The future of historic preservation? 3D scans of Malopolska's churches

Marta Kowalska
27 of April '21

"Stay at home", the slogan of the last year has moved not only culture to the online version. It turns out that even architecture can reach our homes. Scanned in 3D and presented in animation form, wooden historic churches, temples, villas and open-air museums. The Wooden Architecture Route online, thanks to the Malopolska Tourist Organization.

modern art of conservation

The Malopolska Tourist Organization has launched a series of animated videos that will be available free of charge on the YouTube platform. Selected buildings from the 20 Wooden Architecture Route in Małopolska have been scanned in 3D from the outside and inside. Thefirst monument in the 3D animation series is the St. John the Baptist Church in Orawka. In the film, it is possible to take a close look at the structure of the temple, go inside and see its unusual decor, including wall paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

3D animation St. John the Baptist Church in Orawka | YouTube Malopolska Tourist Organization

This unique church is the oldest wooden temple in the region. This year, thanks to its designation as a monument of history, it has gained in value and is one of the 100 most valuable monuments in Poland.

20 wooden objects in 3D

Well known to architecture lovers, the Route of Wooden Architecture includes as many as 255 exceptional historic wooden buildings in Malopolska alone. Among them will be picturesque churches, beautiful Orthodox churches, slender bell towers, Old Polish mansions, wooden villas and open-air museums, among the most valuable monuments of folk material culture. For the project to scan the objects and create a virtual version, 20 have been selected so far.

3D digitalization - St. Michael the Archangel Church in Szalowa (Monument of History)

In 2003, four wooden churches from Malopolska were especially honored by being inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. These include the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Binarowa, the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Debno Podhalanski, the Church of St. Leonard in Lipnica Murowana and the Church of St. Philip and James in Sekowa. Meanwhile, in 2013, four Orthodox churches, part of the Route, were added to the UNESCO List. These are: the Church of St. James the Younger Apostle in Powroznik, the Church of the Protection of the Virgin Mary Mother of God in Owczary, the Church of St. Paraskevia in Kwiatoń and the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Brunary Wyżne.

All Saints' Church in Blizne |

Theprofessionally marked trail is designed to make it easier for tourists and interested parties to find the objects. Virtual models will allow those who do not often have the chance to travel and hike to learn about the architecture. Such a record will also make it easier for students to learn about historic architecture. In the era of the pandemic, many of the churches and Orthodox churches normally open for tours remain closed, hence the realization of 3D scans of the buildings was of utmost importance.

the future is online

The animation series was realized as part of the project "Digital accessibility of wooden architecture objects belonging to the Wooden Architecture Route in the Malopolska Region". Subsequent videos depicting monuments from the Wooden Architecture Route in 3D will be released every Tuesday and Friday at 10 am on the Facebook page of the Wooden Architecture Route, the Malopolska Tourist Organization and on the YouTube channel.

Is online scanning a new and better way to preserve cultural heritage? Destruction of architecture is inevitable, but is the possibility of perfectly immortalizing it in the form of virtual models the first step to forgetting about real conservation of monuments?

Marta Kowalska

The vote has already been cast

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