The Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal are among 21 global landmarks chosen as final candidates in the New Seven Wonders of the World.This content was published on January 3, 2006 - 19:15
The Swiss-based organisers, who unveiled the shortlist, have called on the public to take part in an online vote to whittle the list down to seven. The winning sites will be announced on New Year's Day 2007.
The seven wonders of the ancient world were selected by the Greek philosopher Philon more than 2,000 years ago.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, which is included in the list of finalists, is the only one of the original wonders still standing.
The idea of creating a new list of contemporary wonders was the brainchild of Swiss adventurer and film-maker, Bernard Weber.
"I believe that after more than 2,000 years it's time to redefine the world wonders," Weber told Swiss television following the announcement of the shortlist. "Thanks to the internet and telephone, for the first time in history the whole world can take part in this process."
According to Weber's New Seven Wonders Foundation, the public responded enthusiastically to the challenge, with 19 million people taking part in voting between 2001 and the end of 2005.
For inclusion in the list, the new wonders had to be man-made, completed by 2000 and in an "acceptable" state of preservation.
Each continent had to be represented by at least one wonder, but there could not be more than one per country.
"They should become symbols of unity in the modern world, just as the original seven wonders were symbols of the ancient world," Weber told swissinfo in an interview in 2004.
The shortlist of 21 includes ancient sites such as the Acropolis in Athens and India's Taj Mahal temple as well as more recent constructions, notably the Sydney Opera House and New York's Statue of Liberty.
The only Swiss candidate for world wonder, the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, failed to make it into the top 21.
swissinfo with agencies
The 21 candidates for the New Seven Wonders of the World:
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Christ Redeemer, Brazil
Easter Island statues, Chile
Eiffel Tower, France
Great Wall, China
Hagia Sophia, Turkey
Kyomizu Temple, Japan
Machu Picchu, Peru
Neuschwandstein Castle, Germany
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Statue of Liberty, United States
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Taj Mahal, India
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