Take Virtual Tour of Mandela's Prison

Google adds Robben Island to its catalog
By Alex Tirpack,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2015 6:13 PM CDT
Take Virtual Tour of Mandela's Prison
In this 2005 photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela smiles at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.   (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Digital tourists have a notable new destination to explore—the old prison cell of Nelson Mandela. Google has launched a virtual tour of the Robben Island prison complex where Mandela spent 18 years, reports Mashable. One unique part of the project is a video in which former political prisoner Vusumsi Mcongo acts as a sort of virtual guide and offers his own recollections, notes CNN. Users can check out various areas of the now-shuttered prison, including cells, guard towers, and the limestone quarries used for hard labor.

Google used teams of walkers equipped with tripod cameras to capture the imagery. "The whole thing was to be able to tell a human story," says a spokesperson. "As much as this island has become a heritage site and a tourist attraction, it is also where these people spent the bulk of their adult lives." The tour is part of Google's Cultural Institute project, which offers similar tours of museums, architecture, and natural wonders. Popular ones include the Taj Mahal, Auschwitz, and even the theater where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. (More Nelson Mandela stories.)

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