Venetian Tower

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As part of the EU4Culture project, in 2022-2023, the Venetian Tower was renovated and transformed into the first Albanian Heritage Interpretation Center. It now offers visitors the chance to explore historical events and places through state-of-the-art digital and multimedia tools. These include VR headsets, audio guides, dome multimedia projections, and other activities that combine entertainment with a more in-depth look at the city’s ancient history. Our contribution to the project was heavily focused on the VR/AR experience, where we developed 3 VR installations and 4 AR applications for the real physical telescopes on the tower terrace, overlooking the sea.

The Solution

The onsite VR setup includes 3 pairs of headsets in three positions within the tower. These aim to interpret Durres’ history and promote its cultural heritage sites.

Three 3D reconstructions of important sites were created to provide a poetic, immersive experience through different periods: Ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.

In the Ancient Roman period, visitors are immersed in the amphitheater and Gladiator Games. The Byzantine period shows a day in the Byzantine Forum, the heart of Durres. The Ottoman period is represented by a trip inside an Edward Lear painting, with animated people and an exact recreation of the scene.

At the same time, the tower holds an installation with 5 periscopes, each pointing in a different direction in the city.

Periscopes 1 and 2 (towards the sea) showcase the Battle of Dyrrhachium and typical Roman ships preparing for the battle, with their specifications and features explained.
Periscope 3 is pointed towards Ahmet Zog’s Villa, where the static image of the once magnificent palace is brought to life using the most advanced technologies, giving a glimpse of the experience of how the villa used to look and feel when it was built.
Periscope 4 is pointed towards the remaining walls, where a complete 3D reconstruction of the ancient fortress is displayed with a fly-through experience showcasing the monumental size and feel of the city in that period.
Periscope 5 is pointed toward the horizon and gives visitors a chance to experience what an invasion might have looked like. Translating today’s locations and combining them with the historical clips of the Italian invasion in 1939, visitors can get a thorough feeling of how the city looked in that period of history.

The Results

By implementing the  first  dome projection and first immersive VR experiences in Albania we have opened the door for a new way to share history and culture in this area. Since the opening, the reception has been impressive, boosting visits and spreading awareness.

Project highlights

  • Created a complete 3D reconstruction of the ancient walls of Durres, based on the archeological maps and findings;
  • Implemented AI technology to animate and bring objects to life
  • First of its kind experience of traveling inside a painting in Southern Europe
  • 3D reconstruction of the Byzantine Forum based on the excavation and findings
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