Youth recreate Iraq's ancient Nineveh in VR technology

Look through this virtual reality headset and you'll see the wonders of ancient Iraq.

Game developers from Mosul have rebuilt Nineveh's heritage sites in the digital world.

You can fly over Nergal Gate built 2,700 years ago and see two winged bulls at its entrance.

Project co-ordinator Moyasser Nasseer.

"Since we started the virtual reality lab, we tried to focus on Mosul's archaeological sites. It is an opportunity for people to discover archaeological sites that still exist as well as sites recently destroyed by Daesh (Islamic State) when they occupied Mosul."

Nineveh was an Assyrian city in ancient Mesopotamia.

It's around where modern-day Mosul is located in northern Iraq.

The designers want to create an immersive game, where players solve mysteries to discover Nineveh's heritage sites.

They hope it might draw tourists to an area recovering from recent conflicts,

says artist Basma Qais.

"First of all, we want to redefine the national identity of people living in Mosul, encourage tourism and also have people reconsider their perception of Mosul, especially those who don't know Mosul."

To build the 3D models of Nineveh the team from QAF Media Lab collected data from sites that still exists today.

They also used archive material to rebuild sites damaged over the centuries, or more recently by Islamic State.

With much of the world in lockdown the virtual world might be one way to get a travel kick.

/////

Stone by stone, digital artists and game developers from Mosul are rebuilding Nineveh's heritage sites in the digital world.Flying over the Nergal Gate built some 2700 years ago, visitors of this virtual universe come face to face with the two winged bulls at its entrance, before diving into the courtyard of one of old Mosul's historic houses dating from the Ottoman period.The aim of the project is to create an immersive game played under the headset in virtual reality, during which players from all over the world solve mysteries to discover Ninevehs's archaeological heritage sites.Nineveh, an Assyrian city in ancient Mesopotamia, gave its name to today's Nineveh Governorate where the city of Mosul is located.Starting from scratch, the virtual reality team of Mosul's "QAF Media Lab" set up the project about eight months ago. Project co-ordinator, Moyasser Nasseer, said getting the necessary equipment from abroad to Mosul in northern Iraq proved challenging at first.To build accurate 3D models of Nineveh's heritage sites, the team collected data from sites that still exist today and used archive materials to reconstruct sites damaged over the centuries or more recently, by members of Islamic State.With the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis and the boom of the online entertainment industry, the market for virtual reality games is expanding as well.People under lockdown enjoy being able to travel at least virtually while students and researchers get access to the project data online, Moyasser Nasseer told Reuters.