The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has recently introduced an innovative initiative that brings the historic Hegra’s Tomb of Lihyan, Son of Kuza, into the digital domain. Situated around 20km north of AlUla town, this UNESCO World Heritage is a fully immersive 3D model within the metaverse.
Hegra’s Tomb of Lihyan, as the largest tomb among more than a hundred in the region, provides a valuable window into the Nabatean civilization’s legacy. These tombs, meticulously carved into sandstone cliffs, offer insights into the Nabateans’ cultural and religious practices during their prominence from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD.
The site, also known as Mada’in Salih, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, underlining its significance on a global scale. The recent digital recreation by the RCU offers a novel way for people to engage with this historical gem.
Through this digital platform, visitors can virtually explore the Tomb of Lihyan in a 360-degree tour, set amidst a realistic representation of AlUla’s desert surroundings. What sets this experience apart is the opportunity to virtually step through the tomb’s entrance, an option not available in the physical world. This virtual journey allows users to navigate through the site and access informative points that provide historical context and insights.
In addition to the immersive exploration, the digital representation hosts a variety of virtual events. Among them is a version of the AlUla Moments season, designed to offer participants engaging tours and activities, showcasing different aspects of the site.
The digital experience is made possible through the Decentraland platform, which facilitates the creation and exploration of virtual spaces. It serves as a platform for people to interact with historical and cultural sites in a unique and accessible way.
This initiative underscores the evolving ways in which technology can be harnessed to enhance our understanding of cultural heritage. By making the Tomb of Lihyan accessible to a broader audience through the metaverse, the Royal Commission for AlUla has taken a significant step toward the preservation and sharing of historical treasures.