Chichen Itza, the Colosseum, and Statue of Christ the Redeemer: Three of the 7 ‘New’ Wonders of the

The ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico, the Colosseum in Rome, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro were recently named three of the 7 ‘new’ world wonders during a televised celebrity-studded ceremony held at Lisbon’s Stadium of Light in Portugal on July 7, 2007.  In a report from the Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Lisbon, the selection was made after nearly 100 million votes, cast on the Internet and through telephones, were counted.

Following is a brief description, from historical records and accounts, of each of the three ‘new’ world wonders:

Chichen Itza in Mexico:

The ancient Maya/Toltec city of Chichen Itza is situated 77 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Merida.  It was established by the Maya around 600 AD and was a major center of the Toltecs in 1000-1200, after the decline of the Maya.  The main complex covers an area of 1-3/4 miles (3 kilometers) by 1-1/4 miles (2 kilometers) and includes a large ball court, temple, pyramids, and a causeway 171 miles (275) kilometers long.  This leads to the cenote, or well, into which human sacrifices and jade and gold ornaments were thrown to appease the rain-cloud god, Chac.  The reasons for the city’s collapse in the 13th century are not known.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy:

The original name of the Colosseum is Flavian Amphitheatre.  It is considered to be the most famous monument of Ancient Rome.  Construction began between 70 and 76 AD during the time of the Emperor Vespasian.  His son, Titus, completed the construction in 80 AD who, the following year, dedicated it to his father’s death.  The opening of the Colosseum was celebrated by holding a total of 100 days worth of games there.  Romans enjoyed going to the Colosseum to see concerts and plays, or to watch chariot races and bloody sports.  Gladiatorial combats, battles with beasts, and other fights were held in the Colosseum which was sufficiently big to accommodate practically the whole population of a town.  In fact, as many as 50,000 people would sometimes spend the whole day there watching sports.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

The statue of Christ the Redeemer stands atop the 2,300-foot-high mountain of Corcovado ("hunchback" for its humped profile) on the island of Madeira.  It appears to be standing as a guide to the entrance of an island-studded bay which the early Portuguese explorers mistook for a river and named "River of the First of January," to remember the date of their discovery of the place on New Year’s Day, 1502.

The other four ‘new’ world wonders named were the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, the centuries-old pink ruins of Petra in Jordan, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Great Wall of China.