VIRTUAL PLATFORMS FOR HERITAGE PRESERVATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST: THE CASE OF MEDIEVAL CAIRO

Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem, Gehan Selim, Sabah Mushatat, Abdelaziz Almogren

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26687/archnet-ijar.v11i3.1404

Abstract

Much of the effort in VH is directed towards accurate representation of historic structures, objects or artefacts. There is little attention is paid, however, to the human aspects of city life, the intangible heritage to which people can actually relate. Digital models of historic buildings and spaces only give a sense of precision. Yet, rituals, human attitude and cultural traditions remained a gap in current research and advanced technology in heritage visualization. Virtual Heritage Environments (VHE) suffer from the lack of ‘thematic interactivity’ due to the limited cultural content and engaging modules largely used in photorealistic video gaming systems. In order to approach virtual fidelity and accurate reproduction of historic environments, this paper reports on a research process to investigate and incorporate a Cultural-feed into digital platforms of Virtual Heritage. In doing so, the paper focuses on the Middle East in general and Medieval Cairo in particular. It discusses conceptual and practical framework for the development of virtual heritage platforms as a research, educational and engagement tool that brings historic spaces and buildings back to the recognition of the public eye of the ordinary user. It analyses current practices and projects of the virtual heritage technologies and reports on field work that took place in Islamic Cairo with Five Start-Up entrepreneurs.

Keywords

virtual heritage; digital archaeology; architectural history; urban heritage; visualisation; historic buildings

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