The annual Wiki Loves Monuments international photographic competition is taking place this month and until October 13.

The contest, organized worldwide by the Wikipedia community members with the help of local Wikimedia affiliates across the globe, asks participants to take pictures of local historical monuments and heritage sites in their region, upload them to Wikimedia Commons, and perhaps win a prize.

This is the fifth year that Wiki Loves Monuments is taking place around the world, and the fourth year that it is taking place in Israel. Over the past five years, more than one million pictures have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons as part of the competition (of which about 20,000 photos were taken in Israel), which the Guinness Book of Records has said is the world's largest photo competition.

The aim of the event is to highlight the heritage sites of the participating countries with the goal of encouraging people to capture pictures of these monuments, and to put them under a free license which can then be re-used not only in Wikipedia but everywhere by everyone.

Most of the photographs are taken by the general public rather than professional photographers, Dror Lin of Wikimedia Israel told Arutz Sheva.

“Because of the current holiday period, every Friday or holiday eve we hold tours, jointly with the Council for the Preservation of Heritage Sites and the Antiquities Authority, which give more information to the public visiting the sites, tell them which sites to take pictures of, and we also have cooperation with the Galitz School of Photography, which tells people how to take the best pictures and give them advice [on how to do so],” added Lin.

“The images are now free for anyone to use for any purpose, part of Wikipedia’s collection of images in the Commons,” he continued. “It’s a huge amount of pictures of many heritage sites throughout the world, some of which have been destroyed, such as the sites in Syria that have been destroyed by ISIS. The only images of those sites were those uploaded as part of the competition. Even here in Israel some sites have not been preserved, so the images are meant to preserve our culture.”