Saudi's Royal Commission for AlUla enters the metaverse
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Saudi’s Royal Commission for AlUla enters the metaverse

Saudi’s Royal Commission for AlUla enters the metaverse

RCU has created a 3D model of Hegra’s Tomb of Lihyan, son of Kuza, a UNESCO World Heritage site

Divsha Bhat

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has officially entered the metaverse with an immersive 3D model of Hegra’s Tomb of Lihyan, son of Kuza, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Created in the vast and rapidly expanding digital landscape of Decentraland, the AlUla monument will be accessible to virtual tourists. They can explore its unique features from anywhere in the world.

Marking AlUla’s first-ever venture into the innovative digital realm and the first UNESCO World Heritage site in the metaverse, a trip to Hegra will be just as impressive, inspiring, and mesmerising as in real life, a statement said.

Visitors can take a 360-degree tour of Hegra’s tomb.

In addition, Decentraland tourists can also experience Hegra’s history by entering the tomb and activating information points. This will reveal the story in vivid and interactive detail.

Although inaccessible in the real world, virtual visitors can step through the tomb’s imposing doorway, presented in realistic dimensions.

As RCU’s metaverse presence evolves and grows, the digital Hegra will also play host to a calendar of virtual events and more that visitors’ avatars can fully explore.

Information portals will direct visitors to different areas of AlUla’s heritage. This will expand awareness of its 200,000 years of human history while radically reimagining its tradition of sharing knowledge for the 21st Century and beyond as part of Saudi’s Vision 2030 National Transformation Programme to empower technological transformation and innovation.

Eng Amr AlMadani, CEO of RCU, said: “RCU’s entry into the metaverse is a groundbreaking development in innovation and virtual reality tourism that connects the whole world with the wonders of AlUla.

“As the custodians of a unique culture, fascinating heritage, and ancient traditions, the adoption of the latest technologies represents the next exciting step for RCU’s commitment to empower AlUla’s regeneration – moving from the physical to the digital realm and accessible to everyone, everywhere.

“A new frontier for innovation and collaboration, our debut, which also sees the first UNESCO World Heritage site enter the metaverse, represents an exciting evolution of AlUla’s unique heritage, acting as an open invitation to travellers, academics and digital explorers to log in and witness AlUla like never before.”

UNESCO designated Hegra as Saudi’s first World Heritage Site in 2008. Located 20km north of AlUla town, the site covers a total of 52 hectares and features 110 tombs amid countless rock formations, with the Tomb of Lihyan, son of Kuza, the largest at 22 metres tall.

Referred to as the ‘lonely castle’ in English because of its distance from other monuments, it is the largest preserved site of the ancient Nabataean civilisation south of Petra in Jordan.

Global creative consultancy frog, part of Capgemini Group, was appointed to develop and facilitate Hegra’s metaverse debut. In addition, it was appointed to support RCU’s strategy to propel innovation and technological advances across the country.

Read: Dubai’s DEWA launches platform in the metaverse

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