“The Horizon of Khufu” is an immersive virtual reality experience recently launched in Stratford, London. Spanning a vast area of 1,000 square metres, it transports you back 4,500 years to ancient Egypt and the awe-inspiring Great Pyramid of Giza, which served as the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu.
This remarkable experience was crafted by Excurio, a virtual reality studio collaborating with Peter Der Manuelian, a distinguished Egyptology professor at Harvard University.
Upon our arrival, we were equipped with virtual reality headsets and backpacks, followed by a thorough health and safety briefing. After adjusting the headsets for comfort, we embarked on an “induction” journey, immersing ourselves in a surreal landscape to become proficient in navigating the virtual reality realm.
Stepping through a portal we found ourselves magically transported to the edge of the Giza plateau. It was here that the colossal magnificence of the Great Pyramid of Giza, a towering structure that stands at 146.6 metres tall, emerged before us dominating the semi-desert landscape. Even for those fortunate to have seen the Great Pyramid in real life, you can’t help but feel the same sense of wonderment from the virtual monument.
The experience then takes us into the chambers and tunnels that honeycomb the pyramid interior, including the “Tourist Entrance”, the Ascending Corridor, the Great Gallery, and finally the Upper Chamber, also known as the King’s Chamber.
A somewhat lacklustre comedic scene briefly plunges you alone in darkness, only for the room to be bathed in light by the presence of Bastet, the goddess of protection. Bastet continues the tour, flying you through the pyramid interior and substructure, providing a fascinating insight into the rooms, cavities, and inaccessible areas that remain a mystery to this day.
The tour then reaches the summit of the Great Pyramid, offering a breathtaking visual spectacle that only a select few have had the privilege of experiencing in modern times. From here, the whole of the Giza plateau is visible, which you will later explore as giants walking over the monuments without restriction.
You are then transported back to Ancient Egypt following the funerary rites and embalming process of Pharaoh Khufu on his road to the afterlife. During this segment, the visual quality becomes somewhat compromised with the NPC characters. However, it’s worth noting that achieving truly lifelike human features remains a formidable challenge, even with advanced VR technology.
In Summary: The Horizon of Khufu is a technological marvel that resurrects the glory of Ancient Egypt. While certain aspects of the adventure might induce a sense of dizziness, it remains an exceptional experience that should be embraced and enjoyed by individuals of all age groups.
This review has been written impartially and without any financial incentive by Westfield Stratford or Excurio.