Wiki Loves Monuments, or WLM in Wikipedia jargon, is a September contest which encourages people to take photos of their local heritage and upload those photos to Wikimedia Commons so that they can be integrated into Wikipedia articles (earlier coverage). Cultural heritage is an important part of the knowledge Wikipedia collects and disseminates. Everybody can edit articles, and everybody can contribute images to illustrate them. The harvest from the WLM contest this year proves that "an image is worth a thousand words" with over 1500 photos already added to the Commons category of "Quality images". Considering that not all of the jury selections have been added to that category, the number is likely to grow even more during the next few months.
Winning photo overall
The winning photo overall, by Commons user Pranav Singh
Safdarjung’s Tomb, a garden tomb with a marble mausoleum in New Delhi, India. It was built in 1754 in the late Mughal Empire style, and was described as “the last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture”. Built about a century after the Taj Mahal, Wikipedia already had a well illustrated article on this building, but was missing a photo of the inside showing the actual tomb itself.
Today the top story of the building houses the Archaeological Survey of India, which itself is a guardian of cultural heritage. In all respects this was a true winner for Wikipedia.
Some other notable WLM 2012 photos
One of the winning photos in the category of Belgium & Luxembourg, by Commons user and WLM volunteer Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
One of the photos that made it to the Polish finals, by Commons user P.R.Schreyner
The winning photo in the category of Ghana, by Commons user Sathyan Velumani
Belgium has lots of castles without Wikipedia articles, some of them centuries old, such as Château de Fontaine, west of Onhaye. A select group of volunteers has worked enthusiastically this year to keep the monuments lists for Belgium up to date on the English, French, and Dutch Wikipedia projects. That some volunteers are also highly skilled photographers is evidenced by one of the winning photos of a castle that just begs for an article to be written about it.
We already knew Poland had a number of interesting monuments from their contributions in last year's WLM. This year the contributions were less about whole buildings and more about architectural details, including many interiors of Baroque palaces, such as this finalist photo from Leubus Abbey in Lubiąż, Poland. It is interesting to see how such former royal buildings have become used over the centuries and this photo illustrates an interesting contrast in the office-like rooms adjoining the immensely over-the-top Baroque hall.
The Larabanga Mosque from the 14th Century is the oldest mosque in Western Africa, and it's nice to have a high quality image of it for Wikipedia. Ghana was a newcomer to WLM this year, and the monuments list is taken from the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, according to their description 'legal custodian of Ghana’s material movable and immovable heritage'. The monuments are classified into museums, forts and castles, and Asante traditional buildings. The forts and castles testify to the once flourishing trade between the indigenous African people and the European trading companies of Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, England, France, Sweden, and Brandenburg of German Prussia. The history of Ghana's government administration, judiciary, religion, health care and even its architecture has its roots at these ancient sites. Until recently, many of these forts and castles have had articles on Wikipedia illustrated with old maps or sometimes paintings. It will be nice to update those articles with modern photographs, while it is even more exciting to see new articles appear on Ghana's museums and traditional buildings.
Desktop uploader for photos on Commons - The desktop upload page is split per world region with existing monuments lists in participating countries. To upload, you need a valid username on Wikimedia Commons, and must be willing to release your photo under a CC-by-SA license.