Throughout history, natural disasters and human conflicts have destroyed a big part of our global heritage.

Now, the world’s most celebrated places have been rebuilt in virtual reality (VR) environments, and this platform is also expecting visitors. For the innovative tourist service, a high-speed internet connection with a computer and a virtual reality (VR) headset is all that’s needed. The most famous locations from all over the world will then be right in front of our eyes!

The concept is called the Open Heritage project, and it includes a collaboration between Google and a California-based nonprofit company, CyArk. The experiment started 15 years ago with CyArk’s goal of wanting to create a permanent record of ancient locations under threat of natural events or desecration.

This innovation potentially preserves our cultural heritage and enables people, independent of location, to visit these remarkable places, easily.

This project has created online 3D models of 26 heritage places in 18 countries. Some of which are:

The 1000-year-old Bamiyan Buddhas Temple of Kukulcan in the Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico. According to a digital archaeologist, Chance Coughenour, this monument is one of the few circular structures discovered in the Mayan ruins. The Mayans, previously, had developed skills to study the sun, sunsets, sunrise, the Equinox, and the stars, so this structure has been believed to express spiritual evolution.

The 1500-year-old Bamiyan Buddhas. This record was created in 2001 by CyArk’s founder, Ben Kacyra, an expatriate Iraqi engineer who now lives in California.

Bagan in Myanmar in 2016. The place has ancient Buddhist temples, which were damaged by a massive earthquake. One of these temples has been closed to visitors. However, the VR equipment can easily give access to enthusiasts.

The Roman city of Pompeii, buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The Native American cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde in southern Colorado.
The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin built in the 18th century.
The Chavín de Huántar, a pre-Inca religious site, in north-central Peru. This structure is situated at an elevation of almost 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). This place does not attract many tourists because of its low accessibility, but the site is indeed incredible.

The plan is to add more locations in the next few months. Some of them are the Washington Monument and the World War I battleground at Flanders Fields in Belgium.