New 7 Wonders of the World (Angkor not included)

09 July 2007 (AFP, by way of the New Straits Times) – So the names of the “new” 7 wonders of the world were released over the weekend, with Angkor Wat not making it to the list. It’s a pity, but I’m not too unfazed by it. Voting patterns (geographic distribution, access to technology) surely skewed the results and the final list perhaps tells us more about the world that voted for the “new” 7 wonders more than the merit of the wonders themselves.

UNESCO slams seven ‘new’ wonders of the world list

The UN body for culture on Sunday blasted a private initiative that drew nearly 100 million Internet and telephone voters to choose seven “new” wonders of the world.
“This campaign responds to other criteria and objectives than that of UNESCO in the field of heritage,” said Sue Williams, the spokeswoman for UNESCO, the UN cultural body that designates world heritage sites.

“We have a much broader vision,” she told AFP.

Voters chose the Great Wall of China; India’s Taj Mahal; the centuries-old pink ruins of Petra in Jordan; the Colosseum in Rome; the statue of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro; the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru; and the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico.

Christian Manhart, UNESCO’s press officer, criticised the ballot, saying it sent out a “negative message to countries whose sites have not been retained.”

“All of these wonders obviously deserve a place on the list, but what disturbs us is that the list is limited to just seven,” he said, pointing out that “seven were adequate in Antiquity because the Antique world was much smaller than today,” only comprising the area surrounding the Mediterranean.

Read more about UNESCO’s criticism to the New 7 Wonders list.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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