Celebrations to mark the Official Inauguration of the Amazon as one of the New7Wonders of Nature will begin next Sunday, 12 August, in Iquitos the capital of the Loreto Region and the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest. Along with Peru, eight nations shared the candidacy of the Amazon in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.
The unveiling of the specially-cast plaque listing the Amazon in the canon of the Official New7Wonders of Nature will take place on Monday, 13 August, at the Plaza 28 De Julio and the event will be accompanied by traditional ceremonies in the presence of regional leaders along with Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, and Jean Paul de la Fuente, Director of New7Wonders.
The election of the Amazon as one of the New7Wonders of Nature has significant implications for the region. “Sustainable development combined with environmental protection can bring great economic benefits to the Peruvian Amazon region since an unspoiled ecosystem is what 21st-century travellers are increasingly looking for,” said Bernard Weber, reflecting upon his most recent visit to Peru. “New7Wonders looks forward to working with the governments of the countries that share the Amazon to ensure that eco-tourism, along with forestry and biodiversity conservation, is placed at the very heart of regional economic development.”
The city of Iquitos offers one of the most striking benchmarks for measuring the enormous expanse of the Amazon in that it is located more than 3,000 km from the mouth of the river at Belém on the Atlantic Ocean but is still a major Amazon Basin port. Indeed, the Amazon Basin is so vast that Iquitos can be reached only by airplane or boat.
In 1996, an expedition team led by the Polish adventurer Jacek Palkiewicz confirmed that the source of the Amazon River was located at the foot of Mount Quehuisha in the Peruvian Andes. Palkiewicz returned last year to the 5,319 metre-high Quehuisha for the unveiling of a memorial that commemorates the 1996 discovery. “Here starts the Amazon, the greatest river in the world,” states the memorial inscription.
What begins at Mount Quehuisha ends up releasing an astonishing amount of water into the Atlantic Ocean. In the rainy season, the volume reaches 300,000 cubic metres a second. This means that the Amazon is responsible for almost 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water entering the ocean.
On Tuesday, 14 August, a second New7Wonders of Nature plaque honouring the listing of the Amazon will be unveiled in Lima, the capital of Peru.