VR journey to ancient Egypt

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ+ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

This article was updated on May 30, 2024.

The Horizon of Khufu virtual reality expedition transports visitors to the heart of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

Horizon of Khufu

After critically-acclaimed runs in Paris, London and Shanghai, The Horizon of Khufu makes its Canadian premiere in the Old Port of Montréal, right next door to the Montréal Science Centre on the King-Edward Pier. The immersive “expedition” has proven so popular that just days after its Montréal opening, its run has been extended to July 31. 
 

The Old Kingdom

The Pharaoh Khufu (or Cheops) was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty during the 26th century BC in the Old Kingdom period.

The oldest and only surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid is one of the three famed pyramids of Giza. Standing at 146.6 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the world’s tallest human-made structure for nearly four millennia (until the 330-metre-tall Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889). The Great Pyramid was built by quarrying an estimated 2.3 million large blocks, weighing 6 million tonnes in total, and served as the tomb of Khufu.

 

Ancient Egyptian time warp

Equipped with a VR headset, the first half of the 45-minute experience transports visitors – each impersonated by an avatar – inside the Great Pyramid where one can physically move and interact inside ancient galleries and burial chambers which are generally off-limits to the public. Then visitors ascend to the very top of the pyramid for breathtaking views of the Giza plateau and Cairo. It is easy to lose oneself in this lifelike VR world, and if you suffer from vertigo (as I do), this part of the journey is more comfortably experienced with a companion or group.

The second half of The Horizon of Khufu takes visitors back to ground level where visitors witness the historically accurate mummification and burial of Khufu, then embark aboard a solar barque (boat) on the Nile to bear witness to the funerary rite of King Khufu.

 

Historically accurate

The Horizon of Khufu is the result of three years of research and development, and was conceived in partnership with Peter Der Manuelian, Professor of Egyptology at Harvard University, and Director of the Giza Project. He and his team supervised the making of this experience, ensuring its scientific accuracy through architectural and historical data applied in the reconstitution of the site and re-enactment of ancient practices.

 

Box office and practical info

The Horizon of Khufu immersive experience lasts 45 minutes. It is highly recommended to buy advance tickets online and arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time. 

The Horizon of Khufu experience is suitable for families with children aged 8+. Children aged 8 to 12 need a waiver signed by their parent / guardian before starting the experience.

People who wear glasses can comfortably experience the expedition in VR, but because visitors wear a VR headset, wearing hats or caps is discouraged. Lockers are provided on-site and comfortable shoes are recommended.

There is a gift shop and café.

The Horizon of Khufu (2 Rue de la Commune West) is located in the Old Port of Montréal, right next door to the Montréal Science Centre on the King-Edward Pier. The closest Métro stations are Place d’armes and Champ-de-mars. There is a paid parking service next to the Old Port venue.

The Horizon of Khufu runs to July 31. 

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ+ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

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