An Immersive VR Experience: Horizon of Khufu – Journey in Ancient Egypt

This morning, in the blistering cold of Montreal’s winter, my husband and I were transported to Egypt. There was no packing required and zero flight fees. We toured the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt in ways that can only be described as phenomenal.

Thanks to a new immersive virtual reality expedition, we saw places in the heart of the 4500-year-old pyramid that not even tourists could see if they were there physically. Making its North American debut here in Montreal, The Horizon of Khufu takes you on a guided tour with Mona. She explains things about Egypt and the Great Pyramids, just like a guide would do if you had travelled over 8000 km from here.

What is an Immersive Experience?

The concept was created by the Parisian company, Emissive, founded by Emmanuel Guerriero and Fabien Barati. The team is comprised of 25 people. The company’s philosophy is to create a story that you live, not that you consume. They have successfully managed to do this with Horizon of Khufu. Not only were we learning while listening to our guide, but we were also physically walking as we went through areas of the pyramid, following our guide, stepping on sand, then stones, and being raised by virtual lifts. The wind was felt on our faces as we were on top of the Pyramid, looking out at the city of Cairo.

To make things even more interesting, the virtual experience also includes a travel back in time, where we embark on a boat on the Nile River, and bear witness to the preparation of King Khufu at his funerary rite, with his family all around him.

So how did Emissive manage to include us all in the event that happened some 4500 years ago with such exactness? They created the immersive virtual tour with the help of Peter Der Manuelian, Professor of Egyptology at Harvard University and Director of the Giza Project. The scientific accuracy was monitored by Manuelian and his team, basing it on the architectural and historical data known of this time. The project took three years of research and development, with specialists in design, 3D art, animation, and music just to name a few.  The whole experience comes together in a 45-minute modern work of art.

Is Horizon of Khufu Good for Families?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes! As we travelled through the Pyramid in this VR experience, all we kept saying to each other was how much our boys would enjoy this.  I think tweens and teens would enjoy this the most, with younger children getting slightly frustrated with the headset and the length of the experience (45 minutes). The age requirement for the experience is eight years old. With technology being what it is today, an experience such as this is a perfect, and more enticing way for tweens and teens to learn about the Egyptian pyramids and ancient cultures. Gone are the days of only opening up a book and reading about history.

Parents and grandparents will also love this experience. The moment we finished, we were trying to find reservations for dates when our family is coming to visit, because this will be something they would love. For anyone that has always dreamed of visiting the pyramids, but cannot for various reasons, this is truly the next best thing. With companies like PHI Studio in Montreal collaborating with Emissive and other creative innovators, we now have the opportunity to experience history in a way we only dreamed of.

A Few Things to Consider

If you are claustrophobic or have a fear of heights, there may be some moments during the experience that will feel uncomfortable. It’s incredible how the mind plays tricks on us! Of course, you are in no way high in the sky or in a small tunnel, it is all virtual reality. Because it is such an immersive experience, you really can feel as if you are in those situations. You can have two other friends join you in your group for the experience. And when you are getting set up, your friends will be “connected” with you the whole time. I was able to see a blue avatar of my husband with his name on top of his head throughout the time we were touring. I found it reassuring to hold his hand, and so did he (he has a fear of heights).

Horizon of Khufu – Journey in Ancient Egypt is currently taking place at the Old Port of Montreal, presented by PHI, across from the science center. Tickets are available until the end of May with a possible extension due to its overwhelming response. Over 25,000 tickets have already been sold! Montreal is very lucky to have this experience. I highly recommend this immersive VR travel experience, and I am sure you and your teens will love it.

For more information, visit as well as the Horizon of Khufu – Journey in Ancient Egypt official website.

A big thank you to PHI for inviting me to this special event. We will be back!


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