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Seven Wonders Are Not A Beauty Contest

People around the world recently voted the new Seven Wonders of the World being the Great Wall of China, India’s Taj Mahal, the centuries-old ruins of Petra in Jordan, Petra’s Machu Picchu, Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer, Mexico’s Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and the Colosseum of Rome, but the Acropolis did not make it in the final seven.

One hundred million votes were cast for the private initiative worldwide by Internet or phone ahead of the huge ceremony in Portugal.

In defense of the outcome of the vote Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said: “Monuments do not have to parade on a podium like in a beauty contest.” He questioned the value of the ballot and asserted that it “has nothing to do with the true value of monuments.”

Among the places left out besides the Acropolis were the Statues of Easter Island, Chile, Cambodia’s Angkor, Turkey’s Hagia Sophia, Russia’s Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Those major attractions were on the shortlist of 21 before the announcement of the results at a ceremony. Ultimately, only one European site, the Colosseum, was picked in the final seven.

The list of the new seven wonders was the result of a private undertaking and reflects only the opinions of those with access to the internet and not the entire world. It is in no way affiliated with UNESCO’s World Heritage program which aims to protect world heritage sites and according to the organization this initiative cannot “in any significant and sustainable manner contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public.”

Separately, Mr. Voulgarakis announced the renewal of plans to combat the multi-million dollar international trade in stolen and fake antiquities. Government legislation is anticipated shortly to ensure archeologists and the police work closer together to combat the illegal trade.

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