Geo Week News

January 30, 2014

Heritage sites vie for place in CyArk 500 Challenge


CyArk’s Advisory Council starts evaluating nominations

CyArk said it received dozens of nominations for inclusion in its CyArk 500 Challenge to laser scan and digitally preserve 500 of the world’s most important cultural heritage sites over a five-year period.

“Cultures around the globe are witnessing the loss of their heritage to factors that range from natural disasters and human conflict to the simple passage of time or lack of effective site management,” said the Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit.

The CyArk 500 Challenge was launched in October to save the sites before they become “ravaged by war, terrorism, arson, urban sprawl, climate change, earthquakes, floods, and other threats,” the group said.
The first round of site nominations closed Dec. 31, resulting in 60 nominations from 29 countries on behalf of some nearly 200 individual sites and typology groups, CyArk said.

Some of the nominated sites include:

  • Ancient Buddhist site of Borobudur in Indonesia (top image)
  • Ancient Elymais rock carvings in Iran
  • Medieval Palace at Visegrád, Hungary
  • Haveli in walled city of Lahore, Pakistan
  • Modernist Oscar Niemeyer house in Brazil
  • Khmer ruins at Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia
  • Rock paintings in Malawi
  • Remote cliff-dwellings in Turkey
  • Vani’s Caves in Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia
  • Maya site of Quiriguá, Guatemala
  • Kasbah “Taourirt” in Morocco
  • Corbelled buildings in South Africa
  • Ancient City of Damascus, Syria
  • England’s Canterbury Cathedral
  • Independence National Historical Park in the United States

Kinderdijk windmill system in the Netherlands



Nominations are now being evaluated by the 500 Advisory Council on a number of criteria, including:

  • Risk: the nature and imminence of the threat posed to the site
  • Relevance: the position the site holds to the cultural identity of its region or country, and to humanity in general
  • Merit: the positive, far-reaching benefits of digitally preserving the site and transferring technology to the region

Once the advisory council reviews the applications, select projects will continue onto the next round and will be asked to complete a full application, including detailed information on the significance of the site and scope of digital documentation necessary.
Heritage site submissions will be considered on a quarterly basis. The next deadline will be March 31, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Send all materials via email to [email protected]. Contact [email protected] with any questions about the 500 Challenge or the submissions process.


Want more stories like this? Subscribe today!

Read Next

Related Articles


Join the Discussion