A new virtual reality app allows visitors to Jerusalem to see the city as it looked during the heyday of the Second Temple.
The paid application, called Lithodomos VR, simulates the way Jerusalem appeared during the first century CE, when Jesus lived and before the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
The app, launched in December 2016, will be updated as new archaeological research concerning the Temple Mount and its environs emerges, Simon Young, a doctoral researcher at the University of Melbourne who designed the app, told LiveScience on Thursday.
“The VR content that we are deploying on the app is the result of carefully researched material from archaeological excavations, site plans, elevation drawings, photographs of textures and [geographic information system] mapping, as well as topographical data from NASA’s ASTER digital elevation models,” he said.
The application includes virtual reality scenes of Jerusalem from the period after Herod renovated the Temple, as well as view from the digitally rebuilt Robinson’s Arch.
“From there, you can see the slope of Mount Zion and the Roman-period settlements, as well as the back of a theater, and to the left you can see the Antonia Fortress [the barracks of the Roman garrison] and the Jewish settlement. So, you can see about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) in every direction,” Young told the site.
Lithodomos costs $1.99 for Android, and $2.99 on an iPhone.
The Israel Antiquities Authority also announced Thursday that it’s working on the development of an interactive digital “Sanhedrin Trail” crossing the Galilee. The virtual reality application allows visitors traveling certain segments of the cross-Galilee trail to view recreated heritage sites from the second and third centuries CE, when Jewish scholars were compiling the Mishnah and Gemara.
The project has already begun marking the route through the ancient city of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.