The Rotunda, with its unique interior mosaics, is one of the most important monuments of the Late Roman world. [Ministry of Culture]
The Google Arts & Culture initiative, an online platform of images and videos of artworks and cultural artefacts from around the world, has recently added to its repertoire the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Thessaloniki.
“Thessaloniki: An Open Museum of Early Christian and Byzantine Art” includes exquisite photographs, videos and interactive street view features of the city’s ancient and Byzantine monuments, collectively inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1988.
Included among the sites is the city’s 8 kilometer-long fortification walls, built during the reign of the emperor Theodosius, the Rotunda, famous for its early Christian mosaics, the Church of Aghia Sophia, and the iconic White Tower.
The hugely successful Google Arts & Culture platform, which launched in 2011, uses high-resolution images and a range of interactive features, including Gallery View, to enable virtual visitors to explore artworks, sites and galleries at a number of museums and partner institutions worldwide.
The addition of Thessaloniki’s famous sites and monuments to the multilingual platform, presented in collaboration with the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization, is part of Google’s ongoing promotion of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Participation is doubly beneficial as UNESCO promotes destinations appearing on Google’s Arts & Culture platform through a variety of methods, including its own websites, social media and newsletters.
The Deputy Regional Head of the Metropolitan Unit of Thessaloniki and President of the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization, Mrs. Voula Patoulidou, commented: “The promotion of the UNESCO Monuments of Thessaloniki on the specialized platform is in addition to their presentation by the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization. The long-term project, in both print and digital media, combines information for educational purposes and for the promotion of cultural tourism, supported by UNESCO.”