A lot of people knew that coming up with a new list of “wonders” was a bad idea to begin with. Great monuments and exemplary architecture need not be compared with each other to be ranked according to beauty, relevance and durability. Doesn’t it make more sense to actually appreciate these “wonders” from a personal perspective rather than using a populist and unscientific and purely subjective method to adjudicate the merit of structures?
It seemed quite clear that the movement to name the “new seven wonders” was going to hit major potholes when Egyptian authorities asked for the Pyramids at Giza to be taken out of the short list of 21 monuments. The Egyptian officials felt that the competition puts the only remaining “ancient wonder of the world” in equal playing field against newer monuments (most notably the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House and Corcovado de Christ – all under a century old). The Pyramids were later declared as an honorary candidate in addition to the seven winners who received the most number of votes. The organizers claim that over a hundred million votes were cast. When the smoke cleared, three monuments from Latin America, three from Asia (on different regions – the Far East, Indian Subcontinent and Asia Minor) and one from Europe made the cut.
As expected, controversies ensued. According to a Portugeuse newspaper, Bernard Weber himself has expressed his disappointment over the non-inclusion of the Easter Island Moais in the winners’ circle. According to a letter sent to Alberto Hotus, Chile’s representative, the tall stone statues of Easter Island missed the cut barely finishing eighth in a field of 20 monuments. Weber also added that he felt that the Moais morally deserved to be in the list of seven.
The monument that sticks out like a sore thumb in the entire field is of course, Rio de Janeiro’s (Brazil) Christ The Redeemer. The statue is a mere 105 feet high – not quite as awe-inspiring as the other statues of the world that are more than twice this height. It’s also relatively new at 77 years old. Compare this the Statue of Liberty. The French’s gift to the Americans is more that 150 feet high and 121 years old. It’s definitely as much of as icon.
So how did this Statue make the list? Brazilian telecommunication companies apparently made voting for the statue free to ensure that it will make the top seven. Several big companies also backed the bid and contributed immensely to the campaign.
Given how subjective the criteria were – blind nationalism and fanboyism — as opposed to palpable architectural feats and historical significance; one shouldn’t be surprised if this list were to fall into infamy and obscurity in the near future.