TEHRAN: If the purpose of heritage museums is to build a bridge between the past and the present, virtual reality (VR) is undeniably one of the most innovative construction tools at their disposal.
In a recent agreement reached between the Yazd Water Museum and two Iranian startups, the museum, which features a lesser-known world of qanats, underground aqueducts and primitive irrigation systems in the oasis city, will be subject to a virtual reality project.
Virtual reality is exactly as its name suggests a technology that audibly and visually transports people to another place or time. It is a powerful tool that has become a commonplace in industries such as video games in recent years, but there are also a growing number of museums and heritage sites that also use virtual reality.
In July 2017, the historic structure of the city of Yazd was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled between the north of Dasht-e Kavir and the south of Dasht-e Lut on a plain, the oasis city enjoys a very harmonious public-religious architecture dating from different eras.
The Yazd is often referred to by almost all its visitors as a pleasant place to stay or a destination “not to be missed”.
The water is brought to the city by the qanat system. Each district of the city is built on a qanat and has a community center. The concept of Persian Qanat was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016 as it provides exceptional testimony of cultural traditions and civilizations in desert areas with an arid climate.
Land use in buildings includes walls and roofs by building vaults and domes. The houses are built with courtyards below ground level, which serve underground areas. Windbreaks, patios and thick earth walls create a pleasant microclimate.
Partially covered alleys along with streets, public squares and courtyards contribute to a pleasant urban quality. The city escaped the modernization trends that destroyed many traditional land cities.
It survives today with its traditional districts, the qanat system, traditional houses, bazaars, hammams, water cisterns, mosques, synagogues, Zoroastrian temples and the historic Dolat-Abad garden. The city enjoys the peaceful coexistence of three religions: Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism.