Berlin, Oct 22 : A team of archaeologists, scientists and software programmers has created a 3D virtual model of the city of Cologne as it was 2,000 years ago, which would enable visitors to virtually fly through the city.
According to a report in Spiegel Online, the new computer program will allow the curious to see Cologne, Germany's fourth-largest city, as it was almost 2,000 years ago, when it was a major northern outpost of the Roman Empire.
"Now, for the first time, people will be able to visualize what an amazing city Cologne already was in antiquity," said Hansgerd Hellenkemper, the director of the city's Romano-Germanic Museum.
The program allows visitors to use a computer mouse to navigate a virtual "flight" around the city, where they will find impressive sights, such as the massive city wall and its monumental gates, the forum, the over 40-meter-high (130-foot) Capitoline Temple, the forum with its semicircular portico and the proconsul's palace.
The project, which has taken over three years to put together, is a collaboration between archaeologists, researchers and software experts drawn from the Archaeology Institute at the University of Cologne, the Koln International School of Design (KISD), the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, the University of Potsdam's Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and Cologne's Romano-Germanic Museum.
According to the project's Web site, the purpose of creating the model was to "allow Roman Cologne to be visualized using the findings of current research and to thereby make it comprehensible in its historical dimension to an even larger public."
Cologne's history stretches back to 38 B.C. After Julius Caesar pushed the empire north during his conquest of Gaul in the mid-first century B.C., the Romans resettled the Germanic Ubii tribe on the banks of the Rhine River.
In 50 A.D., the settlement was granted the status of an official Roman city and was given the name Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.
The city grew to be a major trading center, a status it still preserves today.