The new app allows tourists who travel to Athen’s Acropolis to see what the site looked like 2,500 years ago.
With only a smartphone, tourists can now see what the Parthenon looked like back when it was used as a temple of Athena thousands of years ago – paint included.
The Greek telecoms provider Cosmote, with the support of the country’s Culture Ministry, has created Chronos, an augmented reality (AR) application that superimposes a digital image onto several buildings within the Acropolis, including the Parthenon temple, the adjacent Roman theatre and parts of the Acropolis Museum.
The app is named after the Greek word for time and the leader of the mythological Titans.
The images provide insights into how the site looked thousands of years ago. Visitors only have to point their phones to a part of the building to see the marble sculptures that used to be housed there before they were removed and placed on display at the British Museum in London.
In addition, the app also shows the colours featured in the statues and walls, and even the pool of water upon which a statue of the goddess Athena used to stand.
“That’s really impressive … the only time I’ve seen that kind of technology before is at the dentist,” Shriya Parsotam Chitnavis, a tourist from London, told AFP.
“I didn’t know much about [the Acropolis], and I had to be convinced to come up here. Seeing this has made it more interesting – seeing it in colour. I’m more of a visual person, so this being interactive really helped me appreciate it.”
The app is part of an effort to make the Acropolis more accessible to people all across the world. It could allow people to learn about the history of Greece without having to travel to the country, or even spare some visitors the crowded uphill walk and long wait to see the iconic monuments up close.
“Accessibility is extending to the digital space,” Lina Mendoni, the culture minister of Greece, said at a preview launch event for the Chronos app in May. “Real visitors and virtual visitors anywhere around the world can share historical knowledge.”
The designers said they will continue building on the free app, which boasts features such as an artificial intelligence-powered virtual guide.
“As technologies and networks advance, with better bandwidth and lower latencies, mobile devices will be able to download even higher-quality content,” Panayiotis Gabrielides, a senior official at Cosmote, said.
Greece has embraced digitisation over the past few years to draw in more tourists and increase accessibility. Two years ago, the country’s culture minister partnered with Microsoft to launch an immersive digital tour at ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, in southern Greece.
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