JERUSALEM, Israel – Every spring, the streets of Jerusalem are bursting with Jewish and Christian pilgrims ready to celebrate Passover and Easter. And this year the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins in April, too.
This year, that won’t be possible due to the devasting COVID-19 global pandemic. However, technology is allowing people from around the world to visit the heart of Jerusalem from their own homes. Israel’s iconic Tower of David Museum is using virtual reality to allow pilgrims to visit the Western Wall during Passover, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during Easter and at the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.
The museum Innovation Lab has created an immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience that anyone with an internet connection can access. “Visitors” will be able to see Jerusalem as it is today and how it looked 2000-years-ago with several virtual reality tours.
“The Tower of David Museum’s Innovation Lab has worked with companies such as Blimey and Lithodomos and is supported by the Jerusalem Development Authority. The tours and experiences encapsulate the essence of the innovative vision at the Tower of David Museum - to create a modern, dynamic, unique language for the rich story of Jerusalem. VR can enable emotions felt as close to possible as when one is physically present. We hope that for those looking for hope in these uneasy times … and for those that might turn to prayer and to Jerusalem - might find a little bit of hope when becoming immersed in the holy city of Jerusalem,” says Eilat Lieber, Director of the Tower of David Museum.
Lieber hopes the virtual tours will give people hope as they continue to battle the coronavirus.
“These are challenging times for us all,” she continued. “Millions of prayers and dreams of people from all over the world have been caught between the towers, spires, and domes of the city for thousands of years. The city has given hope and inspiration for centuries.”
People will be able to access the virtual reality tours free of charge from the first day of Passover, through Easter, to the first day of Ramadan – April 9-24.
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This story was originally published on March 31, 2020.