temple mount 224.88.
(photo credit: Areil Jerozolimski [file])
Jerusalem did not qualify for a world-wide competition run by the Swiss-based foundation, New 7 Wonders, but its Old City has now been chosen as one of the seven new wonders of the world in a US-based media campaign that is seeking an eighth wonder, too.
ABC television's Good Morning, America and the national newspaper USA Today have joined forces to pick their own "Seven New Wonders of the World."
Their global event unveiling the new wonders began on November 9, with a list chosen by a team of six experts being revealed on seven consecutive weekdays. At the same time, USA Today is running stories and "GMA" is broadcasting live from the scene of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
The first wonder chosen last week was the Potala Palace in Tibet. The Old City of Jerusalem was their second choice. And an eighth wonder, voted by readers and viewers, will be announced on November 24.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski welcomed news of Israel's capital making the new list of seven wonders, expressing the hope that "Jerusalem's beauty will now reach every corner of the world."
"This choice just confirms what we already knew - that there is no city like Jerusalem, the most beautiful and special city in the whole world," Lupolianski said, not missing the opportunity to urge tourists to come see it for themselves.
"I call on all of you to visit Jerusalem and experience the wonder with your own eyes and feet," he said.
The team of experts said that the most prominent sites in Jerusalem's Old City, including the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, earned it the title of a wonder of the world.
The experts said they had chosen the ancient city "for its central place in religious history and struggles for tolerance."
One of the panelists, best-selling author Bruce Feiler (Walking the Bible), wrote that the idea of religious coexistence "captivates the world right now."
The sites in the Old City are considered to be among the world's holiest places "by half of the humans alive today," Feiler said, adding: "It passes the 'wonder' test."
And in a piece titled, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem," USA Today's Jerry Shriver said that "mankind's capacity for wonder is profoundly expressed in Jerusalem's Old City, which has served as a spiritual nexus for the world's three major monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - for millennia.
"Remarkably, many of the significant historical structures inside the Old City's eight gates have withstood the ravages of time and warfare, including more than 200 synagogues, churches, mosques and other holy shrines."
Shriver called the Old City "not only a holy place but a battleground as well."
"Empire after empire, including the Canaanites, Hebrews, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders and Ottoman Turks, has fought to control the area," he said. "Even today, there is no general agreement as to the city's political status."
The panel of experts convened at the Explorer's Club in New York City this summer to decide what the "Seven New Wonders of the World" would be.
Besides Feiler, the panel comprises explorer Sylvia Earle, travel writer Pico Iyer, Adventure Divas co-founder Holly Morris, high-altitude archeologist Johan Reinhard and astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson.
As The Jerusalem Post reported last month, no sites in Jerusalem made it to the list of 21 finalists in the New 7 Wonders Internet vote, which has set 07.07.07 as its date for announcing its new seven wonders at a mega media event in Lisbon.