New World Wonders announced
“The idea is we want to create seven new symbols of global unity, seven new symbols of the best that humankind has created, and using democracy to do this enables people to come together in a whole new way,” explains Tia Viering, New7Wonders spokesperson.
Around 100 million people cast their votes over the Internet and by text messages to support their favourite sites. The Pyramids of Giza – the ancient world's last standing wonder – were awarded honorary candidate status and did not take part in the competition.
The winners are the Great Wall of China – the world's longest human-made structure that stretches around 6,400 kilometres. Then comes Petra in Jordan which is a large valley famous for having a lot of stone structures carved into the rock.
The 32-meter tall statue of Christ Redeemer in Brazil also made it onto the list. Standing at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain in Rio it's not only the symbol of Christianity but also the city’s icon.
Voters also supported Machu Picchu in Peru, the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. The Chichen Itza pyramid from the Mayan civilization in Mexico, Rome's Coliseum – a giant amphitheatre used for gladiatorial contests, and theTaj Mahal – a mausoleum in India, are also among the victors.
The campaign however came under fire from the world heritage watchdog UNESCO, which refused to support it as it was unscientific. The Vatican was also disappointed that the list did not include any Catholic Cathedrals, while the Russian Orthodox Church said the selection criteria was unclear.