Take a virtual tour of cultural sites the U.S. is helping preserve

Have you ever wondered what it looks like to walk through an astronomical observatory in rural Peru? Or a medieval town in Romania?

You can now explore an online exhibition of sites the State Department’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) is helping to preserve. The exhibition is in partnership with Google Arts & Culture.

Since 2001, the AFCP has supported international partners in more than 130 countries in preserving ancient and historic buildings, sites, traditions, languages and collections.

“Through more than 1,000 projects thus far, the Ambassadors Fund continues to incorporate cultural preservation and protection into American diplomacy,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said last year.

Projects include the restoration of the al-Imam al-Shafi’i Mausoleum in Cairo, shown above, which is the burial place of one of Islam’s foremost scholars and the founder of one of the four main schools of Sunni Islam. The AFCP project involved conservation of the 13th-century shrine’s exterior walls, decorated interior and unique dome structure.