Tourists can now see on their smartphones what famous Greek monuments, such as the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis, looked like centuries ago. Including the statues that were stolen more than 200 years ago and are now on display in the British Museum in London.
Visitors to the Acropolis only have to point their smartphone at the Parthenon and the temple will appear on the screen in all its glory. In an app that has the blessing of Greece’s Ministry of Culture, a digital overlay allows visitors to not only see what the building looked like, but also zoom in and out and wander through the temple as archaeologists believe it must have looked like 2,500 years ago.
One of the most striking features is that many of the figures on the Parthenon were painted in bright colors, and the statue of the goddess Athena stood in the main room of the temple near a shallow pool of water.
Three other monuments on the Acropolis, a nearby Roman theater and parts of the Acropolis Museum are also included in the app.
The app is called ‘Chronos’, and is named after the mythological king of the Titans and the Greek word for ‘time’. The app uses augmented reality to show the original view of the building on the screen, corresponding to the real world as you walk around.
The Greek Ministry of Culture is a late but enthusiastic adopter of this technology, and hopes to boost tourism to Greece, which has suffered a significant decline after the Covid pandemic and the forest fires in Rhodes. An extensive digital tour of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, is also available, created by Microsoft.