Microsoft's metaverse brings ancient Greece to life with augmented reality

Microsoft Greece Olympia Ar
Microsoft Greece Olympia Ar (Image credit: The Associated Press)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Greece's Ministry of Culture and Sport worked together to create an augmented reality experience.
  • The experience allows people to tour the ancient ruins of Olympia brought to life through modern technology.
  • People can tour ancient Olympia remotely or by augmenting reality with a mobile app when visiting in person.

Microsoft partnered with Greece's Ministry of Culture and Sport to recreate ancient Olympia in augmented reality (AR). The partnership allows people to tour an augmented version of the ancient city with a mobile phone app or to check out the site remotely (via The Seattle Times).

Olympia was used as a site for the Olympics for almost 1,000 years. The AR experience allows tourists to see what the area looked like in its prime. Greece's Ministry of Culture and Sport helped Microsoft map and recreate Olympia virtually.

"It's a milestone … that helped us bring technology and culture and history together so we can preserve it," said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

People can also check out the ruins by using a HoloLens headset at the Olympic Museum in Athens.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that we're able to present to the world a completely new cultural experience using technology to re-create the ancient world of Olympia," said the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the Associated Press.

As part of the project, Microsoft used drones and sensors to map out Olympia. Work on the new experience took 18 months. The project came after an agreement between Microsoft and the Greek government to build three data centers in the Athens area. That investment's total value is up to $1 billion.

While augmented reality isn't new, it's become more of a focus now that metaverse experiences are a hot topic. It may seem odd to refer to this seemingly standard AR experience as metaverse content, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's take on the metaverse is not quite the same as Meta/Facebook's.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at