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Petra on course for seven wonders title

Jordan's ancient city of Petra is on course to become one of the new seven wonders of the world.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 12:42 IST

Jordan's ancient city of Petra is on course to become one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Votes from across the world placed Petra among the top seven sites along with the Coliseum in Rome, the Great Wall of China, Peru's Machu Picchu, India's Taj Mahal, Egypt's Pyramids of Giza and the stone statues of Easter Island.

Queen Rania received an official certificate of candidacy announcing Petra as one of the 21 finalists competing for the title in a competition organised by the privately funded New Seven Wonders Foundation established by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber.

Millions of people have voted online and by telephone since Weber began the venture in 1999. Nearly 200 sites were under consideration at the beginning of the campaign, and they have now been narrowed down to 21 ahead of the announcement of the final seven on July 7 in Lisbon.

According to Weber, the competition was not intended to replace the ancient seven wonders declared by Philo of Byzantium in 200 BC but rather to preserve historical landmarks and enhance global cultural heritage awareness.

The Jordanian government is stepping up a nationwide campaign that it initiated in November to garner support for Petra to join the ranks of the world's wonders. The rose-red city carved into rock was first revealed to the Western world by the explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhart in 1812.

The remaining finalists are Athens' Acropolis, Granada's Alhambra palace and fortress complex, Cambodia's temples of Angkor, Mexico's Mayan city of Chichen Itza, Rio de Janeiro's Christ Redeemer statue, Paris' Eiffel Tower, Istanbul's Haghia Sophia, Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple, Moscow's Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral, Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle, New York's Statue of Liberty, England's Stonehenge, the Sydney Opera House and Timbuktu.