Photo of Snow-covered David's Tower to Represent Israel in International Contest

For first time, Israel participates in international photography contest; 6,000 Israeli photographs are among over 360,000 shots from all over the world.

A photograph of David's Tower in the snow was awarded first place among 6,000 Israeli entries in the 2012 Wiki Loves Monuments contest.

It was the first time that Israel has participated in the international photography contest, sponsored by the Wikipedia online encyclopedia and various co-sponsors. About 360,000 photos from all over the world were entered in the annual competition, dubbed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest.

Ze'ev Rothkopf's photo of a snowy Tower of David, the ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, won first place.

Second among Israeli entrants was Nitzan Zahavi's shot of the Alonei Abba church in the Jezreel Valley, and Ilan Adar was third with an aerial photo of the Ma'aleh Akrabim road in the northern Negev.

In all, 15,019 individuals from all over the world entered a total of 366,847 photographs - 6,067 photos from Israel. Honors for the most popular Israeli site went to the Bahai Gardens in Haifa, followed by David's Tower in Jerusalem and the Jaffa port.

The top 10 Israeli photos will move on to the next stage, where they and entries from other countries will be judged by an international panel of experts. Israel's eight highest-ranked photos will go on display at the Dizengoff Center gallery in Tel Aviv, starting Thursday, November 8.

Omri Shalmon, head of the Society for the Preservation of Israeli Heritage, said the contest served to raise the consciousness of Israelis and other foreign communities to the country's heritage sites. “Preservation of Israeli heritage sites is no less important than in other countries,” he said.

Wikimedia Israel, an NGO, produced the Israeli contest, with the cooperation of the Society for the Preservation of Israeli Heritage. Sponsors included the Israel Internet Association, Google Israel, the Galitz school of photography and the Pickwiki project.