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Cyprus Institute recreates site of the Last Supper in 3-D imagery

A 3D model, created using advanced technologies, of the Cenacle, a hall revered by Christians as the site of Jesus' Last Supper, in Mount Zion near Jerusalem's Old City

The Institute of Cyprus and the antiquities department of Israel have created a three-dimensional representation of the Cenacle in Jerusalem, the site of the Last Supper between Jesus Christ and his disciples, which Christians believe took place on the Thursday before Good Friday.

The Cypriot and Israeli scientists digitally reconstructed a three-dimensional model using 3D scanners and advanced photographic methods.

According to the press release on Wednesday, the site has ancient, worn surfaces and poor lighting, which have until now hindered a study of its history.

The team of the Institute of Cyprus, led by associate professor Sorin Hermon, used equipment from their laboratories to conduct a three-dimensional scan of the space.

“The project helped us to document all the archeological phases and to understand which part was built when,” Hermon told the Cyprus Mail. “It gives us an overall architectural picture.”

He explained the building has three parts, the ground floor with the Tomb of King David, the upper Cenacle and a third room, the ‘Room of the Holy Ghost’.

“It also shows the continuity from the ground floor to the upper floor, as the upper floor was built exactly on the pillars of the ground floor. This is probably to show the connection between David and Jesus, as Christians believe David was an ancestor of Jesus,” he said.

“The representation details the precise measurements of the building, something that will help conservation.”

“Our work is more than relevant right now after the unfortunate events at the Notre Dame de Paris,” said Amit Re’em, district archaeologist for the Israeli antiquities’ authority. “If something like this would happen at this holy place in the future, which we hope will not happen, we could use [our 3D mapping project] to reconstruct.”

The research has received international publicity, with articles in major media such as New York Times, Japan Times, and Reuters.

16th century painting by Juan de Juanes of the Last Supper

The arched stone hall, known as the Cenacle, is located on the upper floor of the King David’s Tomb compound in Jerusalem. Christians believe Jesus had his final meal there with his twelve disciples before the crucifixion.

The hall is one of the most important locations for Christianity, because apart from being the place where the Last Supper was held it is the location of many events described in the New Testament, such as the meeting place of the apostles where the disciples washed Jesus’ feet and the place where the first Christian Church was founded.

The site has a complex history and has gone through various phases of construction and destruction, as well as changes in religion, as it is believed to have been both a synagogue and a mosque.

Nowadays, it is a popular destination for pilgrims.

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