Why Angkor didn't win

The last time I wrote about the new 7 wonders result, I mentioned that voting patterns were a little skewed. This article quite succintly displays why the methodology behind the “new” 7 wonders list was flawed – and like UNESCO says, irrelevant.

09 July 2007 (The Nation) – The last time I wrote about the new 7 wonders result, I mentioned that voting patterns were a little skewed. This article quite succintly displays why the methodology behind the “new” 7 wonders list was flawed – and like UNESCO says, irrelevant.

Cambodia’s Angkor beaten by Seven Wonders voting system: official

Cambodia’s magnificent Angkor Wat temple was discriminated against by the Seven Wonders contest voting system, which favoured countries with more educated and larger populations, a senior provincial official said Monday.

Chan Sophal, deputy provincial governor of Siem Reap, where the 12th century temple is located, called Angkor Wat being overlooked as a modern wonder “regretable” but said the voting system had always made it virtually impossible for a Cambodian monument to win.

The New Seven Wonders Foundation announced the list of the new seven wonders in Lisbon last Saturday after around 100 million votes were registered by internet or telephone. The new list was chosen from a short list of 21 sites selected from an original list of 77.

“The competition just wasn’t suitable for a country in Cambodia’s situation,” Sophal said by telephone. “It is a country with a very small population, most of whom know nothing about information technology or computers so they could not vote or contribute.”

Sophal said technology such as telephones, let alone computers for online voting, were almost non-existent in rural areas. Siem Reap in the country’s north is one of Cambodia’s poorest provinces and the country remains one of the poorest in the region.

The United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has already blasted the competition as irrelevant. UNESCO designated Angkor Wat a World Heritage site in 1992.

Read the full article.

Books about Angkor Wat:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition by D. Rooney and P. Danford
Angkor Wat: Time, Space, and Kingship by E. Mannikka
Angkor Wat and cultural ties with India by K. M. Srivastava

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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.

2 thoughts on “Why Angkor didn't win”

  1. In fact the world monument of Angkor Wat has the good quality to gets the place as one of the world wonder of seven. And the reason for unable to won as world Wonder is, I extremely agree with the comment of, which precisely given by Mr. Chon Sophal deputy provincial governor of seiam Reap. Yes, the Cambodia is developing country in Asia, were people are not well educated in terms of using internet, mobile, and so on. Hence people were not able to participated as such electronic competition. Besides, the population of Cambodia is smaller then other vas country. Otherwise, the Angkor could be able to get such position that the other world heritage were given.
    With love
    Amorpriya

  2. I was shocked that Ankor Wat was not one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. I am very disappointed with the final results, really.

    As far as I understand, Angkor Wat is one of the oldest, most revered and treasured cultural heritages in the world. I can only assume that Cambodia is a relatively small country and thus, owing to its status in the international arena, Angkor Wat has lost its standing as one of the new 7 wonders of the world.

    Personally, I didn’t think Christ, the redeemer could have made it. It’s not an ancient structure, although Christ was a symbol of Christianity, a prominent religion, but that’s not the point.

    I think the criteria for making it to be a wonder of the world is based on history, mysteries, mythology, science and art. I think Angkor Wat has more than fulfilled these criteria.

    Up till now, like the pyramids of Giza, it still boggles one’s mind that a magnificent structure could be constructed by human alone. There’s so much mystery surrounding these ancient structures that I am baffled by the fact that both did not make it (The pyramids did not manage to maintain its status).

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