UNESCO is pleased to announce the winners of the 5th edition of the international photo contest "Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads".

This contest offers an exciting opportunity for young people from all over the world to capture their understanding of the shared heritage of the Silk Roads through the lens of their camera. The 5th edition of the contest focused on the themes of ‘Architecture, Monuments, and Urbanism’.

Scroll the page to discover the winners in each age category:

Category 1: 14-17 years old and Category 2: 18-25 years old



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1st Prize

Shreekrushn Pushkarni,
Hampi, India

Anushka Patil

India, 14 years old


“Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Central Karnataka, encompasses the remnants of the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th century CE) in an area of 4,187.24 hectares. Sacred tanks, or Pushkaranis, attached to temples are significant despite many being in ruins. The restored Pushkarani at Courtesans' Street showcases its historical architecture. Sacred pools varying in size and complexity, usually associated with religious practices, such as ritual ablutions, water offerings, purification ceremonies, or devotional baths are common in religious complexes across the Silk Roads.” 



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2nd Prize

Worshipping of a stone sculpture in the form of Shivalinga in Nepal

Athah Malla

Nepal, 16 years old


“A female devotee commencing morning rituals on a Shivalinga sculpture in a busy street in Makhan Tol, Kathmandu with the background of Taleju Bhawani Temple located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kathmandu Durbar Square.” 

3rd Prize

Nomadic Lifestyle with Yurts,

Akhjol Khainar

Mongolia, 16 years old


“Nomadic people have a rich history of seasonal migrations. Along the Silk Roads, their portable yurts were particularly well-suited for travellers, providing comfortable and efficient shelter during their journeys. I took this picture when my grandparents moved to the countryside in Bayan-Ölgii Province, Mongolia, while my relatives helped construct the traditional Kazakh movable house known as the ‘Kigiz ui’. The yurt is an iconic nomadic dwelling, a symbol of family and traditional hospitality. Moreover, the traditional knowledge and skills in making Kyrgyz and Kazakh yurts have been inscribed onto the Intangible Cultural Heritage list and passed down through generations among people living along the Silk Roads.”




Honourable Mention 1

A Mysterious Walk in
Khiva, Uzbekistan 

Sabohat Baxtiyarova

Uzbekistan, 17 years old


“Within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khiva's Itchan Kala, the Mausoleum of Pahlavon Mahmud stands as a tribute to Central Asian Muslim architecture. Amidst its historic walls, a remarkable silk carpet, meticulously woven with intricate patterns, takes centre stage. This exquisite carpet reflects the region's rich heritage and is a captivating testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of the past along the Silk Roads. The Minarets are towers commonly associated with places of worship, and serve several important purposes, including announcing calls to prayer and broadcasting other announcements. This is an example of an ancient minaret used for these purposes.” 




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Honourable Mention 2

Sensō-ji-Skytree: “Old Meets New”, Tokyo, Japan

Audric Vitangcol

Philippines, 17 years old


“The Sensō-ji Temple, a prime example of ancient Japanese architecture, stands in juxtaposition to the modern wonder of the Tokyo Skytree. It embodies Tokyo's motto, "old meets new," and reflects Japan's enduring capacity for innovation and tradition. As a Filipino visitor in the hot summer of July 2023, it evoked a warm, enlightening feeling, deepening my appreciation for the Silk Roads and the wonders of our world.”




1st prize

Over the Mountains,

Baset Mahmoudi

Iran (Islamic Republic of), 25 years old


“Hawraman Village in the Kurdistan region, Iran, boasts distinctive stone houses, arranged like stairs, where one roof becomes another’s courtyard. The village enjoys pleasant spring and summer weather but turns cold in winter, making it a captivating rural spot. The architecture of these houses on the mountain shows an ancestral understanding of the landscape and a thoughtful selection of materials.” 


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2nd prize

Light Between Temples,

Nay Lin Htun

Myanmar, 21 years old


“In Myanmar's "Festival of Lights", Kakku Pagoda shines with countless candles, and Pa-O women illuminate their heritage. This photo embodies the Silk Roads’ essence, where diverse traditions unite. The Kakku Pagoda Festival reflects the Silk Roads' lasting legacy, connecting us through shared heritage.” 

3rd prize

The ancient prosperous capital,
Xiangyang, China

Kong Lingkun

China, 21 years old


“This photo was captured in May 2023, within the surroundings of Xiangyang, located in Hubei Province, China. Xiangyang Ancient City holds a distinguished place in Chinese history, renowned for its remarkable architectural defence system. It stands as China's most well-preserved ancient city defence structure, boasting a rich history spanning over 2,800 years.” 




Honourable Mention 1

Maraya, AlUla,
Saudi Arabia

Safia Southey

United States of America, 25 years old


“Maraya, a breathtaking fusion of architecture and nature, nestled within Ashar Valley's desert canyon. This building gracefully merges with its surroundings, materializing from the sands to harmonize with nature's beauty. The modernity of this building is used as a gate of entry to the historical Nabataean site of AlUla in the desert of Saudi Arabia. Across the Silk Roads, architects and planners used tools such as water and mirrors to add reflection and depth to their building structures.”





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Honourable Mention 2

Beauty is in the Details,
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Nodira Juraeva

Uzbekistan, 23 years old


“Shakhi Zinda, nestled in the heart of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, a key stop on the Great Silk Road, embodies the 14th-15th century's beauty and spirit with profound symbolism, contributing to Samarkand’s UNESCO World Heritage status, encompassing not just iconic structures like Registan Square and Bibi Khanum Mosque, but the entire historic town from the 13th Century onwards. In art and architecture, the use of mosaic with a familiar shape and colour, often blue, is spread in many regions across the Silk Roads including, Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.”