More than 170,000 photos were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons in the first 22 days of the international photo contest Wiki Loves Monuments. Roughly 10,000 of these images are photos of Armenian monuments, which makes Armenia 6th in the race of 53 countries by number of photographs. Poland is leading with roughly 27,000 photos, Germany is second with 22,000 photos. The contest will continue until 30 September.

Up to now Armenia had 130 participants who photographed monuments and uploaded them to Wikimedia Commons. Arpine Andreasyan, one of the participants, says, it is such a pity that only a very little part of Armenian heritage can be found in the internet. “This is a great opportunity to improve that, to centre all these monuments in a place which gets a lot of attention”. Most of the photographs Arpine uploaded to Wikimedia Commons were from her photo archive. Arman Musikyan, another participant of the contest, started to travel all around the country especially for Wiki Loves Monuments. “I found that photographing monuments is like practicing a sport,” he says, “to get to a monument you often have to walk for hours, sometimes you need to climb a rock, like for instance the fortress Kayan in Haghpat”.

According to Arman, the contest is also like a sport because of the competition between the countries: each one of them tries to get more photos than the others. Arman himself already uploaded roughly 3,000 photos and he still makes trips all around Armenia and makes photos.

Armenian coordinators of Wiki Loves Monuments have organized photowalks in Yerevan, Goris, Shushi and Vanadzor to encourage and help everyone who would like to contribute to the contest. Participants of these events walk around their cities, make photos of monuments and upload to Wikimedia Commons. The last photowalk will take place on 29 September in Gyumri.

Only one week is left till the end of the contest. After that, in October, the winners of each country will be selected by a local jury. Then an international jury will select international winners of Wiki Loves Monuments. Vachagan Gratian, one of the Armenian organizers, informed that they have a budget of 1.7 million AMD for the awards, although they didn’t decide yet what prices are exactly going to be. The award for the international winner is on the other hand already known: a trip to the Wikimania conference in London.

“Wiki Loves Monuments” is the largest photo contest in the world. It takes place every year on 1-30 September. Armenia joined the contest for the first time this year. Organizer of the contest in Armenia is Wikimedia Armenia. General sponspor is “Ucom”. The awards funds is provided by Wikimedia Foundation.

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