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VirtuaLand-An Immersive Virtual Experience for Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites


  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Ioannina
  • Central Public Library of Konitsa
  • Center for Economic Development and International Relations
  • University “Eqrem Cabej” Gjirokaster


  • The cross-border (CB) area, is characterized by unique cultural heritage that could form the basis for tourism development.
  • However, many of those Cultural Heritage Objects (CHOs) that include the history, tradition, culture of the two nations, are being stored behind glass showcases or in the basement of the Libraries with no access to visitors due to old age or increased significance.
  • Also, those assets cannot be digitised since are too sensitive and their quality is too low due to destruction or age-related corruption.


  • Identify, protect and preserve cultural heritage of the CB through highlighting content included in rare, very old, but too significant assets included in the Libraries.
  • Act as an attractive touristic package that results to a common reference point for all tourists visiting the area in order to have an in-depth experience with tangible and intangible assets and better understand the traditions, history and culture of locals.

VirtuaLand in a nutshell

  • Delivers a Virtual Reality (VR) interactive platform, where selected CHOs are being converted to virtual cultural and touristic scenarios.
  • The CHOs will be mainly acquired from the Repositories “Olympias” and “EpirusMnimon” of the University of Ioannina Library that hold rare essays with significant cultural content of the CB area as well as old assets from the University of Gjirokaster Library and the Central Public Library of Konitsa with increased significance for the CB area.
  • The visitor will be able not only to understand the content, but also to live in the era and the environment associated to the asset and interact with it.
  • Delivers also a library of 3D objects and an open VR platform, where Libraries, professionals in the tourism industry or individuals with limited programming skills will be able to create their own VR stories.
  • The platform will also connect to existing Digital Libraries, created through previous Interreg Greece-Albania initiatives, i.e. Balkaneana, EXPLORAL.
  • Two VR Halls (one in Greece and one in Albania), will be created in order to demonstrate the VR created content to groups of tourists.
  • Thus, the Libraries could be transformed to a source of knowledge and a valuable reference information and starting point for all tourists visiting CB area.
  • Finally, VirtuaLand results to a common brand name between Greece and Albania, the “VirtuaLand” brand that will include VR packages, embedding interactive virtual environment to promote the common natural, cultural and historical identity of the area of interest.
  • This connection of the touristic information with valuable information acquired from oral and written sources, would result to transforming the VR scenarios to a reference point for all tourists in the area, while the VR demonstration could be included to touristic packages.
  • The end users could be divided to:

-tourists, who can get in depth knowledge for the area and get familiar not only with the sightseeing, but with the cultural and historical heritage and feel more like locals.

-Visitors of the Libraries could benefit from the VR infrastructure and get an interactive experience.

-Users that want to have access to the content of the libraries in order not only to read an online book, but acquire in depth knowledge for the CB area of interest and its cultural and historical framework.

  • However, the beneficiaries of the VirtuaLand solution include, also tour operators and tour agents as well as tourism professionals in general.
  • People that have origins from the CB area and would like to look back into their memories and past as well as researchers and historians that want to exploit the content acquired through oral sources to study the common culture and history of the area.
  • They could exploit the VirtuaLand open platform and create additional VR scenarios and cross-border touristic packages to clients, targeted to culture or history highlighting the common heritage and resources and probably the common local people’s memories on historical or cultural events.


Project Outputs

  • One launching and one closing event to inform beneficiaries about the VirtuaLand VR content and technological solution. Also, additional promotion events are organized for tourists and professionals in the tourism sector, such as 2 fam and press demonstration trips and 2 VR Infrastructure demonstration activities (one at each country).
  • Publicity material development (leaflets and a website with translations in Greek, Albanian and English).
  • A video series of 3 small duration promotional video spots, a press kit that will be distributed in 2 international exhibitions as well as a press tour and other publicity material.
  • An open Virtual Reality (VR) platform that will be easily utilised by tourism professionals to create and publish touristic packages in the VR environment.
  • Five (5) VR interactive scenarios that will be based in content included in Cultural Heritage Objects with cross-border (CB) interest.
  • Examples of VR story telling:
  • vr documentary, 100% artificial:
  • 3Δ reconstruction, with overlaid narrator:
  • 360 video (100% actual shooting):
  • A Library with more than 100 different 3D objects, in order to be utilised by tourism professionals and extend the scenarios resulting to interactive VR scenarios for tourists exploring the cultural and natural heritage of the CB area.
  • Two VR Halls (one in Greece and one in Albania), fully equipped at least with 20 VR kits each and the needed equipment and infrastructure in order to demonstrate the VR created content to groups of tourists that are visiting the area.The result will be enhanced user experience and a first contact with the habits, heritage, history and culture of people living in the CB area of interest.

Partner Activities in the first 9 months

  • Overall Project Management (WP1)
  • Organize the kick-off meeting, participation in a tourism exhibition
  • Deliver the Project Communication Plan
  • Project Website and Social Media
  • Identifying the environment and the scenarios
  • VirtuaLand Platform initialization – requirements and specifications
  • Initiate the “3D Objects implementation” Phase
  • Press Kit
  • Participation in a tourism exhibition and organization of kiosk renting, etc.
  • Best practices to identify places and assets with touristic interest
  • Initiate the “3D Objects implementation” Phase
  • Fam and press trip organisation
  • Procurement to create a VirtuaLand VR Hall
  • Press Kit and promotional video creation
  • Participation in a tourism exhibition and organization of kiosk renting, etc.
  • Best practices to identify places and assets with touristic interest
  • Initiate the “3D Objects implementation” Phase and “VR Scenarios development” phase
  • Press Kit and promotional video creation
  • Participation in a tourism exhibition
  • Best practices to identify places and assets with touristic interest
  • A study to “Capturing the assets imported in the scenarios” and “Identifying the environment and the scenarios”
  • Fam and press trip organization
  • Procurement to create a VirtuaLand VR Hall

Administrative issues

  • Register to the MIS and open an account. MIS number for the project: 5041965
  • Prefinancing for Albanian partners (waiting for the actions to follow)
  • Project Logo:
  • Signed copies of partnership agreement.
  • Material for first project report.Start procurements.First information day in Gjirokastra in September 2020 (the same day with the 2nd project meeting).Participation to Philoxenia (November 2020), Tirana (April 2021)  and two international trade fares to be decided after exchange of information.