Revealed! The best photographs of monuments in the world

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April 21, 2022

Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) has revealed the winners of its 2021 photo competition, with first place going to an image of the Portuguese Royal Reading Cabinet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, taken by Donatas Dabravolskas.

It was the 12th edition of the awards with over 172,000 entries submitted by 4,914 uploaders from 37 different countries. Among the entries were 3,198 first-time contributors.

Initially, national winners were selected and their work was then presented to an international jury of experts.

The judging panel then evaluated, reviewed and ranked the national winning photos based on the three key criteria of the WLM photo competition: usefulness for Wikipedia, technical quality and originality.

About the contest

The Wiki Loves Monuments International Photo Contest is organized by Wikimedia, the movement behind Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia written by volunteers.

As part of the competition, photographers donate their images to Wikimedia Commons, the free repository that contains most of the images used on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, helping to document the cultural wonders of the world for future generations.

The competition is inspired by a successful pilot project in 2010 in the Netherlands, resulting in 12,500 freely licensed monument images which can now be used in Wikipedia and by anyone for any purpose.

The project has so far helped collect information on 1.5 million monuments from 76 national competitions.

More … than 1.7 million photos were submitted by over 60,000 participantsadding to the sum of human and visual knowledge collected on Wikipedia.

The organizers commented, “With events unfolding in the world, it’s important to stay aware that there is a deadline to capture the world around you. We consider it our responsibility to make people aware of its beauty, and that it deserves to be shared through the eyes of the people who experience it every day. We are committed to creating the visuals that can illustrate the stories of these places and bring them to life.

See below to see and learn more about the details behind the top 10 images from the Wiki Loves Monuments Photo Contest 2021…


First place – Donatas Dabravolskas (Brazil)

Portuguese Royal Reading Cabinet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Portuguese Royal Reading Cabinet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – the winning image of the WLM 2021 Photo Contest. © Donatas Dabravolskas

Although Donatas Dabravolskas only lives 15 minutes from the Portuguese Royal Cabinet of Reading in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he only knew the place through a post on social media, which motivated him to visit it and take lots of pictures.

The members of the jury declared that the winning photo of Wiki Loves Monuments 2021 has, “a stunning symmetry and conveys the grandeur and true scale of this immense library.”


Second place – Damian Pankowiec (Poland)

Saint Roch Chapel, Krasnobród, Poland

Saint Roch Chapel, Krasnobród, Poland - second place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Damien Pankowiec

Saint Roch Chapel, Krasnobród, Poland – second place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Damien Pankowiec

A professional photographer who has been in the field for over a decade, Damian Pankowiec believes it is important to, ‘capturing the subject at the right time of day and weather.’

This stunning photo of Saint Roch’s Chapel in Krasnobród, Poland, was hailed by a member of the jury as the, ‘the best way to help a modest, if not unspectacular, monument gain value in an image is to look for the right season; and for this photo autumn was very well chosen.’

Another member of the jury said: ‘it creates the feeling of being there.’

Damian Pankowiec (@virtualexploring) Instagram


Third place – Zysko Serhi (Ukraine)

Samchyky Palace, Starokostiantyniv, Ukraine

Samchyky Palace, Starokostiantyniv, Ukraine - third place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Zysko Serhi

Samchyky Palace, Starokostiantyniv, Ukraine – third place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Zysko Serhi

Together with his friends, Zysko Serhi travels across Ukraine to show its beauty to the world. Away from home, Serhi captured a ‘colorful interior photo’ of the Samchyky Palace in Starokostiantyniv, Ukraine.

Фотограф (@zysko_serhii) Instagram


Fourth place – Małgorzata Pawelczyk (Poland)

Monument of Stefan Czarniecki, Tykocin, Poland

Stefan Czarniecki monument, Tykocin, Poland - fourth place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Malgorzata Pawelczyk

Stefan Czarniecki monument, Tykocin, Poland – fourth place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Malgorzata Pawelczyk

Małgorzata Pawelczyk captured the Stefan Czarniecki monument in Tykocin, Poland, as ‘the sun’s rays shone through the clouds and fog.’

His motivation for submitting this photograph to WLM was to, ‘raise awareness of the beauty of architecture even in small towns.’

A member of the jury noticed him as having, ‘great use of weather and time of day to isolate subject in environment.’

Małgorzata Pawelczyk (@figoosia) Instagram


Fifth place – Basavaraj M (India)

Gali Mantapa, Chitradurga, Kamataka, India

Gali Mantapa, Chitradurga, Kamataka, India - fifth place in the WLM Photo Contest 2021. © Basavaraj M

Gali Mantapa, Chitradurga, Kamataka, India – fifth place in the WLM Photo Contest 2021. © Basavaraj M

Basavaraj M, who has been practicing photography for about four decades with a special interest in architecture, introduced the competition with the photo of Gali Mantapa, from his hometown of Chitradurga in Karnataka, India. The photography was also the winner of the WLM 2021 in India.

A member of the jury noticed that the image had a, ‘good combination of stone architecture with natural rocks.’


Sixth place – Daniel M. Horowitz (USA)

Fort Crown Point, New York, USA

Fort Crown Point, New York - sixth place in the 2021 WLM Photo Contest. © Daniel M. Horowitz

Fort Crown Point, New York – sixth place in the 2021 WLM Photo Contest. © Daniel M. Horowitz

During the pandemic in 2020, Daniel Horowitz, accompanied by his wife, “Rented a secluded cabin near Lake Champlain in Vermont, hundreds of miles from my home.”

Since his childhood, he has always been attracted by old buildings, ruins and abandoned places.

Towards the end of their trip, while taking pictures, Horowitz moved away (as he usually does) to capture Fort Crown Point in New York.

It was a British fortress along the western shore of Lake Champlain, built in 1759 to defend against French forces and partially destroyed by fire in 1773.

Daniel Horowitz (@dclensman) Instagram


Seventh place – Ekaterina Polischuk (Ukraine)

Dormition Cathedral, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Dormition Cathedral (Uspensky), Kharkiv, Ukraine - seventh place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Ekaterina Polischuk

Dormition Cathedral, Kharkiv, Ukraine – seventh place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Ekaterina Polischuk

The Cathedral of the Dormition was photographed on a ‘rare sunny winter day’ in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in “The extreme cold and the snow on the roofs added to the cleanliness of the whole scene”, by Ekaterina Polischuk. Besides being a landscape photographer, she is also a drone pilot.

Of the image, a member of the jury remarked, ‘the tower in the foreground creates a commanding aspect and a grand perspective towards the monument depicted; the lines converge on it and draw the eye into the plane. Excellent day for such an image ; the snow on top of the golden tower is like the icing on the cake.

Ekaterina Polischuk (@e_polischuk_photography) Instagram


Eighth place – Mark McGuire (Ireland)

Ross Castle, County Kerry, Ireland

Ross Castle, County Kerry, Ireland - eighth place in the 2021 WLM photo competition. © Mark McGuire

Ross Castle, County Kerry, Ireland – eighth place in the 2021 WLM photo competition. © Mark McGuire

On a weekend stroll through Ross Castle with his family, Mark McGuire perfectly captured ‘a series of happy events’ in a frame, rather than just the monument.

McGuire explained, “To have the ducks, the boat and the sunset all lining up at the same time was pure luck and one of those rare moments that probably won’t happen again.”

It was also the favorite of a member of the jury, ‘by its composition’ which mixes, ‘architecture, nature and human elements.’

Mark McGuire (@mark_mcguire_photography) Instagram


Ninth place – Hadi Dehghanpour (Iran)

The windmills of Nashtifan, Iran

The windmills of Nashtifan, Iran - ninth place in the 2021 WLM Photo Contest. © Hadi Dehghanpour

The windmills of Nashtifan, Iran – ninth place in the 2021 WLM Photo Contest. © Hadi Dehghanpour

On a cloudy day with strong winds, Hadi Dehghanpour, accompanied by three photographer friends, traveled nearly 400 kilometers to, ‘one of the unique and special attractions of Khorasan Razavi’Nashtifan windmills.

A member of the jury remarked that, ‘the middle of a frame adds to the breadth of the structure.’

Hadi Dehghanpour هادی‌دهقانپور (@dehghanpourpix) Instagram


Tenth place – Yashin V. (Russia)

Church of Intercession, Posevkino, Voronezh Oblast, Russia

Church of Intercession, Posevkino, Voronezh Oblast, Russia - tenth place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Yachine V.

Church of Intercession, Posevkino, Voronezh Oblast, Russia – tenth place in the WLM 2021 photo competition. © Yachine V.

Yashin, who has been practicing photography for about seven years now, presented a beautiful image of the Church of the Intercession, Posevkino, Voronezh Oblast, Russia.


Read more…

To learn more about Wiki Loves Monuments, visit the Wiki Loves Monuments website.


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