How did we take a colombian town to the Metaverse? The story of Mompox – Timeless Magic Realism

Discover an old and charming Colombian town through Mompox – Timeless Magical Realism, our new virtual reality tourism application with 360 photos, now available on Oculus.


 

Mompox does not exist. Sometimes we dream about her, but she does not exist

That was the response of Simón Bolívar when he was crossing the Magdalena River and his aide-de-camp, José Palacios, pointed him to the Church of Santa Barbara, an iconic monument of a city as hallucinative as the mind of the dying liberator, in a scene described by Gabriel García Márquez as part of his well-known novel The General in his Labyrinth.

Perhaps the Colombian Nobel Prize winner could have come to think that such a brief quote could become almost a short story that many tell when they talk about Mompox, the old Caribbean town. What he surely never imagined is that his words would become an inspiring motto for a team of creators that develops virtual reality experiences with 360 photography.

His words would become an inspiring motto for a team of creators that develops virtual reality experiences with 360 photography

If García Márquez’s General had lived in this era, he would surely have been another kind of visionary, one of technology and 360 photography, like our CINO, Juan Camilo Infante, another traveler in love with Colombia, where today he creates and reinvents virtual reality.

Perhaps, when visiting the town and taking some 360 ​​photographs in it, he would have said the same thing as Juanca to us:

Mompox in virtual reality does not exist. Sometimes we dream of her, but she does not exist

To which our development lead and Unity expert, Jose Palacio (look at the coincidence!), would have replied: «General Infante, our Perspektiva 360 team can do it.»

"Mompox in virtual reality does not exist. Sometimes we dream of her, but she does not exist."

So it was…

 

The journey into the metaverse

We recently lit a new light in the metaverse, bringing to that digital space our new virtual reality application, which we titled: Mompox – Timeless Magical Realism, the second VR experience with 360 photography that we have created presenting a place of great charm in Colombia.

Why is this an important achievement for us?

Not only because we have been the first to bring a Colombian city to the metaverse, nor because we have been pioneers in creating a tourist experience in virtual reality, giving a touch of our literary heritage, magical realism, to 360 photography

But because…

We have taken her to the brightest galaxy in the metaverse!

That is to say…

We managed to get it published in Oculus Experiences (also known as Meta Quest), the virtual reality store whose app for managing Oculus devices was the top #1 in downloads of the Apple Store last Christmas, and that’s saying a lot!

In fact, it was precisely on Christmas day that we made history with a few clicks. But it all started a few months ago…

In October, General Infante, strategist in entrepreneurship with 360 photography, sent letters to all corners of Colombia with an invitation for us, his collaborators, to navigate the trends of virtual reality to ignite the creative imagination of Perspektiva 360.

5 adventurers with different disciplines made up the team that embarked with the General: 2 Unity developers (including the always loyal Jose), 2 designers, the first a 3D artist, the second a UX expert, plus the writer who is telling you this story.

The cloud was so full of stories around the Magdalena River that it wasn’t long until a tropical storm of ideas fell on us. But we didn’t go with the flow, we traced routes in our co-creation session, which we followed weekly until they led us to a good port, Mompox in virtual reality.

We traced routes in our co-creation session, which we followed weekly until they led us to a good port, Mompox in virtual reality

Two months later, on Christmas day, while everyone turned on lights in their houses, the sky and their new Oculus Quest, we did the same in the Oculus store with 360 photos that show every torch, lantern and star in Mompox in virtual reality. And it wasn’t until shortly before midnight that our Perspektiva 360 team received some great news delivered by General Infante:

We are just one click away from taking the next big step to fulfill our dream: Colombia in 360

Those words were our best Christmas present.

That night we celebrated an achievement, but it wasn’t until after the new year that we claimed victory. After a well-deserved vacation, we started receiving news about many new things for Perspektiva 360 from the first day of work, but there was nothing as expected as the message sent by the General on January 31:

Mompox in virtual reality went on air!

Screenshot of Mompox - Timeless Magic Realism available in Oculus
Mompox – Timeless Magic Realism is available in Oculus

It filled us with pride.

Our 360 photos contained in a magical book, which we had spent weeks writing, designing, developing and testing, were now a virtual reality experience published on Oculus.

 

An amazing town for 360 photography

Mompox – Timeless Magical Realism is a virtual reality experience with 360 photography that is worth knowing, because…

Imagine for a moment that you are sailing on a Caribbean river. The day is sunny and warm, as it usually is in that region, but the waters of the river are calm and refresh the breeze that comes towards you. It is a place as amazing as virtual reality, because it seems to be in the middle of nowhere and, at the same time, it is full of life with tropical forests, wild animals and birds that you have never seen.

Suddenly, you begin to see houses on a street that follows the shape of the river along the shore. It looks like any other riverside town, until the houses take on the size and appearance of an old colonial villa protected behind a stone wall, making you feel like you have traveled back in time. You disembark at the foot of a beautiful golden building, an old market port that now opens its doors to you like a living open-air museum

It looks like any other town, until the houses tak on the appereance of an old colonial villa protected behind a stone wall, making you feel like you have traveled back in time

Does that sound excting?

This is how it feels to arrive in Mompox, a place to be delirious both when visiting it and seeing it in 360 photos…

Originally called Santa Cruz de Mompox, this ancient town along the Magdalena River is a place of great historical and cultural importance for Colombia. The land where it is found is located halfway between the mountains of central Colombia and the Atlantic coast. It used to be the home of indigenous tribes and was taken by blood and fire by the Spanish to build the port and bastion of many commercial goods that came and went from Spain.

Mompox was, among other things, a great vault of gold… And the precious metal made it the commercial center of the Caribbean, attracting rich, noble, religious and artisans whose children, grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, even today, maintain the ancient tradition to turn it into yarn to weave handcrafted pieces with it.

And since a 360 photograph is worth more than a thousand images, you can see it in our virtual reality application

That is why Simón Bolívar was in the town a dozen times and it was there that the first declaration of Colombian independence took place. Just like these, there are many more stories that we narrate illustrated with 360 photographs.

However, a few centuries after the founding of Mompox, the waters of the river receded due to the erosion caused due to the mistreatment of its forests to feed the steamboats. The river became unnavigable and the wealth that once made the town famous never crossed its waters again, leaving it in oblivion.

Since then, Mompox remained frozen in time…

For many years, the glorious city stopped growing and was reduced to the size of a town. But this meant that, far from becoming forgotten ruins, it was preserved by its few inhabitants in an almost perfect state. For this reason, this incredible and valuable place was declared a national monument in 1959 and, decades later, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

And just like that, we captured it in 360 photographs…

Screenshot of Mompox - Timeless Magical Realism on scenery Church of St. Barbara
The Church of Saint Barbara is an emblematic building in Mompox. This 360 photograph is available in the app

 

A book with the magic of virtual reality

Walking through the streets of Mompox is like reading a book full of magic

That is why it is believed to be the inspiration behind Macondo, the imaginary land that Gabriel García Márquez made the protagonist in many of his novels. But he has not been the only artist who has made this town his muse (Because our 360 photography artists did it too).

Mompox has been the home and destination of writers and poets, such as the Afro-Colombian Candelario Obeso. Beyond the lyrics, it has also been the location for musical and cinematographic productions, such as the Netflix series Crime Diaries: Night Out. It was also the venue for film festivals and is the current annual meeting point for musicians and dancers from all over the world at the Mompox Jazz Festival.

Mompox has been the location for musical and cinematographic productions, such as the Netflix series Crime Diaries: Night Out.

We could spend hours listing the charms of this magnificent place, but it was precisely this that, among other things, motivated us to create a virtual reality experience with 360 photography that would pay homage to the historical, artistic and cultural legacy that Mompox means.

Once you have the app installed on your Oculus Quest, you can start a virtual reality journey. By choosing the language of your choice, music will sound that will make your heart beat to the rhythm of the Caribbean, a magical book will appear before your eyes and you will be able to manipulate it as if it were a real one!

Each page of the Mompox – Timeless Magical Realism book will tell you stories of places you can visit in the town. By touching their stamps and photos, you will be taken to each scenery that we have captured with 360 photography, so that when you see it you can feel that you are in it.

By touching their stamps and photos, you will be taken to each scenery that we have captured with 360 photography, so that when you see it you can feel that you are in it

At the end of this trip, we are sure that you will want to spend a few days in Mompox and make your virtual reality experience real.

In fact, that is our intention…

 

Why did we develop Mompox in virtual reality?

Here we present 4 reasons among many that define us and lead us to innovate with virtual reality technology applied to tourism in Colombia.

1. We create future

Virtual reality is something that we stopped dreaming about, because, in case you don’t know, it is now a reality that is inserted more and more into our daily lives every day. This motivates us to explore its possibilities in an innovative way (with 360 photography, for example), to fulfill our mission of creating the future.

2. We are adventurers

Perspektiva 360 means broadening horizons. That’s why our 360 photography experts, designers, developers and writers work from different corners of the world. And whether through travel or virtual reality experiences, we love to travel, see the world and learn.

Colombia is a beautiful country in all its corners, but there are many heritage gems, such as Mompox, that are hidden and we believe that they are worthy of being shown along with their stories. That’s why we do it in what we are the best: virtual reality and 360 photography.

3. We are colombians

We are a Colombian company. We can reach many parts of the world, but our hearts will always belong to the land where we were born. For this reason, what better than making our projects a commitment to build in our country?

We love our culture and we believe that teaching it through new technologies, such as virtual reality, is a very attractive and innovative way of providing not only touristic but educational experiences for our country and the world.

4. We believe in our talent

We believe that in Colombia there are ingenious, creative and skilled people to take advantage of technological developments. So far we have discovered great talents to create virtual reality content with 360 photos.

Collage Mompox - Timeless Magic Realism development team
We were 6 adventurers. Mompox – Timeless Magical Realism development team

We are sure that if we show what we are capable of doing, we will surely be able to inspire others to turn Colombia into the Silicon Valley of Latin America.

And yes, we know they are ambitious dreams… But every step counts and Mompox in virtual reality is not the first for us

Have we ever told you about our dream ‘Colombia in 360’?

We want to show the world all the corners of our country in that metaverse that grows more every day. And it is a path that we are not taking alone, that is why we have already explored interesting utilities and discovered benefits, such as supporting the rescue of territories that have been affected by the war in Colombia, relying on virtual reality with 360 photographs.

 

How can I visit Mompox in virtual reality?

Mompox – Timeless Magical Realism, is our gift to mompossians and all Colombians. But it is also for you and all those travelers, readers, lovers of 360 photography and virtual reality who seek to venture into exciting destinations from anywhere in the world.

To visit Mompox in virtual reality, you need:

  • A pair of virtual reality headsets Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2.
  • Your Oculus Quest’s gamepad.
  • 192 MB of free space in your device.
  • Install the app that you can find in the following link:

Click here to go to

Mompox – Timeless Magic Realism in Oculus

And you will be ready to go…

When you start the application you will see how a beautiful 360 photograph of Mompox will surround you. In an instant!

You do not need to have an active internet connection to enjoy the experience.

For now, we say goodbye with this trailer, wishing you a nice journey as you navigate this new destination within the great universe of virtual reality. We hope you enjoy the experience as much as we at Perspektiva 360 did creating it for you.

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