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In ancient times, the Greeks rallied around a list of marvels – seven "must see" destinations that included the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Temple of Artemis. It was great for the Greeks, but it didn't take the larger world into account. And as the years went by, many of the wonders were destroyed. Of the original list, only the Egyptian pyramids still survive.
Still, the idea of the Seven Wonders of the World has trickled down through the years. This July, a brand-spanking-new version will be unveiled in Lisbon. There's significant global buzz as to who will make the cut. Stonehenge, or the Statue of Liberty? The Eiffel Tower, or Easter Island?
This time around, it's not power mongers or intellectuals alone who will decide the roster – it's regular people from around the world just like you – voting by phone or by internet. More than 20 million have weighed in so far, and it's not over yet. The voting lasts until July 6, 2007.
You and your kids can get in on the action at www.new7wonders.com. If you're fortunate enough to have traveled to any of the 21 contenders being considered, pull out your photos and wax poetic. But even if you have no direct experience to share, grab an atlas or use the web for a family geographical treasure hunt. The 21 finalists are:
Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
Chichen Itza (Mexico)
Christ Redeemer Statue (Brazil)
Easter Island (Chile)
Eiffel Tower (France)
Great Wall (China)
Hagia Sophia (Turkey)
Kiyomizu Temple (Japan)
Kremlin and St. Basil's (Russia)
Machu Picchu (Peru)
Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany)
Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
Statue of Liberty (United States)
Sydney Opera House (Australia)
Taj Mahal (India)