A new digital platform that offers users a unique experience of Greek history through a virtual tour of Ancient Olympia, has just been launched and is available online for everyone around the world.
The new platform, funded and created by the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency along with a team of archaeologists offers users a personalized tour of Olympia’s archaeological sites, and allows these virtual visitors to take control of their journey throughout Ancient Olympia.
The aim of the platform is to educate the public about the significance of the Olympian sites, monuments and sculptures located at the site where the Olympic Games were born, and to promote the cultural resources of the wider area of Katakolo – Ancient Olympia, which has become a large tourist attraction over the last decade.
“This new platform will be a modern way of highlighting archaeological sites, cultural wealth, tourist infrastructure and attractions, through an integrated system with a specially designed interface environment,” the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency said during the launching of the virtual tour platform.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, with various countries in lockdown around the world, people have the opportunity to travel to Ancient Olympia through their screen, choose any of the available routes and paths within the archaeological site and wander among the ancient monuments, just like they would in real life.
The online destination management platform provides potential visitors with relevant information about the most important points of tourist interest and also encourages them to actively participate in various activities around the site.
“The digital content that will be offered, will have a historical sequence and thematic correlation, thus depicting the historical development of the ancient city and allowing visitors to explore the modern and BC Olympia on their own” AMNA stated.
On the digital platform the visitor is be able to, among other things:
- Tour Ancient Olympia’s archaeological sites and choose different destination routes
- Stop at various points of interest and see monuments around the area
- Access photos, texts, videos, audio documents, maps, and many more resources
- Browse events that happened in Ancient Olympia as well as modern day events that honour the athletic games of the city
- Explore the cultural wealth of the area through advanced multimedia presentation applications
- Contribute to the platform by adding personal content, communicating with other visitors and networking with people from around the world.
Interactive maps will also be provided to all visitors, with suggested routes and detailed presentations of each stop point featuring important attractions.
General information, such as duration of each route, distance and list of monuments will be provided as well, to make the experience as realistic as possible.
At the same time, an electronic calendar service will show all the important event dates relating to Ancient Olympia, such as sports competitions, and will enable users to virtually travel back in time.
“This is an extraordinary chance for all people, who have love for the Greek culture and history, or are eager to learn more about it, and stay inside their homes all day long because of the coronavirus pandemic. People who did not get to travel over the summer will now feel like tourists in this magnificent ancient city” AMNA reported.
Throughout the virtual journey, three poles sites have been highlighted as the biggest touristic attractions of the area, and offer users special activities and features.
“Ancient Ilida, Ancient Olympia and the Temple of Apollo the Great are poles of international scope, with enormous archaeological and wider scientific significance” AMNA claimed.
Archaeologists that worked on the platform also explained that “based on the number of visitors, these three sites, are the main (almost exclusive) pillar of the cultural / archaeological product of the region of Western Greece. Among them, the most popular is the site of Ancient Olympia, the site of the Olympic Games, which has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989. The annual number of visitors to the site (before the pandemic) exceeds 450,000 per year, making it 5th most visited archaeological site in Greece.”
“In total, the archeological site of Ancient Olympia, in 2014, attracted 98% of the total visitors to archaeological sites in the region. Also, the area in Ilia and Olympia is characterized by a developmental dualism” AMNA described.
“On the one hand, it has an unprecedented gateway for fun touristic spots (such as the Katakolo port) and an emblematic cultural site of universal value (Ancient Olympia), the sustainability of which requires the implementation of a comprehensive and constant economic and environmental reconstruction.
"On the other hand, there is an urban, semi-urban and a mountainous hinterland, with significant growth potential, complementary to coastal development, but also to some extent autonomous, which is reaped only a little by the tourist flows” AMNA stressed about the individuality of the areas surrounding Olympia and how they have turned into tourist-favourite destinations.
The municipality of Ilia is also working on various other projects in the city, to enhance the experience of tourists, but also enable local people to “utilize and promote the surplus of cultural, natural and tourist resources of the area, so that the rich history of Olympia and its unique landscape and nature, are not only complementary to the dominant tourism product, but also a lever for the development of the wider region.”
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