Foto Friday – 360 degree Holy Land

December 23, 2011 - 10:45 AM by

The Internet offers us endless ways to view the sites and sounds of the Holy Land. This week, we present some of the many panoramic photo and video images that are available online.

Panoramic photography, states Wikipedia, “is a technique of photography, using specialized equipment or software, that captures images with elongated fields of view. It is sometimes known as wide format photography.” (Click here for more about the methods used to create 360 images). Panoramic photo images have been around since the mid 1800s; this one of Jerusalem was taken in the early 20th century.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

As with everything else photographic, clearly, the technology has evolved. Take, for example, this amazing 360 degree panoramic photo of the Galilee.

Tel Yodfat, Galilee, Israel in Israel

The Church of All Nations is located on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. Click on this photo — the link will take you to a panoramic view of the Church, the Garden and the walls of the Old City, courtesy of 3D Israel.

Israeli company Simply Live has developed a highly technologically advanced 360 degree video camera (only last week presented at the Bezeq Expo innovation showcase). Click on this photo of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — the link takes you to their site where you can view an interactive video that allows you to enter and move through the Church interior.

A fascinating if politically charged panoramic view of Israel’s coastline as viewed from the West Bank is available at The site owners are very blunt about the purpose of the wide-angle shot: they wish to show how vulnerable Israel would be to an attack were pre-1967 borders to be reinstated. It takes only one look to see why the situation here is complicated.

Even on its own, the image is complex: a very wide-angle view ( say it is the largest publicly available) with interactive controls so that viewers can zoom in on highly detailed close ups. Photographer Yaal Herman provides several pages of explanation on how the photo (really hundreds of photos stitched together) was accomplished. Click on this thumbnail to see the full version.

Whatever the political future holds, we can still hope for stability, quiet and — dare I say it? — peace. A few weeks ago, I was in Bethlehem once again for the annual Papal Peace Run. Instead of a highly secured, quick in-and-out, I would like to be able to return one day at my leisure to visit the Church of the Nativity. Till then, I will visit this way — and invite you to do so, too. Happy holidays to all.

Church Nativity Bethlehem in Israel

Grotto of the Nativity – Church of the Nativity, Betlehem in Israel


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