Rebuilding memories

Augmented Reality in the Jewish Cemetery of Trieste

edited by Tommaso Chiarandini

consulting Web and AR Designer by Alessandro Carrieri

The Jewish cemetery in via della pace 4 was inaugurated in 1843. Before that, since the 15th century, the Jews had their ancient Beth Haolam on the Colle di San Giusto, which was closed when all the municipal cemeteries were moved out of the city. It was dismantled in 1909 when the bodies were moved and the sarcophagi of the rabbis were moved to the new cemetery.
The 27,500 square metre area is divided into 15 fields and contains around 12,000 graves. The tombs and steles, simple or monumental – built in various architectural styles and with symbols and ornaments that are classical, traditional religious or Masonic – bear inscriptions in Hebrew, Italian, Latin, German, French, English and Russian and testify to the cosmopolitan and multiethnic history of Jewish Trieste during the Habsburg period: different Ashkenazi and Sephardic origins, traditions and cultures.
The analysis of the tombs – from the simple tombstone to the elaborate enclosure, from the monumental mausoleum to the details of the epigraphs and coats of arms – allows us to understand the articulated social composition of the community: “ordinary” men and women, intellectuals and artists, more or less famous rabbis, merchants, landowners, industrialists and members of the insurance and banking world. At the moment, the cemetery is only accessible by guided tours, which must be booked in advance, and there are no tools to enhance the experience.

As for Augmented Reality (AR), it can be defined, according to Azuma (1997), as a system that combines computer-generated information in a natural environment interactively and in real time, aligning virtual objects with physical ones. Augmented Reality is a new type of human-computer interaction, based on reality and applicable to all types of senses, in which users can actively interact with the mondo-real world: it is one of the tools of Digital Public History.

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