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With its world-famous immersive shows and unique multimedia featuring masterpieces of Armenian Art, Ditaran, an immersive dome, brings a stunning new multimedia experience to residents and visitors to the town of Dilijan in north-eastern Armenia.

About a year ago, Heghine Harutyunyan, a 35-year-old resident of Dilijan, put the skills she gained from her Bachelor’s degree in Management and IT to use in creating Ditaran.

“The idea behind Ditaran emerged from a desire to transform a visit to Armenia into an engaging learning experience through the use of cutting-edge technology,” Harutyunyan says. “A year of hard work in bring that idea to life has brought us the first high quality (4K) 360-degree immersive dome in Armenia and the region.”

Technologically advanced

“With Ditaran, Dilijan has become host to the latest technological advances and a contributor to world-class multimedia content creation,” adds Harutyunyan, who also now works at Ditaran. She uses the knowledge she gains through books and online courses to produce more content for her creation.

Currently, Ditaran is at its early stage of operation. Its newly formed team of 10 people have finalized its overall technical and operational setup, and also managed to create ground-breaking content to attract visitors.

Currently, the dome is screening two world-famous immersive shows for the first time in Armenia: We Are Stars and Flying Monsters. We Are Stars explores the secrets of cosmic chemistry, its explosive origins, and how life on Earth is connected to the evolution of the universe. In the Flying Monsters, a National Geographic film, the famous naturalist David Attenborough explains the rise and fall of the dinosaurs.

Prominent Armenian actors were engaged to overdub the films so that, for the first time, Armenian audiences can enjoy those shows in their mother tongue.

“We have also produced a new immersive show called Patkerq,” Harutyunyan notes proudly. “It’s a unique multimedia show featuring the masterpieces of Armenian art – from Armenian medieval manuscripts and frescoes, to the works of Romantic painter Ivan Ayvazovsky and founder of the modern Armenian school of painting Martiros Saryan.”

Support for a breakthrough

Ditaran’s creators hope their dome will become a favourite among both tourists and locals, where they can enjoy breath-taking immersive shows about culture, art, science and lots of other interesting topics, as well as serve as a collaborative platform for people from various fields for community development.

The idea to build an immersive dome was born and the project developed in early 2021. The project’s initiators applied for EU support through the EU4Business initiative, and a grant scheme was approved in November 2021.

“Extensive work has been done since then – to set up the dome module and ensure it is technically well equipped,” Harutyunyan says. “The EU grant support was mostly used for capital expenditures, in particular the installation and technical setup of the dome. The technical launch of the dome was in July 2022, while an official opening ceremony was held on 29 September.”

The dome is just one of the projects supported by the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” (ITTD) project, which is currently running in Armenia. Its overall objective is to ensure there is shared, balanced and inclusive growth in the country’s tourism and innovative industries. The project works with innovative tourism ventures in the northern regions of Armenia, providing support to hi-tech and innovative entrepreneurs, organizing international knowledge exchanges for hi-tech researchers, and establishing networks to foster a business culture among students and the general public.

More than 150 ventures have already received support under the ITTD project, which has helped sustain or generate a total of 400 jobs, and provided training for over 1,000 individuals.

Positive impact

“Thanks to the technologies we use, our visitors are able to fully immerse themselves in the shows, travelling through time and space,” Harutyunyan says.

She also notes proudly that community engagement is at the core of Ditaran’s vision, with local job creation and small enterprise support being just some of its positive socio-economic impacts. The project’s direct impact on the local economy has been 10+ temporary jobs during the construction stage, 10 permanent local jobs for Ditaran staff, and 20+ small enterprises created and/or supported through the dome or related activities.

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