Why Angkor didn't win

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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

New 7 Wonders of the World (Angkor not included)

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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.

Angkor Wat deserves your vote!

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18 June 2007 (The Organiser) – An editorial, surprisingly from the New Delhi Organiser, urging readers to cast their vote for Angkor for inclusion into the new 7 Wonders of the World list. India has been pouring in money – including a television edvertising campaign – to cast a vote for the Taj Mahal, and it’s quite edifying to see this editorial recognisint the Indian influences in Khmer architecture.

Seven “new wonders” – Angkor Wat too deserves your vote

The most important monument of the Khmer Empire and the world’s largest sacred temple complex, Angkor is famous for its complex ornamentation and striking beauty. The temples at Angkor are spread out over 64 kms around the village of Sien Reap, about 308 kms from the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Indian television channels and websites have of late launched a campaign asking people to vote for the inclusion of the Taj Mahal as one of the seven “new wonders” of the world. With barely three weeks left for the nominations to close, hectic efforts including celebrity endorsements are on to get the most perfect jewel of Muslim art in India into the elite club through sms, internet and phone voting. Music wizard A R Rahman has even composed a theme song for the Taj to canvass support for the historic monument in Agra built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Persian born princess Arjuman Bano Begum popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal.

Notwithstanding the controversies surrounding the Taj, including claims by some Hindu groups that it was built over a temple dedicated to Goddess Yamuna and the alleged atrocities perpetrated on the workmen (whose hands were reportedly cut-off by the Emperor who did not want them to build any such grand mausoleum), the Mughal tomb remains an integral part of our composite heritage and attracts tourists from the world over, providing employment to lakhs of our countrymen and millions of dollars in foreign exchange.

And as Indians, we should also undoubtedly join this campaign to enable this enduring symbol of our country to make it to the top seven. But equally significant, both for all Indians and Hindus across the globe is the presence of the world’s largest Hindu temple, Angkor, among the 21 finalist candidates in the campaign to choose the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The most important monument of the Khmer Empire and the world’s largest sacred temple complex, Angkor is famous for its complex ornamentation and striking beauty. The temples at Angkor are spread out over 64 kms around the village of Sien Reap, about 308 kms from the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Read the full editorial about why Angkor deserves the vote.
If you haven’t done so, you should also cast your vote (for Angkor, of course!) in the New 7 Wonders website.

Books about the Angkor temples and complexes:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
Ancient Angkor (River Book Guides) by C. Jaques
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
– Angkor by T. Wiltshire
Angkor and the Khmer Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places) by M. D. Coe
Angkor: A Tour of the Monuments by T. Zephir and L. Invernizzi
The Civilization of Angkor by C. Higham
The Ancient Civilization of Angkor by C. Pym

Angkor Wat not making the cut to new 7 Wonders of the World

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14 June 2007 (CNN.com, by way of chlim01 is bored) – Voting for the new 7 Wonders of the World has been going on for a year already, but it looks like the Angkor complexes is not going to make it into the list. But voting is ongoing and it’s anybody’s race! Cast your vote (especially for Angkor) at the New 7 Wonders of the World!

New ‘Wonders’ poll enters final month of voting

The Great Wall, the Colosseum and Machu Picchu are among the leading contenders to be the new seven wonders of the world as a massive poll enters its final month with votes already cast by more than 50 million people, organizers say.

As the July 6 voting deadline approaches, the rankings can still change, the organizers say. Also in the top 10 are Greece’s Acropolis, Mexico’s Chichen Itza pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, Easter Island, Brazil’s Statue of Christ Redeemer, the Taj Mahal and Jordan’s Petra.

Also in the bottom group are 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.

Angkor shortlisted for New 7 Wonders

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21 August 2006 (Press Release) – A worldwide search to name the new 7 wonders of the world reaches its final stage, reviewsing the final 21 candidates, of which Angkor in Cambodia is one.

New7Wonders Campaign to Visit All 21 Candidates

Over the next seven months, the New7Wonders World Tour, featuring a huge hot-air balloon and a high-tech airship, will visit the 21 finalist monuments, allowing them to showcase their cultural significance. During the ceremony, an official certificate will be presented to each candidate.

In October, the World Tour visits Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle on the 4th, the Eiffel Tower on the 10th, England’s Stonehenge on the 17th and the Alhambra in Granada, Spain on the 24th, moving to the Great Wall of China in Beijing on Nov. 7, Kyoto’s Kiyomizu Temple on the 14th, the Sydney Opera House on the 21st and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat on the 28th, followed by the Taj Mahal on Dec. 5.


Related Books:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
Angkor and the Khmer Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places) by M. D. Coe
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition by D. Rooney and P. Danford
Angkor: Celestial Temples of the Khmer by J. Ortner et al
Angkor Wat: Time, Space, and Kingship by E. Mannikka