THE NEW 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD MONUMENTS
By Ric Polansky ©
IS JUST ANOTHER POPULAR LIST!
With the turn of the millennium certain ancient facts had to be eradicated to accommodate modern thinking patterns. Why allow a limited list, selected by a few antiquated wise men to remain as "world wonders" when almost all of them have vanished? Modern wisdom dictated that the situation be reviewed and new and popular choices be made to accommodate and enshrine our nuclear age with new wonders elected by common vote!
So it was to pass that on the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year an unpretentious polyglot of pollstersí pronounced Seven New wonders for all mankind to behold and cherish. Voting was by phone or internet and summed to more than 110 million votes. The televised show from Portugal was seen by no less than 1.6 billion people in 170 different countries. World marvels are important to somebody.
The original list drawn up by a few limited savants back in approx 250 BC (stone, bronze and iron age) was in fact already in error omitting such mind boggling constructions as Jerico, (already buried under four layers of other towns), Luxor, underneath the timeís sands, Solomonís temple (in shambles) were omitted. The ancient list was what a handful of erudites had either seen personally or derived from hearsay. Grabbed by scholars in the 1860ís the list became the definitive guide to the ancients, their buildings, id ergo, their thoughts and past; in truth, limited by the listing. Later years when Romeís early historians penned their notes of conquered folk the Roman world wonders seem to number in the seventies.
Understandably only a few educated men today could name the former wonders other than the pyramids at Giza. All the others had vanished. The rest were the Pharaohs lighthouse at Alexandria, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Colossus at Rhodes, the hanging gardens of Babylon and the mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
Popular vote has now declared: the great wall of China, Chitzen Itza in Mexico, Machu Picchu in the mountains of Peru, Brazilís statue of Christ the Redeemer, Jordonís Petra, Indiaís Taj Mahal and Romeís Coliseum.
The Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber cleverly staged the whole contest in Lisbon, Portugal. This will not be the first as next year on 8-8-8 will be the pronouncement of the 7 wonders of the natural world. Although the selecting committee havenít announced it, I would hope they keep on rolling and nominate the 7 most wonderful cities in the world (Venice, Hong Kong, Cuzco, and Mason City, Iowa, to name a few hot spots). Nine of the ninth of 09 should be the top seven most popular events to attend, il palio in Siena, Italy; Wimbledon tennis in England, Kentucky Derby in the US and so it should go on and on until 100 lists have been completed that we can tick off and show to others to counter prove we have existed, been there Ö done that!
This new wonders list is not a very good one. In fact, itís an embarrassment to anyone who has read extensively, traveled far, or gave the matter the slightest bit of contemplation. But as the dictum goes, "a camel is a horse designed by a committee." So goes this list and probably any other one elected by popular demand. The top SEVEN are simply the most easily recognizable by the masses. Nevertheless, I am willing to bet dollars against donuts that now that the list is here, if the vote were taken again Ö it would be totally different! It just isnít exotic enough.
South America, a place I am totally familiar with comes in with three entries out of seven, almost half the worldís marvels. All three selected are totally questionable. Chan Chanís ruins in the north of Peru and the nearby Lambygue culture have much more to offer for true historical value; or even the Moche pyramids near-by. Easily recognizable Machu Picchu historically contributed little to any knowledge of anything, other than when excavated yielded 106 skeletons of which 98 of them were women leaving one to suspect that possibly the place was a convent hidden from the Indigenous peoples and rarely if ever visited by even the Inca.
The favorable ballot for the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio must have been an overt Christian vote or a covert one for bikinis. It wasnít erected until 1931 and took nothing to do, only five years of construction and a railroad built to assist the meager 125 feet high erection WHERE AS the Valle de los Caidos near Madrid where a huge cross waves in the breeze above Generalisimo Francoís tomb is "guesstimated" (actual records are hidden) that more than a million civil of war criminals labored for 18 years to create the basilica and largest memorial cross in the world, a 152.4-metre-high magnificent construction of stone. Some note worth historians estimate that more man hours went into Francoís tomb carved from sheer stone than in building the pyramids!
I love Chicken Pizza (as the Yankee visitors call it) when they rattle on down from CanCun for a climb but of the wonders of Mexico by far Teotihuacan near Mexico City is much more exciting and thought provocative. Remember, the main pyramid of the sun encompasses the same EXACT measurements as that of Cheops in Egypt. And all the buildings are aligned some 15.5 degrees off of what we know as north today, most likely alluding to their design being greatly more premature than their two thousand years most likely before crust displacement.
If I havenít made my point what about those NOT selected. Stonehenge is truly one of the great monuments celebrating enigmatic, calculating persevering man. And Egyptís Karnac temples should never have been neglected from the initial catalogue, let alone left off the second just because of old age. And, what about the entire mind boggling metropolis of Angkor Watt? Whatís that you say? No Alhambra? Surely a visit thru the Granadaís pristine masterpiece must be hours more rewarding that a nose about Romeís dilapidated Coliseum? Oh, and the Acropolis, symbol to all we hold as good and fair and democraticónot colossal? monumental? nor marvellous? just conspicuously Ö. absent. Say, who drew this list up anyway?
Lastly if we are to write about true wonders and marvels for all of mankind to behold why neglect mentioning the magnificent Buddhas of Bamyan recently destroyed that had reposed above the silk road for some 1500 years! Hermit monks residing in the caves carved the two standing Buddhas of 55 and 37 meters high, an incredible engineering feat. Even though listed as protected by UNESCO and as "a world heritage site" "a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declared the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. On March 6, the London Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them". The Buddhas of Bamyan needed to be listed as WORLD WONDER NUMBER EIGHT to serve notice to all to realize that monuments are NEVER to be placed at the whim of religions dogma.
Without a number 8 mentioned in the "monumental list" is there truly any authentic reason to create such a list when none of them may well survive the coming world religious scrutiny and challenge?
I personally see no reason for celebration other than I do enjoy reading lists. They almost always get the mind cogitating what should be Ö.. instead.
all fotos by Ric Polansky other than the Bumyan Buddhas.
Ric at Machu Picchu years before it became a marvel. For more travel stories and photos please visit: