3D in the CORECT project - Common Religious Cultural Pathways

The Co mmon Re ligious C ultural Pat hways (CORECT) project is a concerted effort to study, record and promote the common religious cultural heritage across the Greece-Bulgaria border.  To this end, the project exploits recent ICT advances in order to create innovative tools.

A Byzantine church

The CORECT Digital Recording Tool  enables religious heritage objects and monuments to be recorded and associated with digital resources (images, audio and video files, as well as 3D object representations).  The tool then makes them accessible to a wide range of users who can search and retrieve, and also use the map and timeline navigation application.

The 3D representations play a complimentary role in the project’s philosophy and implementation. They have been created selectively of a few monuments or details of monuments with both 3D models and the 3D panoramas being produced. The 3D models give users the possibility to interact and have a closer and detailed look at entire buildings, interesting parts of them or sacred objects. On the other hand, the 3D panoramas offer a wide-angle photography view of recorded monuments. Thus, the user can navigate through and explore buildings, entire complexes or area views.

In general, the 3D object representations in this project, were chosen because they constitute an advanced technological solution with which the various users can access and handle the digitally recorded monuments in high detail and resolution, closely, from various points of view. They extend the textual information, the static audio and video files, the 2D digital images and offer choices to users that would be available in real conditions, only if they were in situ.

The textual scholarly information related to the included monuments was mainly available in either Greek or Bulgarian and located in conventional libraries. The resources were digitised as a result of the opportunity given with the CORECT project. Texts were produced in Greek, English and Bulgarian, high resolution photographs were taken and in certain cases, 3D models and panoramas were created.

Examples of sites digitised in 3D by the CORECT project

Examples of sites digitised in 3D by the CORECT project

Some examples of the monuments  recorded through the CORECT project are the Church of Virgin Mary in the Monastery of Icosifinissa at mount Pangaion, Greece  and the St. Trinity Church in Bansko, Bulgaria . These churches rank among the most important ecclesiastical monuments of Byzantine or post-Byzantine era in the provinces of the two neighboring countries. They are highly appreciated in terms of both art history and worship. The history of the Church of Icosifinissa goes back to the 5th century AD and it is part of a monastery complex. The St. Trinity Church, dating to the 19th century, is one of the symbols of the city with very important icons from the famous painting school in Bansko.

Other,  less known monuments were also documented within the context of the project and they were made available to the public. Important but later buildings, details of these structures, significant objects associated to them were chosen and fully digitally recorded. Thus, modest monuments in border villages of both countries become entirely accessible for both virtual visits and scholarly research.  Examples include the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary in Lefkimi, Greece  and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist Church in Melnik, Bulgaria . The first church is a three-aisled basilica with a wooden roof of the era of Turkish occupation. It has fine portable icons dating to the 18th and 19th century and a wood carved iconostasis. The second one dates back to the end of the 18th or at the beginning of 19th century. It is also a three-aisled basilica serving as a cemetery temple. Its iconostasis is distinguished for its great artistic value, richly decorated with drawings and woodcarvings by the icon-painters Lazar Argirov and Yakov Nikolai.

Overall, the technological tools involved in this project were all put in the service of documenting, researching and promoting religious heritage in the cross-border area of Greece and Bulgaria. Especially the 3D representation, a modern technology not regularly used in cultural recording, did not function as an end in itself but served the general scope that was to reveal to everyone the religious cultural treasures in all their grandeur.

Thus, the barriers of distance and language were surpassed and a holistic and extremely rich record of monuments is made available in the World Wide Web for everyone to see and explore.

The CORECT project is funded by European Territorial Cooperation Programme Greece-Bulgaria 2007-2013 (http://corect.ceti.gr ).