A Visit to Tianducheng, China’s Eerily Empty $1 Billion Copy of Paris

Not quite a century ago, Shanghai was known as “the Paris of the East.” (Or it became one of the cities to enjoy that reputation, at any rate.) Today, you can catch a high-speed train in Shanghai and, just an hour later, arrive in a place that has made a much more literal bid for that title: Tianducheng, a district modeled directly on the French capital, complete with not entirely unconvincing faux-Haussmannian apartment buildings and boulevards. Struggling to attract residents in the years after its construction on farmland at the outskirts of Hangzhou in 2007, Tianducheng soon came to be regarded as one of China’s over-ambitious ghost towns.

Bizarre as it may seem to those unfamiliar with recent trends in Chinese city-building, Tianducheng actually belongs to a kind of imitative tradition. “On the outskirts of Beijing, a replica of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is outfitted with cowboys and a Route 66,” writes National Geographic‘s Gulnaz Khan.

“Red telephone booths, pubs, and statues of Winston Churchill pepper the corridors of Shanghai’s Thames Town. The city of Fuzhou is constructing a replica of Stratford-upon-Avon in tribute to Shakespeare.” To get a sense of how Tianducheng fares today, have a look at “I Explored China’s Failed $1 Billion Copy of Paris,” the new video from Youtube travel channel Yes Theory.

The group of friends making this trip includes one Frenchman, who admits to a certain sense of familiarity in the built environment of Tianducheng, and even seems genuinely stunned by his first glimpse of its one-third-scale version of the Eiffel Tower. (It surely pleases visiting Parisians to see that the developers haven’t also built their own Tour Montparnasse.) But apart from Chinese couples in search of a wedding-photo spot, this ersatz Eiffel Tower doesn’t seem to draw many visitors, or at least not during the day. As Yes Theory’s travelers discover, the neighborhood doesn’t come alive until the evening, when such locals as have settled in Tianducheng come out and enjoy their unusual cityscape. The street life of this Champs-Élysées is a far cry indeed from the real one — but in its way, it also looks like a lot more fun.

Related content:

A 5-Hour Walking Tour of Paris and Its Famous Streets, Monuments & Parks

A 3D Animation Reveals What Paris Looked Like When It Was a Roman Town

Japanese Guided Tours of the Louvre, Versailles, the Marais & Other Famous French Places (English Subtitles Included)

A Chinese Painter Specializing in Copying Van Gogh Paintings Travels to Amsterdam & Sees Van Gogh’s Masterpieces for the First Time

The Sights & Sounds of 18th Century Paris Get Recreated with 3D Audio and Animation

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

How Central Park Was Created Entirely By Design & Not By Nature: An Architect Breaks Down America’s Greatest Urban Park

New Yorkers have a variety of sayings about how they want nothing to do with nature, just as nature wants nothing to do with them. As a counterpoint, one might adduce Central Park, whose 843 acres of trees, grass, and water have occupied the middle of Manhattan for a century and a half now. Yet that “most famous city park in the world,” as veteran New York architect Michael Wyetzner puts it in the Architectural Digest video above, is both nature and not. Though Central Park may feel as if it has existed since time immemorial, organically thriving in its space long before the towers that surround it, few large urban spaces had ever been so deliberately conceived.

In the video, Wyetzner (previously featured here on Open Culture for his explanations of New York apartments, subway stations, and bridges, as well as individual works of architecture like Penn Station and the Chrysler Building) shows us several spots in Central Park that reveal the choices that went into its design and construction.

Many were already present in landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux‘s original plan, which they submitted to an open design competition in 1857. Of all the entries, only theirs refused to let the park be cut apart by transverse roads, opting instead to round automobile traffic underground and preserve a continuous experience of “nature” for visitors. (If only more recent urban parks could have kept its example in mind.)

Central Park would be welcome even if it were just a big of expanse of trees, grass, and water. But it also contains many distinctive built structures, such as the much-photographed mall leading to Bethesda Terrace, the “second-oldest cast-iron bridge in the United States,” the dairy that once provided fresh milk to New York’s children, and Belvedere Castle. That last is built at three-quarters scale, “which makes it appear further away than it actually is, and gives it this sort of magical fairy-tale quality,” the same trick that the builders of Disneyland would employ intensively about a century later. But the priorities of Walt Disney and his collaborators differed from the designers of Central Park, who, as Vaux once said, put “nature first, second, and third — architecture after a while.” If a mutually beneficial deal could be struck between those two phenomena anywhere, surely that place is New York City.

Related content:

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An Architect Breaks Down the Design of New York City Subway Stations, from the Oldest to Newest

An Immersive Architectural Tour of New York City’s Iconic Grand Central Terminal

Behold the New York City Street Tree Map: An Interactive Map That Catalogues the 700,000 Trees Shading the Streets of New York City

Architect Breaks Down Five of the Most Iconic New York City Apartments

A Whirlwind Architectural Tour of the New York Public Library — “Hidden Details” and All

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Lascaux Cave Paintings

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Lascaux Caves enjoyed a quiet existence for some 17,000 years.

Then came the summer of 1940, when four teens investigated what seemed to be a fox’s den on a hill near Montignac, hoping it might lead to an underground passageway of local legend.

Once inside, they discovered the paintings that have intrigued us ever since, expanding our understanding of prehistoric art and human origins, and causing us to speculate on things we’ll never have an answer to.

The boys’ teacher reached out to several prehistorians, who authenticated the figures, arranged for them to be photographed and sketched, and collected a number of bone and flint artifacts from the caves’ floors.

By 1948, excavations and artificial lights rendered the caves accessible to visitors, who arrived in droves – as many as 1,800 in a single day.

Less than 20 years later, The Collector’s Rosie Lesso writes, the caves were in crisis, and permanently closed to tourism:

…the heat, humidity and carbon dioxide of all those people crammed into the dark and airless cave was causing an imbalance in the cave’s natural ecosystem, leading to the overgrowth of molds and funguses that threatened to obliterate the 
prehistoric paintings.

The lights that had helped visitors get an eyeful of the paintings caused fading and discoloration that threatened their very existence.

Declaring this major attraction off limits was the right move, and those who make the journey to the area won’t leave entirely disappointed. Lascaux IV, a painstaking replica that opened to the public in 2016, offers even more verisimilitude than the previous model, 1983’s Lascaux II.

A handful of researchers and maintenance workers are still permitted inside the actual caves, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, but human presence is limited to an annual total of 800 hours, and everyone must be properly outfitted with sterile white overalls, plastic head coverings, latex gloves, double shoe covers, and LED forehead lamps with which to view the paintings.

The rest of us rabble can get a healthy virtual taste of these visitors’ experience thanks to the digital Lascaux collection that the National Archeology Museum created for the Ministry of Culture.

An interactive tour offers close-up views of the famous paintings, with titles to orient the viewer as to the particulars of what and where  – for example “red cow followed by her calf” in the Hall of the Bulls.

Click the button in the lower left for a more in-depth expert description of the element being depicted:

The flat red color used for the silhouette is of a uniformity that is seldom attained, which implies a repeated gesture starting from the same point, with complementary angles of projection of pigments. The outlines have been created with a stencil, and only the hindquarters, horns and the line of the back have been laid down with a brush…The fact that the artist used the same pigment for both figures without any pictorial transition between them indicates that the fusion of the two silhouettes was intentional, indicative of the connection between the calf and its mother. This duo was born of the same gesture, and the image of the offspring is merely the graphic extension of that of its mother.

The interactive virtual tour is further complimented by a trove of historic photographs and interviews, geological context, conservation updates and anthropological interpretations suggesting the paintings had a function well beyond visual art.

Begin your virtual interactive visit to the Lascaux Cave here.

Related Content 

Archaeologists May Have Discovered a Secret Language in Lascaux & Chauvet Cave Paintings, Perhaps Revealing a 20,000-Year-Old “Proto-Writing” System

Was a 32,000-Year-Old Cave Painting the Earliest Form of Cinema?

Algerian Cave Paintings Suggest Humans Did Magic Mushrooms 9,000 Years Ago

40,000-Year-Old Symbols Found in Caves Worldwide May Be the Earliest Written Language

– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and Creative, Not Famous Activity Book. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

All the Rivers of the World Shown in Rainbow Colors: A Data Visualization to Explore

Even if you’ve never traveled the seas, you’ve surely known at least a few rivers in your time. And though you must be conscious of the fact that all of those rivers run, ultimately, to the sea, you may not have spent much time contemplating it. Now, thanks to the work of mapmaker and data analyst Robert Szucs, you won’t be able to come upon at a river without considering the particular sea into which it flows. He’s created what he calls “the first ever map of the world’s rivers divided into ocean drainage basins,” which appears just above.

This world map “shows, in different colors, all the rivers that flow into the Atlantic, Arctic, Indian or Pacific oceans, plus endorheic river basins which never reach the coast, mostly due to drying up in desert areas.”

Szucs has also broken it down into “a set of 43 maps in this style for different countries, states and continents,” all of them available to download (and to purchase as large-format posters) from his web site Grasshopper Geography.

We previously featured Szucs here on Open Culture back in 2017, when he published a river-and-stream-visualizing map of the United States made according to a similarly colorful and informative scheme. Examining that work of information design gave me a richer context in which to imagine the rivers around which I grew up in Washington State — the Sammamish, the Snoqualmie, the Columbia — as well as a clearer sense of just how much the United States’ larger, much more complex waterway network must have contributed to the development of the country as a whole.

Of course, having lived the better part of a decade in South Korea, I’ve lately had less reason to consider those particular geographical subjects. But Szucs’ new global ocean drainage maps have brought related ones to mind: it will henceforth be a rare day when I ride a train across the Han River (one of the more sublime everyday sights Seoul has to offer) and don’t imagine it making its way out to the Pacific — the very same Pacific that was the destination of all those rivers of my west-coast American youth. Oceanically speaking, even a move across the world doesn’t take you quite as far as it seems.

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All the Rivers & Streams in the U.S. Shown in Rainbow Colors: A Data Visualization to Behold

The Meandering Mississippi River and How It Evolved Over Thousands of Years Visualized in Brilliant Maps from 1944

That Time When the Mediterranean Sea Dried Up & Disappeared: Animations Show How It Happened

A Radical Map Puts the Oceans — Not Land — at the Center of Planet Earth (1942)

The Mother of All Maps of the “Father of Waters”: Behold the 11-Foot Traveler’s Map of the Mississippi River (1866)

Tour the Amazon with Google Street View; No Passport Needed

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Shane MacGowan & Sinéad O’Connor Duet Together, Performing a Moving Rendition of “Haunted” (RIP)

We’re taking you on a wistful trip down memory lane. Above, Shane MacGowan and Sinéad O’Connor perform “Haunted” on the British music show, The White Room. Originally recorded in 1986 with Cait O’Riordan on vocals, “Haunted” got a second lease on life in 1995 when MacGowan and O’Connor cut a new version, combining her ethereal vocals with his inimitable songwriting and whiskey-soaked voice. Below, they both appear in an interview recorded during the same period.

The two Irish musicians first met in London during the 1980s, starting a friendship that would have its ups and downs. Their collaboration on “Haunted” marked a high point. Then, in 1999, O’Connor called the police when she found MacGowan doing heroin at home. Angered at first, MacGowan later credited the intervention with helping him kick his habit. When Sinéad gave birth to her third child in 2004, she named him Shane, in honor of her friend.

MacGowan and O’Connor both died this year, just months apart from one another. As you watch their duet, you can’t help but feel the sand running through the hourglass. It leaves you feeling grateful for what we had, and sad for what we have lost. May they rest in peace.

A Map of All the Countries Mentioned in the Bible: What The Countries Were Called Then, and Now

“For most of the last two thousand years, the Bible has been virtually the only history book used in Western civilization,” writes Isaac Asimov in his Guide to the Bible. “Even today, it remains the most popular, and its view of ancient history is still more widely and commonly known than is that of any other.” As a result, “millions of people today know of Nebuchadnezzar, and have never heard of Pericles, simply because Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned prominently in the Bible and Pericles is never mentioned at all.” That same disproportionate recognition is accorded to “minor Egyptian pharaohs” like Shishak and Necho, “people whose very existence is doubtful” like Nimrod and the Queen of Sheba, and “small towns in Canaan, such as Shechem and Bethel.”

Asimov notes that “only that is known about such places as happens to be mentioned in the Bible. Ecbatana, the capital of the Median Empire, is remembered in connection with the story of Tobit, but its earlier and later history are dim indeed to most people, who might be surprised to know that it still exists today as a large provincial capital in the modern nation of Iran.” In the video from Hochelaga above, we learn that Iran, then called Persia, is celebrated in the Bible “for ending the Jewish exile and returning Israel to its homeland. The Book of Usaiah gives a special shout-out to its King, Cyrus the Great: he is given the title ‘anointed one,’ or ‘messiah.'”

Though “Persia has played a huge role in the history of the region, and at a time was one of the largest empires of its day,” it’s just one of the surprisingly many lands to receive Biblical acknowledgement. As Hochelaga creator Tommy Trelawny makes clear, “when the Bible was written, the countries as we know them today didn’t even exist.” But though the concept of the modern nation-state hadn’t yet come into being, the places that would give rise to a fair few of the nation-states in the twenty-first century certainly had: “shout-out to Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Persia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Spain, that still exist today, or at least go by the names that appear in the Bible.”

You may notice, Trelawny adds, that “many of these exotic lands are mentioned in the story of King Solomon’s temple, and how precious raw materials were imported from faraway places, from the strongest Lebanese cedars to the finest Indian ivories.” It hardly matters “whether King Solomon was even real; we know these geographical regions exist today, and that Biblical writers seemed to know of them as well.” As depicted in the Bible or other sources, the ancient world can seem scarcely recognizable to us. But if we make the necessary adjustments to our perspective, we can see a process of globalization not dissimilar to what we see in our own societies — whose fascination with distant lands and expensive luxuries seems hardly to have diminished over the millennia.

Related content:

Literary Critic Northrop Frye Teaches “The Bible and English Literature”: All 25 Lectures Free Online

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Introduction to the Old Testament: A Free Yale Course

Introduction to New Testament History and Literature: A Free Yale Course

Ancient Israel: A Free Course from NYU

Isaac Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Witty, Erudite Atheist’s Guide to the World’s Most Famous Book

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

RIP Shane MacGowan: Watch the Celtic Punk Rocker Perform with Nick Cave, Kirsty MacColl & the Dubliners

Shane MacGowan died yesterday, less than a month shy of his 66th birthday — and thus less than a month shy of Christmas, which happened to be the same day. Though coincidental, that association has made perfect sense since 1987, when the Pogues, the Celtic punk band fronted by MacGowan, released “Fairytale of New York.” That duet between MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl (the story of whose production we’ve previously featured here on Open Culture) still reigns supreme as the United Kingdom’s Christmas song, and by now it tends also to make it onto more than a few holiday-season playlists in America and across the world.

Given the popularity of “Fairytale of New York,” many listeners know MacGowan for nothing else. But he was, in fact, a figure of considerable importance to the punk rock of the nineteen-eighties and nineties, to which he brought not just a thoroughly Irish sensibility but also a strong sense of literary craft.

Few well-known punk rockers could inhabit a place with a song in the way he could, or tap into the proper vernacular to inhabit a particular character. (Even the words he gave MacColl to sing as a hard-bitten nineteen-forties woman of the streets have caused no end of struggles with censors.) For this reason, he had the respect of many another serious songwriter: Nick Cave, for instance, with whom he recorded a cover of “What a Wonderful World” in 1992.

During much of MacGowan’s lifetime, his musical achievements were at risk of being overshadowed by the harrowing facts of his life, including his massive, sustained consumption of drugs and alcohol and the variety of injuries and ailments it brought about. In 2015, British television even aired a special about the replacement of his long-lost teeth — which, to judge by the Pogues’ performance of the folk song “The Irish Rover” with the Dubliners above, were barely hanging on even in the late eighties. But in a way, this dissolute appearance was an inseparable part of a distinctive artistic spirit. Shane MacGowan was a rare thing in the world of punk rock (to say nothing of the world of hit Christmas songs): not just an Irish literary voice, but an Irish literary character.

Related content:

The Story of The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” the Boozy Ballad That Has Become One of the Most Beloved Christmas Songs of All Time

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James Joyce Plays the Guitar (1915)

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Jacques Pépin Teaches You How to Make James Beard’s Famous Onion Sandwich

Worried that holiday entertaining may put you in danger of overspending?

Preserve your bank account and those joyful festive feelings by serving your friends onion sandwiches.

We assure you, they come with the utmost of culinary pedigrees.

Esteemed chef and cookbook author Jacques Pépin happily demonstrates the simple recipe, above, confiding that it was a favorite of his late wife’s.

Everything tastes better when cooked with love, even if the chef’s not doing much more than slicing a couple of half moons from an onion and slathering bread with mayo.

(If you’re allergic to either of those ingredients, try swapping them out for radishes and butter.)

Pépin credits his old friend, James Beard, “America’s first foodie”, with the recipe. It caused a sensation when Beard published it in 1965’s Menus for Entertaining.

He revisited the subject in 1974’s Beard on Food: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom from the Dean of American Cooking, while unabashedly fanboying over the humble vegetable in its many forms, from tiny pearl onions to “big delicate Bermudas and the enormous Spanish variety that are in season from fall to late spring:”

Just the other day I was enchanted to receive a box of these giant golden globes, perfectly matched in size and contour, that flourish in the volcanic soil of Oregon and Idaho. They make absolutely superb eating. I love them raw, thinly sliced, with a hamburger or cold meats or in a hearty, flavorful onion sandwich.

The day my gift box arrived I happened to have some slightly stale homemade bread, about two or three days old. I sliced this very thin, buttered it well, covered it with paper-thin slices of Spanish onion, sprinkled them with some coarse salt, and pressed another slice of bread firmed on the top—and there was my supper. I can easily make a whole meal of onion sandwiches, for to me they are one of the greatest treats I know…

Delightful! But hold up a sec. The New York Times’ Tejal Rao, reports that Beard, who had a “reputation for chronic, unapologetic plagiarism” apparently “lifted” the recipe from cookbook authors Irma and Bill Rhode, his one-time partners in a New York City catering company:

It was basic but confident, and it came together with inexpensive ingredients. It was so good that you could easily eat a dozen, and so simple that it barely required a recipe. You glance at the directions, feeling a little silly rolling the sandwiches in chopped parsley, a crucial step that makes the sandwich, and that Irma Rhode said came from Beard. You’d make it once, and then the dish would be committed to memory — as James Beard’s onion sandwich.

Sandwiches of History’s Barry W. Enderwick digs even deeper, truffling up a remarkably terse onion sandwich recipe in Mattie Lee Wehrley’s The Handy Household Hints and Recipes, from 1916.

Interesting how Ms. Wehrley takes care to note that the Toasted Cheese on Bread published directly below that Onion Sandwich is a recipe of her own invention.

It appears we all borrow from the best. Surely, there’s no reason not to get creative and make that onion sandwich your own.

You could start by varying the ingredients…

Soak some slices of red onion in cold water for 5 minutes to take away their raw bite.

Experiment with pumpernickel or dark rye.

Chop up a blend of windowsill herbs for that showy, savory edge.

Or y’know, buy an onion, a bagel and cream cheese as separate components, assemble, and boom!

As Beard remarked, “Designing hors d’oeuvres is not different from designing sets and costumes . . . Food is very much theater.”

Basic Onion Sandwich (serves one):

Remove the crusts from 2 slices of bread or cut them into rounds, reserving the scraps for a more involved recipe requiring breadcrumbs 

Spread mayonnaise on the face of both pieces

Remove a thin slice from the thickest part of a sweet onion and place atop one of the prepared slices

.Sprinkle with sea salt and top with the other slice of bread.

Spread mayonnaise around the perimeter of the sandwich, and roll in the chopped herbs.

(Can refrigerate for up to 6 hours before serving)

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– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and Creative, Not Famous Activity Book. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Get the First Month of Coursera Plus for $1 (Until December 2): Provides Access to 6,000+ Courses and Many Professional Certificates

A quick heads up on a deal: From now until December 2, you can get the first month of Coursera Plus for just $1. (It normally costs $59 per month.) With a Coursera Plus plan, you will have unlimited access to 6,000 courses from top universities and companies. This includes Professional Certificate programs offered by companies like Google, Meta, and IBM, covering such topics as: Data Analytics, Project Management, UX Design, Cybersecurity, Business Intelligence, and more. The cost of the actual certificate is included in the plan.

You can learn more about Coursera Plus and sign up for $1 here. Please note that the $1 deal is only available to new Coursera Plus subscribers, not existing ones. And, again, the offer expires on December 2.

Nota Bene: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

Juilliard Jazz Drummer Hears & Plays Nirvana For The First Time, Figuring Out the Drum Parts in Real Time

What happens when Ulysses Owens Jr–a Jazz musician and jazz educator at Juilliard–hears Nirvana’s “In Bloom” for the first time (minus the drum parts), and then attempts to drum along? What is he listening for? How does he immediately craft an appropriate drum part? And how does it compare to Dave Grohl’s original? Watch above, and you can see how it unfolds…

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Rome Reborn: A New 3D Virtual Model Lets You Fly Over the Great Monuments of Ancient Rome

Thirteen years ago here on Open Culture, we first featured Rome Reborn 2.2, a digital 3D model of the ancient metropolis at the height of its glory in the fourth century. And that rebirth has continued apace ever since, and just last week bore the fruit of Rome Reborn 4.0, through which you can get a flying tour in the video above. Intercut with the computer-generated reconstructions is footage of the ruins of the very same parts of the city as they exist in Rome today. The opportunity for comparison thus provided allows us to appreciate not just the upgrades in the latest Rome Reborn’s level of detail, but also its degree of realism.

With each revision, the fourth-century Eternal City recreated in Rome Reborn looks more like reality and less like a video game. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the same thrill of exploring it that you would from a video game, which is part of the appeal of loading up the latest version of the model on the virtual-reality app Yorescape, a product of the “virtual tourism” company Flyover Zone Productions founded by Rome Reborn’s project leader Bernard Frischer.

And it is Frischer himself who leads the in-app tour of “sites exemplifying the city’s geography, markets, temples, and much, much more,” enriched by “Time Warps spread around the city that allow you to toggle between the view today and the view from the same vantage point in antiquity.”

This is heady stuff indeed for enthusiasts of ancient Rome, who will no doubt be eager to see for themselves the new and improved digital models of ancient Roman structures like the Circus Maximus, the Arch of Titus, the Porticus Liviae, and the Temple of Minerva. These and many others besides appear in the Rome Reborn 4.0 demo reel just above, which shows off the culmination of 27 years of work so far by Frischer and his team. A digital archaeologist at Indiana University, Professor Frischer has pointed out still-absent features to come, such as “avatars infused with AI” with whom the twenty-first-century tourist can interact. We’ll have to wait for future iterations to do so, but surely we can summon the patience by remembering that Rome isn’t reborn in a day.

Related content:

An Animated Reconstruction of Ancient Rome: Take A 30-Minute Stroll Through the City’s Virtually-Recreated Streets

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The Changing Landscape of Ancient Rome: A Free Online Course from Sapienza University of Rome

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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