An International photography contest invites you to photograph sacred natural sites

An international photography contest, dedicated to historical sacred natural sites, is commencing. The goal of the contest is to commemorate the cultural and natural heritages of sacred natural sites, to record their current state, as well as to encourage people to visit and care for the sacred sites.

The Grand Prize of 2015, The Oak of Tamme-Lauri in Urvaste, by Martin Mark

The theme of the contest is historical, natural (not built) sacred sites: sacred groves and hills, water bodies, trees, stones and other natural objects where our ancestors used to pray, heal, sacrifice, commune and perform other rituals.

The contest’s grand prize is 1,000 euros, and there is also a youth prize of 200 euros - for those up to, and including, age 16; and a special ‘Ural Peoples’ prize of 300 euros. In addition, a number of special prizes will be handed out in the following categories: grove, sacred tree, stone, water body, offering, pain of the sacred grove, story, nature conservation and more. Images taken in other parts of the world are welcome too.

Photos can be uploaded until 31 October 2016 to
Winners will be honoured at an award ceremony in Tartu, Estonia, at the end of 2016.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) considers sacred natural sites to be the oldest natural protection areas of humanity, and of Estonia. Many indigenous peoples have sacred natural sites that belong to a common heritage of humanity.

The photography contest is taking place for the ninth time and is organised by heritage organisations active in Estonia: the Hiite Maja Foundation, the union of the followers of the Estonian indigenous religion Maavalla koda, and the University of Tartu Centre of Sacred Natural Sites. The contest is sponsored by the Kindred Peoples Programme, the Estonian Folklore Archives, Wiedemanni Translation Bureau and many other organisations and enterprises.

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