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St Andrews Cathedral in Scotland recreated online

People can now explore St Andrews Cathedral, Scotland’s largest medieval church, as it looked in the Middle Ages, through a new online portal created by the University of St Andrews.

Visitors will be able to create their own avatars and navigate their way around the online reconstruction, which shows the Cathedral as it was 700 years ago. They can explore the cloisters, the internal choir section, the chapter house, and the nave. There will be historic characters so visitors will be able to chat with Robert the Bruce, an Augustinian Friar and perhaps “The Old Grey Lady” a ghost reported to haunt the building. The experience is intended to give users a new perspective on Scottish history, accessible across the generations.

The virtual cathedral is the result of a collaboration between computer scientists, 3D designers, art historians and archaeologists, and is similar to multi-player computer games but differ in the important respect that their appearance, interactive characteristics, content and purpose are all programmable. This technology offers the potential of providing the core of the future 3D Internet.

Dr Alan Miller of the School of Computer Science said, “To walk around the reconstruction of St Andrews Cathedral enables one to appreciate the magnificent achievement of its construction over 600 years ago. We have worked together to take a vision, achieved through decades of scholarship, of how this building was – and make it accessible to all.”

Dr Rebecca Sweetman of the School of Classics added, “The collaborative work of the reconstruction of St Andrews cathedral brings together some of the universities oldest and newest Schools over its 600 year history. In the spirit of this the reconstruction enables the modern viewer to experience the past through contemporary methods and on-going research.”

The building of St Andrews Cathedral began in 1160 and continued over the next 150 years, interrupted by a storm in 1272 which blew down the west front, and the first War of Independence against England (1296–1307). The cathedral was eventually dedicated in 1318, in the presence of Robert the Bruce, by which date it was by far the largest church in Scotland.

In 1559, John Knox preached a fiery sermon in St Andrews parish church, and the cathedral was ‘cleansed’ as a result. In 1561 it was abandoned and replaced by the parish church as the chief place of worship. Thereafter the former headquarters of the Scottish Church was left to fall into ruin.

The virtual cathedral reconstruction project was made possible thanks to £5,000 from the 600th Anniversary fund. Click here to visit the Virtual St Andrews Cathedral website.

Source: University of St Andrews

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