The New 7 Wonders of the World was a campaign started in 2001 to choose Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments. The popularity poll via free Web-based voting and small amounts of telephone voting was led by Canadian-Swiss Bernard Weber and organized by the New 7 Wonders Foundation (N7W) based in Zurich, Switzerland, with winners announced on 7 July 2007 in Lisbon, at Estádio da Luz. The poll was considered unscientific partly because it was possible for people to cast multiple votes. According to John Zogby, founder and current President/CEO of the Utica, New York–based polling organization Zogby International, New 7 Wonders Foundation drove "the largest poll on record".
The program drew a wide range of official reactions. Some countries touted their finalist and tried to get more votes cast for it, while others downplayed or criticized the contest. After supporting the New 7 Wonders Foundation at the beginning of the campaign by providing advice on nominee selection, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), bound by its bylaws to record and give equal status to all World Heritage Sites, distanced itself from the undertaking in 2001 and again in 2007.
The 7 winners were chosen from 21 candidates, which had been whittled down from 77 choices by a panel in 2006.
The New 7 Wonders Foundation, established in 2001, relied on private donations and the sale of broadcast rights and received no public funding. After the final announcement, New 7 Wonders said it did not earn anything from the exercise and barely recovered its investment. Although N7W describes itself as a not-for-profit organization, the company behind it—the New Open World Corporation (NOWC)—is a commercial business. All licensing and sponsorship money is paid to NOWC.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, largest and oldest of the three pyramids at the Giza Necropolis in Egypt and the only surviving of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was granted honorary status.
|Giza Necropolis, Egypt||2560 BC|
|Great Wall of China||China||700 BC|
|Petra||Ma'an, Jordan||312 BC|
|Colosseum||Rome, Italy||AD 80|
|Chichén Itzá||Yucatán, Mexico||AD 600|
|Machu Picchu||Cuzco Region, Peru||AD 1450|
|Taj Mahal||Agra, India||AD 1643|
|Christ the Redeemer||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||AD 1931|
However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in a press release on June 20, 2007, reaffirmed that it has no link with the initiative. The press release concluded:
There is no comparison between Mr. Weber's mediatized campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The list of the 8 New Wonders of the World will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the Internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public.— UNESCO
In Brazil there was a campaign Vote no Cristo (Vote for the Christ) which had the support of private companies, namely telecommunications operators that stopped charging voters to make telephone calls and SMS messages to vote. Additionally, leading corporate sponsors including Banco Bradesco and Rede Globo spent millions of reals in the effort to have the statue voted into the top seven. Newsweek reports the campaign was so pervasive that:
One morning in June, Rio de Janeiro residents awoke to a beeping text message on their cell phones: "Press 4916 and vote for Christ. It's free!" The same pitch had been popping up all over the city since late January—flashing across an electronic screen every time city-dwellers swiped their transit cards on city buses and echoing on TV infomercials that featured a reality-show celebrity posing next to the city's trademark Christ the Redeemer statue.— Elizabeth Dwoskin, Newsweek
According to an article in Newsweek, around 10 million Brazilians had voted in the contest by early July. This number is estimated as the New 7 Wonders Foundation never released such details about the campaign. An airplane message, with a huge inscription "4916 VOTE FOR CHRIST" flew in Rio de Janeiro for a month.
An intensive campaign led by the Peruvian Ministry of Commerce and Tourism in Peru had a great impact in the media and consequently, Peruvian people voted massively for its national wonder. The announcement of the new World Wonders generated great expectations and the election of Machu Picchu was celebrated nationwide.
The Chilean representative for Easter Island's Moais, Alberto Hortus, said Weber gave him a letter saying that the Moais had finished eighth and were morally one of the New 7 Wonders. Hortus said he was the only participant to receive such an apology.
A campaign to publicize the Taj Mahal in India gathered speed and it reached a climax in July 2007 with news channels, radio stations, and many celebrities asking people to vote for the Taj Mahal.
The other 13 finalists, chronologically were:
|Stonehenge||Amesbury, United Kingdom||2400 BC|
|Acropolis of Athens||Athens, Greece||447 BC|
|Hagia Sophia||Istanbul, Turkey||AD 537|
|Angkor Wat||Angkor, Cambodia||AD 1113|
|Moai Statues||Easter Island, Chile||AD 1250|
|Timbuktu||Timbuktu, Mali||AD 1327|
|Alhambra||Granada, Spain||AD 1333|
|Kremlin and Red Square||Moscow, Russia||AD 1561|
|Kiyomizu-dera||Kyoto, Japan||AD 1633|
|Neuschwanstein||Füssen, Germany||AD 1869|
|Statue of Liberty||New York City, United States||AD 1886|
|Eiffel Tower||Paris, France||AD 1887|
|Sydney Opera House||Sydney, Australia||AD 1973|
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postscript was limited to one vote for seven monuments per person/identity, but multiple voting was possible through telephone.
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