautiful and interesting places, to be sure... but my vote is for the New 21 Wonders of the World!
Be sure to check out the New 7 Wonders website.