​Tomb of Vietnamese emperor among world monuments digitized by Google

Tomb of Vietnamese emperor among world monuments digitized by Google
A 3D reconstruction of the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam. Video: Open Heritage

The Tomb of Tu Duc, a 19th-century Vietnamese emperor, is one of 30 iconic monuments digitized in a Google project aimed at preserving some of the world’s most significant heritage sites.

The digital collection was published on Thursday on Google’s Arts & Culture platform on April 18 in honor of World Heritage Day.

The collection is part of Google’s Open Heritage project, an initiative which enables Internet users around the world to explore iconic locations in 3D, discover the tools used by digital preservationists, and download high-resolution images of world heritage sites.

The Tomb of Tu Duc is the first monument in Vietnam to be included in the collection.

An aerial photo of the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam. Photo: Open Heritage

An aerial photo of the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam. Photo: Open Heritage

Emperor Tu Duc’s 75-year reign, from 1848 to 1883, was the longest of any of Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty monarchs.

His tomb, located in the central city of Hue, was built between 1864 and 1867 and served as his workplace during the last years of his reign.

The process of digitizing the Tomb of Tu Duc began in the summer of 2018 when CyArk, a non-profit organization which specializes in digitally recording and archiving the world’s cultural heritage sites, began collaborating with the Hue Monuments Conservation Center (HMCC) to document several monuments related to Emperor Tu Duc at the Hue Monuments Complex.

Besides his tomb, other monuments are the Hoa Khiem Temple, Tu Duc Tomb Stele Building, Tu Duc’s Queen’s tomb, and the nearby An Dinh Palace.

The HMCC recently completed a restoration project directed at several buildings located in the complex and wanted baseline documentation of the structures for conservation purposes as well as digital assets to be used to promote the site.

“Some of the results from the project will be available to visitors in a Palace Library we expect to open in the near future,” said a HMCC representative.

CyArk specialists capture photos inside the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam for digital preservation. Photo: Open Heritage

CyArk specialists capture photos inside the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam for digital preservation. Photo: Open Heritage

CyArk completed a photogrammetrical survey of both the interior and exterior of the monuments using professional cameras and camcorders, while the scanning of the monuments was done using a state-of-the-art FARO X330 laser scanner, Google said.

The Hue Monuments Complex is located in Thua Thien – Hue Province in the geographical center of Vietnam.

The complex suffered from damage during the series of wars which took place in the country during the 20th century, as well as modern development and expanding human settlements, according to Google.

CyArk president John John Ristevski said the organization is already working with authorities in Hue to digitally preserve the Tombs of Emperors Minh Mang and Khai Dinh.

The project will go hand-in-hand with training personnel at the HMCC to carry out similar monument digitization on their own, Ristevski said.

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