July 9, 2007—The 105-foot-tall (38-meter-tall) "Christ the Redeemer" statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was among the "new seven wonders of the world" announced July 7 following a global poll to decide a new list of human-made marvels.
The winners were voted for by Internet and phone, American Idol style. The other six new wonders are the Colosseum in Rome, India's Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Jordan's ancient city of Petra, the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, and the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá in Mexico.
The contest was organized by the New7Wonders Foundation—the brainchild of Swiss filmmaker and museum curator Bernard Weber—in order to "protect humankind's heritage across the globe." The foundation says the poll attracted almost a hundred million votes.
Yet the competition has proved controversial, drawing criticism from the United Nations' cultural organization UNESCO, which administers the World Heritage sites program (pictures of the newest World Heritage sites).
"This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by [the] public," UNESCO said in a statement.