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New smartphone app opens famed Greek monasteries to the world

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Tourists who are longing to visit Greece can still enjoy the magnificent views of the Meteora monasteries and even walk alongside the monks of Mount Athos using a new app called “VR Pilgrim.”

Just by using their own smartphone, tourists can enjoy 360-degree views of two of Greece’s most spectacular sites, the Meteora monasteries and the twenty monasteries atop Mount Athos. 

Development Director of VR Treasures, Giorgios Tsatsanidis, said the VR Pilgrim app was launched to provide “comfort and peace” to tourists during the coronavirus pandemic.

“When scientists around the world are working hard on medicine against the virus, when people are facing a new reality with travel limitations and enforced space between them, we’d like to provide peace and comfort in a time when people seem to really need it,” Mr Tsatsanidis said.

The VR Pilgrim app lets you get access to the monasteries of Mount Athos. Source: VR Treasures.

“It is the first app in the world that makes it possible for anyone to touch, virtually, the greatest shrines and relics of the Christian world, filmed in the corners of our planet that are unique and sometimes off-limits to most travellers.”

Starets Kirill, Archimandrite of the cell of St. Nicholaos Halkias of Mount Athos, who was directly involved in the filming process, said: “Two years ago, when we blessed VR Treasures for the creation of a virtual library about the treasures of Athos, no one could imagine how relevant this would become.”

“In the actual situation, VR Pilgrim is the only opportunity to see the holy places with your own eyes,” Archimandrite Kirill emphasised.

In the case of Mt. Athos, which only accepts male pilgrims as visitors, this is indeed a rare chance for females to view the stunning monastic buildings constructed atop the mountainous crags of the peninsula.

Moreover, there are about 30 VR films where monks share their cooking recipes which have been kept secret for centuries. Interviewers’ stories and voice-over text in English, Greek, Russian and soon in Chinese, also lets everyone find out many interesting facts that have never been published anywhere before.

The Meteora monasteries, located northwest of the town of Kalabaka, were built atop the rocks of Meteora, rising more than 600 meters into the sky. With their spectacular setting and magnificent views, the monasteries are also listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

The VR Pilgrim app is available for download on Google Play and the App Store.

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