A brand-new virtual reality app titled My Virtual Armenia will allow anyone in possession of a smartphone to tour the historical sites at their own pace, taking in the scenery with a panoramic “Magic Window” view and listening to audio commentary from regional experts,the Smithsonian Magazine reports.
The app—now freely downloadable on both iOS and Android devices—is the product of deep collaboration between the Smithsonian, the world heritage preservation organization CyArk, and the educational app developer FarBridge.
Attendees of this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is celebrating the rich culture of Armenia through live performances and craft demonstrations on the National Mall, are invited to use the app to enhance their experience. But users all over the world, not just in Washington, D.C., will be able to explore the wonders of Noravank and the Areni caves in high-resolution digital form even after the festival.
CyArk—a stylized shortening of “cyber archive”—has been in the business of immortalizing heritage sites digitally since their founding in 2003. The CyArk team has traveled to dozens of sites all over the globe, painstakingly scanning them from a multitude of locations and angles to generate comprehensive digital point maps of what exactly they look like.