A Masterpiece of Digital Technology: History Told in 3D mapping at St. Michael’s Fortress


Two underground water tanks that date back to the 15th century were hidden inside Šibenik’s St. Michael’s fortress for a long time. Soon, inside them, the legend of Šibenik’s creation and the turbulent history of the fortress will come alive. Thanks to the European project Fortress ReInventedInnovative approach and digital contents in historical fortification monuments, St. Michael's Fortress will become richer in terms of a visual masterpiece via 3D video mapping projection technique inside the tanks. By this project Šibenik continues and remains the trailblazer in interactive presentations of cultural and historical contents.

In one tank, the biblical story of the battle between Good and Evil and the victory of St. Michael, Šibenik’s patron, over the embodiment of evil, the dragon, will be evoked. In the second tank the history of Šibenik will be depicted, with an emphasis on the role of St. Michael’s fortress as a foundation for the whole city. Seen as how the narrative is set inside cistern areas that are crisscrossed by arches, those bacome a breakpoint in the elaboration of a scenario based on time travel: the tanks’ arches become a sort of casters which launch the system and set the year, or rather the era in which the travelers (visitors inside cisterns) stop and to which they bear witness.

To provide additional contents besides 3D mapping on cistern walls, the appropriate audio backdrop will be used to create a complete sensation of a virtual space, in which visitors will be given a unique taste of St. Michael’s fortress, which will contribute significantly to the enhancement of visitor experience and the charm of the monument itself.

The work on the implementation of the equipment and the contents is currently in its final stages. Jelena Filipaj, the representative of the Produkcijski tim company, responsible for the development of the audiovisual contents, talks about the complexity of accomplishment of the project: ''This project is comprehensive and very complicated in material preparation. No one in Croatia has yet met with a project this challenging, and we believe there haven’t been or there aren’t any similar examples either abroad. Conceptualizing cultural heritage coming alive by mapping technology is not revolutionary in itself. However, never before has, at least that we know of, this kind of project been accomplished in small, intimate areas that bear the mark of times in their walls and this close a vicinity. The challenge is even greater because this space is not typical – not round but curved. The curvature of the surface is precisely what defines the approach to material production. To be able to monitor the work in progress, or rather to check if everything fits, a complete VR (virtual reality) simulation is necessary.''

Apart from the contents in cisterns, St. Michael’s fortress will get audio guides – tablets containing digital and audio contents arranged over 12 theme units. The distinctiveness of it lies in the fact that the content of the guides will launch independently at the moment of passing the designated points. In that way, the visitors will obtain an impression of time travel.

Four partner fortresses in three countries were included in this project: besides St. Michael’s fortress, digital contents will also be implemented at Klis fortress in Klis (HRV), at Kanli Kula fortress in Herceg Novi (MNE), and Old Town Vranduk in Zenica (BIH). With the goal of cross-border cooperation in sight, four cultural attractions – fortresses in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro will be connected via so-called partners’ corner. It is a touch screen containing a single joint app via which visitors at each of the fortresses will be able to follow live the present goings-on at three remaining monuments (live stream technology).

Additionally, to determine the fortresses-partners as tourist attractions, in all of their four home towns inside old city centers, there will be touch screens placed as info points that will promote the offer of the fortresses, of the city, of the partner destinations, and also of local small and middle-sized entrepreneurship units.

The Fortress ReInvented project started on July 1st of 2017 and ends on December 31st of 2019. The project holder is Šibenik City Museum in partnership with Municipality of Klis, Municipality of Herceg Novi and Public Institution Zenica City Museum. Its total value comprises 1.310.232,30 EUR out of which 85% of co-financing came from the program Interreg IPA CBC Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020. The principal objective of the project is increasing and advancing sustainability and tourist offer by implementing digital contents at four partner fortresses – St. Michael’s fortress in Šibenik, Klis fortress in Klis, Kanli Kula fortress in Herceg Novi and Old Town Vranduk in Zenica.

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