The University of the Algarve (UAlg) will participate in a project that aims to show the Mediterranean cultural heritage of UNESCO, using virtual and augmented reality to make guided tours in the territory through an interactive platform.
The iHERITAGE project, involves 10 partners from six Mediterranean countries: Italy, Egypt, Spain, Jordan, Lebanon and Portugal, lasting an estimated 30 months, i.e., until 2023.
Speaking to Lusa, the coordinator of the project in Portugal, Alexandra Gonçalves, explained that, in the Algarve, participation in the project “has to do with the creation of virtual content associated with UNESCO’s cultural heritage, in this case, the Mediterranean diet”. After Fado was included in the Representative List of The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011, the Mediterranean diet was the second Portuguese element inscribed in this list of the United Nations Educational, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) in 2013.
“We hope to contribute to the appreciation of the Mediterranean diet in the Algarve and to a greater visibility of the concept, which is intangible”, she said while recognising that the fact that it is an intangible heritage presents some challenges.
In countries such as Jordan, the project includes the design of virtual visits to the ancient city of Petra, but in the case of Portugal we can go through virtual visits to an olive oil mill or a grain silo, exemplified. “It is a way to enrich the visit to an intangible cultural heritage that is sometimes not so visible, having points scattered throughout the territory”, she considered, noting that the goal, in the case of the Algarve, is “to create an application that serves for virtual guided tours to selected sites”.
According to the professor of the School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism of UAlg, the project presupposes the involvement of the community to try, together, to define “proposals of virtual animation of elements of the Mediterranean diet”.
After a process of defining the scenarios in which we will work, which will take place between January and March, the ultimate goal is the creation of a Mediterranean platform that brings together “these heritages associated with UNESCO”.
The project is part of the Research Centre on Tourism, Sustainability and Welfare (CinTurs) of the University of the Algarve and is funded by the ENI CBC program of the Mediterranean Sea Basin.