the COVID-19 pandemic, together with the social distancing measures and travel restrictions may have left us a little uninspired. physical locations may be closed or difficult to travel to at the moment but many attractions have opened their virtual doors. researchers at heal have compiled a list of the best virtual tours with history and culture lovers in mind. from los angeles to rome experience the best museums, art galleries, and historic buildings from the comfort of your own home.
the FIDM museum and gallery preserves and interprets fashion objects and supports materials with outstanding design merit. with this virtual tour, you can learn and engage with some of the museum’s most amazing collections from the empire period to the art of television costume design.
this art museum is famous for owning the mona lisa and the virtual tour offers you the opportunity to view its popular works up close. you can explore panoramas of the museum’s egyptian antiquities, the galleries, and even special exhibits such as the founding myths: from hercules to darth vader.
from a ming emperor’s seat to an encyclopedia of wondrous objects, manchester museum has a vast collection of online resources to explore from the comfort of your living room. the virtual experience allows users to spark some creative energy while exploring the fascinating objects and stories.
five thousand years of art and design make up the victoria and albert museum collection. fashion is one of the museum’s strong suits and the virtual gallery of fashion takes viewers through the history of clothing design around the world. further exhibits also include spotlights on balenciaga, schiaparelli, indian textiles, and the politics of fashion.
founded as the imperial royal austrian museum of art and industry in 1863, today’s museum features a unique collection of applied arts and is an excellent hub of contemporary art. originally established as an exemplary source collection, today’s MAK collection continues to stand for an extraordinary union of applied art, design, contemporary art, and architecture.
image by theodor vasile
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNS AND STRUCTURES THROUGH TIME
from the outside, the façade of casa batlló looks like it has been made from skulls and bones. the ‘skulls’ are in fact balconies and the ‘bones’ are supporting pillars. the designer, antoni gaudí, used colors and shapes found in marine life as inspiration for this innovative building. the beauty continues inside and as part of this virtual tour, you can explore every room in the building – taking inspiration from each corner.
with soaring vaulted ceilings, murals, and tapestries, the vatican’s museums are creatively rich sites. the virtual tours allow you to explore seven spaces including the sistine chapel. why not wander around the rest of vatican city with a you visit tour that takes in saint peter’s basilica and square, complete with a tour guide narrating each interactive space.
with google’s street view you can get up close and personal with jordan’s rose city, petra. grab your headphones and get fully immersed in this stunning city steeped in history and impressive architecture. petra is over four times the size of manhattan, but the virtual experience allows you to explore caves, temples, and tombs spread out for over a hundred square miles with just a click of your mouse.
this ornate marble mausoleum is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. the building was designed to be completely symmetrical and in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake, everything would fall away from the tomb inside. explore the impressive design and architecture of india’s crown jewel without leaving the house.
image by svetlana gumerova
GO BACK IN TIME
the winter palace was the official residence of the russian emperors from 1732 to 1917, but today the palace forms the hermitage museum. this baroque-style masterpiece is st. petersburg’s most famous landmark and among the world’s most lavish palaces. the mint, gold, and ivory exterior are eye-catching and extravagant. the inside is equally spectacular and the virtual tour allows you to explore all the palace’s 1,057 rooms featuring velvet and gold detailing.
it’s hard to imagine a grander residence than the elegant palace of versailles, also known as the château de versailles. every aspect of the building has been impeccably carved, smoothed, and polished. this was france’s principal royal residence from 1682 until the french revolution in 1789. the central gallery boasts elegant chandeliers and is home to around 5,000 pieces of antique furniture and 6,000 priceless paintings. with this virtual tour you can explore the palace’s art and design from royal portraits to iconic interiors.
this magnificent castle in sozopol is the stuff of dreams and fairy tales, and its alternative name – ‘in love with the wind’ – only adds to its charm. it was designed by champion wrestler georgi kostadinov tumpalov, who worked with a team of builders to craft the medieval-style structure from 20,000 tonnes of stone. the 360° virtual tour allows you to explore the elegant chapel and jaw-dropping winery, this castle really has to be seen to be believed.
pena palace is breathtaking with its butter-yellow turrets and brick-red towers rising above the treetops in hilly sintra. this multicolored beauty, is an example of 19th-century romanticism, and was commissioned by king ferdinand ii and completed in 1854, and has been home to portuguese royals through the years. the virtual tour allows you to explore the outer walls of the castle to really take in the magnificent architecture.
one of the finest lasting examples of japanese castle architecture, himeji castle in the hyōgo prefecture, dates to the 14th century. the castle’s interior appears simplistic with little decoration but the design is clever and many of the walkways turn back on themselves to confuse invaders. take the virtual video to explore the grand architecture of this beautiful building.
image by nicolas hoizey