The Dead Sea in Israel, PA, and Jordan; the Jeita Cave Grotto in Lebanon, and the Bu Tinah Island Archepelago in Abu Dhabi – are vying for the 7 Natural Wonders list of 28 from around the world. Cast your votes today.
It seems like this contest has been going on for years already, but okay, we’ll go with it: Although the Pyramids of Giza, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are relegated to the wonders of the Ancient World, the Middle East may still be able lay claim to at least one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. The 28 world locations that now reached the finals in this competition on the New 7 Wonders website, include three Middle East natural wonders. If you care about the Middle East, we implore you to vote!
Bu Tinah Island Archepelago – Abu Dhabi
This natural habitant of island archepelagos, coral reefs, and mangroves is home to a vast variety of wildlife, including migratory waterfowl and raptors, dolphins, hawksbill sea turtles, and one of world’s largest populations of dugongs also known as sea cows. The dugongs, rare graceful sea mammals compose about 25% of the world’s remaining population of these gentle animals, who have been nearly hunted to extinction in many parts of the world. It’s amazing that these creatures, as well as the turtles, a vast variety of fish, and coral reefs can survive at all in much warmer waters (up to 37 degrees C) as well as being more saline than most other bodies of sea water.
The Bu Tinah archipelago is being cared for by Abu Dhabi’s main environmental agency Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) , which plans to spend around Dh28 million (US$7.6 million) to promote Bu Tinah to environmentalists. The EAD is describing Bu Tinah as an ecological “miracle.”
Voting for it may help protect it in the face of land exploitation and rapid development in Abu Dhabi.
The Dead Sea – Jordan/Israel/Palestine
The Dead Sea, a highly saline lake that is surrounded by Jordan, Israel and Palestine; is often referred to as the lowest point on earth. Its “elevation” is presently around 411 meters below sea level. The uniqueness of this body of water, which is the receptacle of the waters of the Lower Jordan River, whose inflow into Dead Sea is less than 2% of its original flow at the beginning of the 20th Century, has been brought to world attention by environmental NGO’s such as Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME). FoEME’s Israel Director, Gidon Bromberg says that the waters of the Dead Sea are receding at a rate of 1 meter per year; which might cause the lake to literally “dry up” by the end of the next century.
The controversial “Red – Dead Sea Conveyance Project” (The Red-Dead Canal) in which water from the Gulf of Aqaba would be brought to the replenish the Dead Sea by a series of canals and pipelines, has been in the works for years now; and is the reason for an on-going scientific study to determine the environmental consequences of mixing less saline Red Sea water with the highly saline and mineral rich Dead Sea water. The Dead Sea and its surrounding shoreline, is suffering from a variety of environmental problems, including large “sink holes” which are the result of the lake’s rapidly receding waters.
The significance of the Dead Sea, from both a historical and religious standpoint (it is the alleged location of the destruction of the biblical cities of Sodom and Gemorah) as well as being a frequented visited place for people suffering from various skin infections, asthma and Crohn’s Disease, give the Dead Sea enough cause to be voted for as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. And it’s just stunning to see.
Voting for the Dead Sea has implications in regional development, protection of this at-risk water body, and regional peace.
Jeita Cave Grotto– Lebanon
The Jeita Grotto is a compound of crystallized caves in Lebanon located 20km north of Beirut in the Valley of Nahr al-Kalb (Dog River). This grotto is made up of two limestone caves, upper galleries and a lower cave through which a 6230 m long river runs. Geologically, the caves provide a tunnel or escape route for the underground river. In this cave and galleries, the action of water in the limestone has created cathedral-like vaults full of various sizes, colors and shapes of stalactites and stalagmites, majestic curtains and fantastic rock formations.
The total length of the cave is more than 9000 meters and includes one of the biggest stalactites in the world, hanging at 8.20 meters. The grotto has a huge subterranean hall with a height of 108 m from the ceiling to the water level.
Voting for this cave will ensure this natural wonder will be preserved for future generations to see.
Makes you wonder?
Anyone can ballot on their choice of three candidates for the New 7 World Wonders simply by accessing the New 7 Wonders website. Or clicking below. While the choice of natural beauty spots is up to the discretion of the voter, we hope that those living in the Middle East will cast ballots for the three listed ones, all of which are located here in this region.
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