Explore Ancient Olympic Grounds Using AI Technology From Microsoft

Explorers who can't make it to the Athens Olympic Museum can also check out the project online.

The Philippeion at The archaeological place of ancient Olympia in Greece

A new collaboration between Microsoft and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport has brought the site of the first Olympics to life using artificial intelligence.

In the exhibit "Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds," at the Athens Olympic Museum, visitors will be able to experience the original home of the Olympic games, through a Microsoft HoloLens 2 exhibition, walking through the Olympics as they were held more than 2,000 years ago.

"With the digital representation of the Panhellenic sanctuary of Ancient Olympia, its cultural heritage — but also the values of Olympism, peace, harmony, excellence and noble rivalry — becomes accessible to the whole world through the use of state-of-the-art technology," Lina Mendoni, Hellenic Republic Minister of Culture and Sports, said in a statement.

"Guests" to Ancient Olympia will be able to "see" 27 monuments from the ancient site, including the original Olympic Stadium, the temples of Zeus and Hera, and the workshop of Phidias, a renowned Greek sculptor.

The team behind the project used both on-the-ground cameras and drones to take hundreds of thousands of images. Then, Microsoft AI created photorealistic models of the sites.

Through 3D AI, the sites are brought to life in extremely precise detail. The buildings in the project were created in partnership with painstaking research from the Hellenic Ministry's expert archaeologists, ensuring that the renderings are as true to life as possible.

Viewers will also be able to see the timelines of each site, exploring how each changed over time.

"The project to digitally preserve ancient Olympia is a stunning achievement in cultural heritage, bringing together humanity and cutting-edge technology to benefit the world and empower coming generations with new ways to explore our past," Brad Smith, Microsoft president and vice chairman, added in a statement.

Explorers who can't make it to the Athens Olympic Museum can also peruse the project online.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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