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Spanish pilgrimage route soon in Baidu encyclopedia

Chinadaily / Baidu Baike will include photos and information about the cultural relics along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. [Photo provided to China Daily] The Camino de Santiago (also known as the Way of Saint James), which is a legendry pilgrimage route in Spain, will be included in Baidu Baike, China’s major online encyclopedia.

The encyclopedia, managed by tech giant Baidu Inc, will have an entry in its museums’ section on the roads in northern Spain that lead to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

An agreement was reached between Baidu and Barcelona-based Gaudi Project in the Spanish embassy in Beijing on Tuesday.

This year also marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Spain.

The digital project on the Camilo de Santiago, which covers information on hundreds of towns, churches, castles and museums, will be available on Baidu Baike later this year. High-definition pictures of architecture facades, interiors and cultural relics will be uploaded to better display this pilgrimage route in cyberspace.

Camino de Santiago got its UNESCO World Heritage status in 1993, and is one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites since medieval times.

Carlos Canals Roura, co-founder of Gaudi Project, calls it the “Silk Road in Spain”.

“Astorga, a town which is one of the pearls of the route, will be the first Spanish city (being digitally recorded) on Baidu Baike,” he says.

The display will include details such as colorful glass in a church and patterns on broken pieces of cultural relics at a local museum.

Baidu Baike will include photos and information about the cultural relics along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. [Photo provided to China Daily] Jin Xiaping, a manager with the digital museum program of Baidu Baike, says the program will enable its users to enjoy audio explanations, virtual-reality simulation and 3-D exhibitions.

“The route is a bond that links emotions of European countries and the Chinese people should get a chance to know more about it,” she says.

“Also, people who don’t physically visit such sites can enjoy the beauty of the Camino de Santiago in detail at home.”

Baidu Baike and Gaudi Project set up the Gaudi Digital Museum in December, with the aim of promoting works of architect Antoni Gaudi in particular and Spanish cultural heritage in general.

The first achievement was a digital display of Sagrada Familia online, which uses 7.2-billion-pixel pictures covering corners of the Spanish church designed by Gaudi. Scholars were also invited to record video clips to explain the background information. The project will continue to cover more such world heritage sites designed by the late Spanish architect.

Jin says the digitization program will be expanded to the huge artworks collection of Prado Museum in Madrid, and other possible candidates for the next step of cooperation, including the historical city of Toledo, El Escorial, and La Granja, both former royal residences of Spanish kings.

So far, Baidu Baike operates 235 online museums, including on key Chinese heritage sites such as the Mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang in Shaanxi province, the National Museum of China in Beijing and Yungang Grottoes in Shanxi province.

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