LISBON, Portugal Monuments in three Latin American countries were named among the new seven wonders of the world.
Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer, Peru's Machu Picchu, and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid were chosen along with the Great Wall of China, Jordan's Petra, the Colosseum in Rome and India's Taj Mahal.
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 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.
Landmarks that were nominated for the contest but that did not receive enough votes to place them among the final seven were the Acropolis, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the stone statues on Chile's Easter Island, Australia's Sydney Opera House, Cambodia's Angkor, Spain's Alhambra, Turkey's Hagia Sophia, Japan's Kiyomizu Temple, Russia's Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral, Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle, Britain's Stonehenge and Mali's Timbuktu.
The new list of architectural marvels was announced during a show that 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 to 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.In addition to Egypt's Great Pyramids of Giza, the seven wonders of the world as decided by a global contest are:
GREAT WALL OF CHINAThe 4,160-mile barricade running from east to west is the longest man-made structure in the world. The fortification, which largely dates from the 7th through the 4th century B.C., was built to protect the various dynasties from invasion by the Huns, Mongols, Turks and other nomadic tribes.
PETRA, JORDANThe ancient city of Petra in southwestern Jordan, built on a terrace around the Wadi Musa or Valley of Moses, was the capital of the Arab kingdom of the Nabateans, a center of their caravan trade, and also continued to flourish under Roman rule after the Nabateans were defeated in A.D. 106. The city is famous for its water tunnels and numerous stone structures carved in the rock, the most impressive of which is probably Ad-Dayr, "the Monastery," an uncompleted tomb facade that served as a church during Byzantine times.
STATUE OF CHRIST REDEEMER, BRAZILThe 125-foot statue of Christ the Redeemer with outstretched arms overlooks Rio de Janeiro on Brazil's Atlantic coast from atop Mt. Corcovado (the "Hunchback"). Created by Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski, the statue weighing more than 1,000 tons was built in pieces in France starting in 1926 and shipped to Brazil. The pieces were carried by cogwheel railway up the 2,343-foot mountain for assembly. The statue was inaugurated on Oct. 12, 1931.
MACHU PICCHU, PERUBuilt by the Incan Empire in the 15th century, the giant walls, palaces, temples and dwellings of the Machu Picchu sanctuary are perched in the clouds at 8,000 feet above sea level on an Andean mountaintop overlooking a lush valley 310 miles southeast of Lima. It remains a mystery how the huge stones were moved into place for the construction of the remote city.
PYRAMID AT CHICHEN ITZA, MEXICOThis step pyramid surmounted by a temple survives from a sacred site that was part of one of the greatest Mayan centers of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Built according to the solar calendar, it is placed so that shadows cast at the fall and spring equinoxes are said to look like a snake crawling down the steps, similar to the carved serpent at the top. An older pyramid inside features a jade-studded, red jaguar throne.
COLOSSEUM, ITALYThe giant amphitheater in Rome was inaugurated in A.D. 80 by the Emperor Titus in a ceremony of games lasting 100 days. The 50,000-seat Colosseum, which has influenced the design of modern sports stadiums, was an arena where thousands of gladiators dueled to the death and, as tradition would have it, Christians were fed to the lions.
TAJ MAHAL, INDIAComment on this story The white marble-domed mausoleum in Agra, Uttar Pradesh state, was built by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan between 1632 and 1654 for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. The complex an outstanding example of Mughal architecture combining Indian, Persian and Islamic styles houses the graves of the emperor and his wife, as well as those of lesser Mogul royalty.
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