Recently, Google launched a special project to give millions of people across the globe, a glimpse of Pakistan’s historical landmarks and cultural places. Named as ‘Google Cultural Institute Pakistan’, the project in collaboration with local authorities features special street view maps and 360 degree imagery of famous spots in Pakistan that have substantial cultural and historical relevance.
Pakistan is a ‘diamond in the rough’ with an abundance of rare and unexplored beauty. Often Pakistanis feel their homeland isn’t appreciated enough especially in the light of security problems and energy shortages in the country which are all over media channels. At such a time, the initiative is being appreciated by Pakistanis who feel delighted that more people in the world will now finally be able see the real Pakistan and it’s true culture.
Hammad Javed Khan, a student at a local university, SZABIST says,“This is a great step taken by Google keeping in mind how Pakistan has been victimized by the terrors of the world. Google showing the good side of Pakistan not only makes me happy as a citizen of this country, but also how it’s very important to put it out there to the people that Pakistan is not what they portray in the media.”
For the Pakistan chapter, more than 24 places with street view map, and over 10 places with picture collection have been put on display. From famous monuments to ancient paintings to contemporary masterpieces, several wonders of this incredible country are presented in an easy to browse archive. Google has called this collection the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’.
“This is an incredible initiative. People need to see what Pakistan is, with their own eyes, not just what they see told through all kinds of media,” shares Amina Qureshi, a BBA undergraduate from NUST.
Some of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’ that have proudly been portrayed on Google Cultural Institutes’ pages include Forecourt of the Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore Museum, Get Out of My Dreams by Faiza Butt, The Ladies Court of Shah Jehan at Fakir Khana Museum, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, Jahangirs’ Tomb, Lahore, Allama Iqbals Tomb, Lahore, Shrine of Hazrat Mian Mir, Harappa Archaeological site, Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Darawar Fort, Lahore Fort, Pavilion, Stupa of Buddha, Rawalpindi and Sheikhupura Fort.
To view the galleries and the street maps which are integrated into the app, you can go here. It gives you an interactive view of the place as you drag the image right or left.
While this is a first step, there are many other locations, monuments and references that can be added to this archive. Whether Google will take this a notch up, remains to be seen.
Haider Gardezi, a Mass Communication undergraduate at NUST adds, “This project will successfully help to preserve the cultural heritage of various cultures across the world. For Pakistan , they should also include minar-e-Pakistan, lahore. Taxila museum, Rawalpindi, Faisal Mosque Islamabad, Residency of Quaid E Azam at Ziarat Balochistan, the Temples of Sikh community near Haripur, Wagah Border, Lahore and Hanna Lake Quetta, Balochistan.”
Some of the tweets that have gone out for the launch of #GCIPAK include: