'Tomb of Christ' National Geographic Museum Opens 3D Tour of Holy Christian Site
The National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday opened a 3-D virtual tour into one of Christianity's holiest sites, the "tomb of Christ" located at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The immersive 3-D exhibit, called "Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience," is said to combine "rich storytelling and archaeological expertise with innovative technology" to offer people a glimpse into what some believe to be the ancient tomb where Jesus' body was laid after the Crucifixion.
The church recently underwent significant renovations, and National Geographic explorer Corey Jaskolski was part of the team that created a 3-D record of the tomb using LIDAR scans, high-resolution photos and video.
The restoration last year led to some notable finds, such as what archaeologists believe could be the original limestone bed where Jesus was laid on.
"I'm absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn't expecting this," Fredrik Hiebert of National Geographic said at the time.
"We can't say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades."
National Geographic, which said its latest exhibit will be open until fall 2018 in Washington, listed five main experiences awaiting visitors who come to see the "Tomb of Christ."
It noted that visitors will learn all about the historic renovation at the site in Jerusalem, which also revealed part of the bedrock from the original cave where Jesus is said to have been buried before His resurrection.
Next it promised guests a look into the Edicule, which is the ornate shrine within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that encompasses the remains of the rock-cut tomb.
"Scientists exposed the original surface of the tomb and found the limestone burial bed where Christian tradition says the body of Jesus Christ was laid. When you visit the exhibition, you'll be able to virtually experience what it was like to explore this iconic plan and view newly revealed cave calls that haven't been seen in centuries," the article on WTOP stated.
Thirdly, it noted that the cutting-edge technology that documented the restoration will be put on display:
"The exhibition also includes an interactive feature that allows you to test the ground-penetrating radar and see the laser scanners used to record and preserve this important archaeological site."
It added: "Through this cutting-edge experience, you can learn how these types of technology could be used to preserve the world's treasured cultural sites and artifacts of human history before they succumb to time or disaster."
The exhibit also offers a 3-D headset which allows visitors to "leave Washington, D.C. behind and embark on a journey to the heart of Jerusalem, where you can virtually walk around inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest site in Christianity."
Finally, National Geographic said that people will have a "rare opportunity to bridge space and time" by being one of the millions to experience the 19th century church in Jerusalem's Old City.
There were fears in May 2016 before the start of the restoration that the holy site was "on the verge of collapse" due to age.
Members of the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Orthodox churches all came together to help fund the $3.4 million project, with donors including world leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan.
Watch a video preview of "Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience" below: