About this good practice
The Municipality of Burgas has been continuously investing in the development of the Aquae calidae archaeological complex for more than ten years. As most large archaeological sites it requires complex approach in order to present the cultural heritage to the wide public and in the same time to preserve it.
A new museum exposition and an active replica of a Roman bath have been built in line with the archaeological structures. The exhibition areas in the building include a training museum, exposition and stock rooms. The exposition exhibits archaeological finds and artifacts found during excavations in the field. In the training museum, visitors get acquainted with the way of life of the Romans, to soak in the baths, play games, to put on their everyday clothes or their military equipment. The exposition areas have a mixed purpose and can be used for recreational activities. The second layer is virtual and allows the visitors to time travel and see how the place looked like through the 20 centuries of its existence by entering a special room with 360°3D mapping. VR glasses let the tourists enjoy the view of the old baths, learn more about the locals’ culture, while getting physically massaged. The place was opened in October and increases its tourist attractiveness, while preserving and promoting its cultural heritage as the technologies provide huge amount of opportunities to quick and safe extension of the services with increased added value of visitor experience.
Construction of an exposition and demonstration center "Mineral Waters of Aquae calidae", part of the project "The Power of Water", funded by the Operational Program "Growing Regions" 2014-2020.
Own staff with additional qualification to support the new implemented technologies
Evidence of success
Since its opening on October 10th, 2450 people have visited the complex.
Attracting new public and interest of visitors to the site. Visitors have at their disposal functioning large and small thermal mineral pool, steam bath, sauna as well as relaxation area, a museum with the most elite finds from the place with new interactive installations with 3D reconstructions of the bathroom from different eras of its functioning, special paths allow visitors to walk among the archaeological structures.
Potential for learning or transfer
To implement digital technologies such as VR and other type of visualization to transfer through time is not a new concept, but to combine them with direct physical experience, is not so common practice. Using it to extend the visitors experience is possible for most museums and tourist attractions, however it will require additional resources and funding.
Implementing digital technologies is not an easy task, it requires highly specialized experts and staff that needs new skills. The representation and transfer of cultural heritage to digital means takes time, the collaboration of experts from very different fields and expensive high end equipment.
Municipality has plans to expand the capacity of the complex and building archaeological and thermal campus near "Aquae Calidae" with eco bungalows for international archaeology students who will study also ancient medicine and culinary. Aquae Calidae is nominated for awards of Ministry of Tourism-"Innovation" and "Tourist Attractions.