Virtual reality to be used to “rebuild” Ruins of St. Paul’s

The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) wants to finish this year a “3D reconstruction” of the city’s ex-libris, the Ruins of St. Paul’s, through virtual reality.

The IC said in a response sent to Lusa that the objective is to launch “immersive” visits to the building of the former Madre de Deus School through the use of virtual reality glasses and other equipment available on site.

The guided tours, in Portuguese, English, Cantonese and Mandarin will be launched for residents and tourists, “after a period of testing and adjustment”.

IC is currently researching and collecting historical data for the virtual reality exhibition, with the support of the Diocese of the Catholic Church in Macau.

Once the collection is complete, the production of the virtual reality will be handed over to a specialized company.

Future virtual reality visits will “show the unique history and culture of the fusion of Chinese and Western cultures in Macau over hundreds of years” and improve the city’s image as a destination for cultural tourism, IC said.

The Igreja da Madre de Deus was built by the Society of Jesus in the second half of the 16th century, having been destroyed by fire in 1835.

The Ruins of St. Paul’s include the church’s granite facade and staircase and the archaeological remains of the nearby Colégio de São Paulo, the first western university in East Asia.

On February 4, at the inauguration ceremony, the new president of the IC, Leong Wai Man, promised to commit to the safeguarding and management of the Historic Center of Macau, which includes several buildings and monuments of Portuguese origin, including the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

The Historic Center of Macau was inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List on July 15, 2005, having been designated as China’s 31st World Heritage Site.

The classification includes several historic buildings built by the Portuguese, including the Leal Senado building and square, the Holy House of Mercy, the churches of Sé, São Lourenço, Santo António, Santo Agostinho, São Domingos or the fortress of Guia..