HOT Properties Magazine Archive
HOT Attractions - Making History
The countdown is on for choosing the New 7 Wonders of the World — to be announced in Lisbon, appropriately enough on 07/07/07. Endorsed by the King and Queen of Spain, and with more than 5,000 votes cast at the Fitur International Tourism Show in Madrid last month alone, one of the favourite global contenders is Granada's breathtaking Alhambra Palace...
HOT Properties Magazine Issue 69
In 200 BC, Phylon of Byzantium made a selection of seven monuments said to be used as a travel guide for fellow Athenians. Collectively known as the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, they comprised the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Pyramids of Egypt — the latter being the only one still surviving.
Six years ago, however, the New7Wonders Foundation was created by Swiss businessman and adventurer Bernard Weber. His aim was to set up a multimedia campaign to choose the New 7 Wonders of the World and thus in 2001, the biggest global vote began to take place via the internet, telephone and by post, as millions of people around the world took part in a ballot to vote for their top seven new wonders of the world.
Voters are still participating in the colossal mission to protect humankind's heritage, but the journey is about to come to an end, and in Lisbon on 7th July 2007, the seven finalists will be announced at the Official Declaration Ceremony. As voting stands to date, there are 21 contenders, one of which is the much-loved Spanish monument — the breathtakingly beautiful Alhambra Palace in Granada.
Second on the list after the Acropolis in Greece and amongst other awe-inspiring monuments such as Angkor in Cambodia, the Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and the Colosseum in Rome, the ancient palace and fortress complex of the Alhambra took over 100 years to build. Andalucia's famous Alhambra (in Arabic meaning the Red Castle), was used as a residence by the Muslim kings of Granada and their court, and is one of Spain's most visited landmarks.
In addition to this magnificent Moorish palace and before the New7Wonders Foundation shortlisted the 77 top nominees to just 21 candidates, there were no fewer than seven other Spanish monuments in the running to become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, including the Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona's stunning Sagrada Familia basilica and — in Andalucía — as well as La Alhambra, Sevilla's soaring Giralda and Cordoba's awe-inspiring Mezquita.
One of the greatest surviving testimonials of Roman engineering, the aqueduct in Segovia is approximately 2950 feet long and 900 feet high and is featured on the city's coat of arms. Heading south to the Spanish capital, the Royal Palace of Madrid - also known as the Palacio de Oriente — is used by the King of Spain for official ceremonies although it is not owned by the Royal Family. It took 26 years to complete, was built on the site of a 10th century alczar and houses 2,800 rooms.
One of the most contemporary candidates on the New7Wonders list, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao was designed by the renowned Canadian deconstructivist architect Frank Gehry and has catapulted the northern metropolis from ignominy to the A-List of must-visit European cities.
Back to Andalucía, and to the captivating city of Sevilla and, in particular, to its Gothic/Baroque-style Giralda bell tower. At 320 feet it was the tallest tower in the world at the time of building and forms part of one of the world's largest cathedrals. Still in Andalucía and on to Córdoba, where the magnificent 10th century La Mezquita — the third largest Mosque in the world — unusually faces not towards Mecca, but Damascus.
The ancient city of Santiago de Compostela is famous for being home to one of the most beautiful medieval buildings anywhere in Europe. Indeed, as the reputed burial place of Saint James the Great (one of Jesus Christ's twelve apostles) the cathedral in Santiago has become a centre of pilgrimage for believers from around the world.
The final destination for Spanish-based New7Wonders is Barcelona and Gaudi's enchanting Roman Catholic basilica, the Sagrada Familia. It's no secret that there is still a lot to be done before it is finally completed, but as Gaudi once said, "My client is not in a hurry".
So, which of the world's most impressive monuments will make it to the finale of the New7Wonders competition? Whichever they are, we should feel privileged to have no fewer than three of the original contenders right on our doorstep and five others within easy visiting distance.For further information, and to cost your vote — online, by Phone or by sending an SMS - log on to www.new7wonders.com
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