The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World once included the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse at Alexandria. Many lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled over the centuries down to the present day. These lists seek to catalogue the world’s most spectacular man-made structures.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity. In the 4th century BC the Greeks had conquered much of the Mediterranean World, so this commonly known list was based upon guidebooks that were popular among Hellenistic sightseers. It included only sites located around the Mediterranean rim and in Mesopotamia. Some scholars suggest that the list was limited to seven sites because the Greeks believed that the number seven represented perfection, as well as the five planets (all that were known at the time) plus the sun and the moon.
Time has taken its toll on these ancient sites, and only the Great Pyramid of Giza survives. Therefore in 2007 a new list was announced. It is known as the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” The campaign to identify the “new” wonders of the world was launched in 1999 by the Canadian/Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber. Almost 200 nominations were received, so obviously the list had to be narrowed. It was cut to 21, then the 21 semi-finalists were presented to the public for voting, open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Organizers of this effort readily admit that there was no foolproof way to prevent people from voting several times for their favorite site.
About 100 million votes were cast by means of the internet, text messages, and telephone according to the “New Seven Wonders of the World” PC, a nonprofit organization that conducted the poll. The seven that were selected beat out the 14 other nominated landmarks which included sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Moai of Easter Island, the Sydney Opera House, and the Acropolis.
Over the course of the next few months I will write a series of seven articles – one on each of the “New” Seven Wonders of the World. I will attempt to describe my impressions when I visited each of these sites. In today’s column I will identify these sites with a photo and a brief description as well as the date on which the article on each site will appear. This final list of the New Seven Wonders of the World does not assign a pecking order to these sites as to the relative importance of each – not even the status of “first among equals.” So the order of my articles is strictly arbitrary.