Wiki Loves Monuments took place in Israel for the first time this year and the biggest challenge for our organizing team was creating the lists of monuments. Prior to the competition no list of national monuments existed, and now, as a result of the competition, a list is available to the public for the first time and is easily accessible to all on Wikipedia!
Our next hurdle was to increase public awareness of National Monuments. Before the start of Wiki Loves Monuments 2012, the Israeli organizing team visited the Israel Photographers’ Conference in Tel Aviv to promote the contest among professional photographers and photography enthusiasts. During the month of the competition, we organized 20 events, including two photography workshops (sponsored by the Galitz school of photography), 18 guided tours (sponsored by the Council for Heritage Sites in Israel), and two tours at the Israel Museum (the museum allowed free entrance to the participants).
Approximately 400 people participated in the events; 500 people visited our booth at a photography fare; 800 people wrote to us requesting information about the tours; and 600 joined our mailing lists. But perhaps the biggest indicator of our success came with the results of the competition: 451 participants uploaded more than 6000 photographs.
The finalists showcase Israel’s ancient culture, with many of the photos capturing the country’s diverse religious history. There are images of a Templar Prussian Evangelical Church, a Benedictine abbey, and an Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque all featured among the finalist’s contributions. Two of the top ten photos showcase the Tower of David, a minaret from the Mamluk period in the old city of Jerusalem. The ancient citadel is integral to the country’s history and holds important archaeological finds that are 2700 years old. Other photos highlight Israel’s more recent monuments, such as a nighttime image of the Reading Power Station in Tel Aviv set against the city’s bright lights.