Viewers around the world can now see what Ancient Olympia, home of the first-ever Olympic Games looked like during its prime more than 2,500 years ago, thanks to an amazing new digital recreation.
The project, which was launched on Wednesday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has virtually re-created Ancient Olympia and is named “Common Grounds.” The program allows users anywhere in the world the chance to explore Ancient Olympia, one of the world’s most important and famous sites, from their laptops, mobile app, or with Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets at the Athens Olympic Museum.
“Digitally preserving Ancient Olympia has created a time capsule of one of history’s most important periods—brought to life in a realistic, engaging way that was never before possible. This new form of digital archiving will continue to offer a portal to another era, helping us understand what humanity has achieved in the past, and reminding us what we’re capable of today,” announced Microsoft.
A team including the Greek government and Microsoft used thousands of images, as well as archaeological research, to reconstruct Ancient Olympia.
“With the digital representation of the Panhellenic sanctuary of Ancient Olympia, its cultural heritage becomes accessible to the whole world,” said Hellenic Republic Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Medoni.
The state-of-the-art reconstruction, she added, also helps to highlight the values of ‘Olympism’, peace, harmony, excellence, and noble rivalry.
The website and the mobile app enable anyone to take a virtual guided tour remotely or in-person at Olympia; exploring a virtual recreation of 27 sites including the ancient Olympic Stadium, a gymnasium where athletes trained, and temples devoted to the Greek gods Hera and Zeus. At the Olympic Museum in Athens, visitors can use Microsoft’s mixed-reality HoloLens headsets that overlay visual information on top of what the viewer sees.
According to Microsoft, the models of the classic buildings were constructed using hundreds of thousands of images taken with cameras and drones and put together using AI technology. The models were then enhanced using information from archaeological research to help viewers understand what the sites would have looked like 2500 years back.
“What ancient Greece created is what humanity around the world still needs, maybe, even more, today than 25 centuries ago,” says Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Virtually Explore Ancient Olympia here