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PickledSpace56 OP t1_je416kn wrote

So even further, why not restore some of it? We have pretty good guesses and good historical backing on what it might have looked like, why not bring these places back to that now?


phiwong t1_je4281q wrote

There a many old buildings that have been repaired and restored (churches, mosques etc). Broadly speaking, these might have some CURRENT cultural relevance and use. Expensive though. Very expensive.

But there are some sites that are historically significant but are not really "useful". The Parthenon and Colosseum are not going to be of much use even if they were restored. And it would pretty much destroy their historical value. So the benefits of a full restoration certainly don't seem to be worth the cost.


w0mbatina t1_je48l8p wrote

There are actually roman arenas that are still in use. The Nimes and Pula arena both host music shows. You even have live dvds by Metallica and Rammstein from the Nimes arena. Its pretty awesome.


weierstrab2pi t1_je4lysg wrote

Isabella Parigi once performed in the colosseum alongside some random American who looked identical to her.


Theborgiseverywhere t1_je4s12d wrote

My friend Gordo went to that concert!


Everry1146 t1_je5bqe3 wrote

It was mostly intact until 1687. The Ottoman Empire controlled the city and was using it to store gunpowder.


vintagecomputernerd t1_je5vwdz wrote

Don't leave us hanging, what happened after they decided to store gunpowder there? /s


jarpio t1_je5lzua wrote

they even played a hockey game at the arena in Pula in 2012


HappyLeading8756 t1_je4t8rw wrote

Would add that it is important to remember that most sites are located in the cities that have been and still are inhabited. Fact that those sites are still present and have not been used to build other buildings or demolished throughout centuries if not millenniums, already says a lot.

Additionally, you cannot keep it all. You have to make choices. Not only because of limited resources but also because otherwise you wouldn't have a city that would be liveable. When you have layers upon layers of history, you have to make choices about what to keep and what not.


Only_Razzmatazz_4498 t1_je4rxm8 wrote

The Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul that started life as a Byzantine (eastern Roman Empire) church is an example of one used and maintained over the millennia. Also there is a church in Rome (Pantheon) that started life as a Roman gods church (pantheon lol) and has one of the oldest and largest concrete self supporting domes with an opening up top (oculus) for light. I think the doors are the original also.

There might be other counterexamples but as someone said it all depends on whether the structure found other uses and possibly at least in the western world the church was the only large organization with the resources to maintain empire type structures.


Cycleguy57 t1_je4ul4y wrote

To me, the real astonishing thing is that these old monuments weren’t torn down a thousand years ago to re use the building materials. I’m glad they weren’t but I remain surprised.


Abba_Fiskbullar t1_je5coml wrote

Almost all of these structures were used as a source of building materials. The most obvious is the marble cladding from the exterior, and bronze ceiling from the portico of the Pantheon. The marble cladding was stripped by lime burners in the middle ages, and the bronze ceiling from the portico was stripped and melted down by Pope Urban VIII in the 1600s. The main temple of the Parthenon complex was largely intact until 1687, when the gunpowder magazine stored there by the Ottomans was hit by cannon fire from the Venetian Navy and exploded.


Cycleguy57 t1_je5d330 wrote

Thanks for that. I know that the original outer limestone casing on the pyramids were stripped away.


Abba_Fiskbullar t1_je5gqhs wrote

The frustrating thing is that the casings on the pyramids survived for thousands of years, until the relatively recent middle ages, when the ruler of Cairo, Salahadeen's son, ordered that the pyramids be torn down. He wasn't successful, obviously, but we no longer get to experience the pyramids as they were created


Cycleguy57 t1_je5ixrr wrote

Yet another thing I didn’t know. Thanks again


rocima t1_je7cr6d wrote

And the Parthenon probably only survived that long because it was protected by being turned into a church in the Christian Roman/Byzantine empire & then a mosque under the Ottomans.

It's not a coincidence it's the biggest surviving structure (despite the explosion) on the Acropolis, the other buildings will have been demolished.


Biggseb t1_je86r71 wrote

Same with the Colosseum… it was considered a holy site because of the Christian martyrs that died there, sparing it from being completely pilfered and destroyed.


rocima t1_je8bqzq wrote

Though a Pope gave permission for a large part of it to be demolished to construct a huge Palace for his nephew (Palazzo della Cancelleria).

Nepotism vs martyrdom - no competition!


rocima t1_je7c3pk wrote

Most of them were. In the center of Rome only a few examples survive. The rest of that city of one million people was torn down to build the medieval city, or the Renaissance city or even the Baroque city. If you know where to look, later Roman buildings are full of scraps pillaged from Ancient Rome (including much of the lime used in the building mortars: made by burning ancient Roman limestone & marble!)


PickledSpace56 OP t1_je42gs8 wrote

That all makes sense. It is quite the stinker that places like Parthenon will never again have its beauty as depicted in so many stories and drawings.


MadMelvin t1_je4kz8t wrote

If they restored the Parthenon, it wouldn't be the old Parthenon brought back to its original glory; it would just be a new Parthenon like the one in Tennessee. We live in a one-way universe.


RuinLoes t1_je4o45j wrote

The parthenon in tennesse is a projection of our current aesthetic standards onto the greeks. It would not actually have looked like that, it would have been fully painted bright colors.


HappyGoPink t1_je5givz wrote

And so would any aggressive "restoration" of the original Parthenon. If you want to see what it looked like when it was new, build a replica, like they did in Tennessee. The original bears the marks of history, and if you erase those marks, you erase that history.


RuinLoes t1_je5iveq wrote

....? Respond to the wrong comment?


atomfullerene t1_je5oa10 wrote

No, that was a direct response to your comment. A restoration of the parthenon with bright colors would still be a projection of our current ideas onto the past. It might be a more accurate projection, but it's still just a projection not the actual historical thing.


RuinLoes t1_je669pv wrote

What, no.

Thats doesn't make any sense. If we restored it to how it actually was, how is that a projection?

Also, nobody is suggesting we should do a full restoration, so again, what are you talking about?


atomfullerene t1_je6grpq wrote

>If we restored it to how it actually was, how is that a projection?

Because we do not, and can not, ever really know how it actually was. When the older reconstructions were done in all white marble, that's how people at the time thought it was...just like if we did it today, we may do it how we think it was. But even though we know more, we don't know everything. Constant decisions large and small will have to be made, and those will reflect modern ideas. It's just inescapable.


aitherion t1_je4niwj wrote

I'd argue it's just as, if not more, beautiful now than it was then. The age shows its history; the history gives it meaning beyond "cool building".


Muroid t1_je50suh wrote

Also, the white stone looks gorgeous. The way things were painted in bright colors in antiquity was gaudy as hell.

A lot of the classic Greek and Roman architecture and statuary would look kind of stupid to modern eyes that are used to seeing it with the color stripped away.


Dudesan t1_je6d9oy wrote

To be fair, a lot of the "gaudy primary colours" reconstructions are based on traces of surviving paint, all of which would have been from the base coat. There would presumably have been more layers of paint on top of that. For a better idea of what could have been achieved if they put even 5% as much effort into colouring their statues as they did into carving them (and why wouldn't they?), look at any modern minature painter.


frakc t1_je4grek wrote

Have you seen what happened with many olimpic sites? They were not needed and a lot of them abandoned


RuinLoes t1_je4o0ji wrote

Although, if the parthenon was ever fully restored to it 100% authentic peak athenian spendor.... it probably wouldn't look how you think it would. Grekko-roman statuary and architecture tended to be entirely coated in paint, and not always in ways that we today would consider appealing.


loverlyone t1_je5qodc wrote

You should check out the valley of the temples in Agrigento Sicily. There is a Parthenon-like structure there that’s in better shape along with seven other Greek structures from around 450bc.

valley of the temples


chton t1_je4gucc wrote

Adding on to other answers, they do restore them somewhat. A lot of Greek temples and other structures look like ruins but are actually already partly restored, columns re-erected, parts replaced. The intent is to restore it enough to give an impression of what it would have looked like, without straight up guessing or causing damage to the parts that are there.

We COULD restore them with reasonable guesses, but they'll still only be guesses. Better to restore to a point we know, and let the mind do the work.


ChicagoBeerGuyMark t1_je5faid wrote

Much of the restoration would be to preserve things as they exist now, and to keep them from decaying further and falling in on tourists.


chton t1_je94fzf wrote

Not just that, they also rebuild parts that have fallen over or broken, even if it wasn't broken in our lifetimes. If they can clearly identify where a certain part belongs, they will put it back there.

So it's not just preservation, there is actual reconstruction going on too.


Ormyr t1_je4phi0 wrote

Because in order to be "worthy" of restoration it needs to fulfill a function (be useful) and have some sort of return on investment (be profitable).

Otherwise it's up to philanthropy/charity to keep up the place.


canadave_nyc t1_je6e41j wrote

I have an interesting story relating to your question.

I recently visited Tuzigoot National Monument in Arizona, which, for those who are unaware, is a preserved bunch of dwellings that had been built by indigenous populations many hundreds of years ago. It's now maintained by the National Park Service.

In reading the info placards at the site, in the early to middle part of the twentieth century, the NPS's strategy was to try to restore sites to what they once were--using modern materials, consulting pictures or descriptions of what something used to look like, etc. However, that strategy is no longer current with modern thinking. Instead, the NPS now tries to preserve sites solely to prevent them from degrading, but interferes with the sites as little as possible otherwise. So they may build some drainage to prevent water from destroying something, but they're not going to restore something to what it used to look like. This new way of thinking is apparently the modern norm.


grambell789 t1_je6jm7y wrote

Sometime I wish they would build a high quality replica of the pantheon nearby on a hill so I could see what it supposed to look like. There is one in Nashville I'd will be visiting, although I wish it was on a hill similar to the acropolis


SirDooble t1_je7lsud wrote

Well you can't really do that in Athens. There probably aren't any hills around that don't already have other ancient monuments on them. So you'd have to wipe out something else for a replica of another monument already available to see.

Besides which, a large part of the grandiosity of the Parthenon comes from its presence on the Acropolis. There's not another hill around that would match that.


BeemerWT t1_je8hvj4 wrote

Why not just knock it down and put up a McDonald's?

Among other reasons, it's there because it's historical. A testament to a lost time. I would argue we should maintain it's current state, but I'm hesitant to say we should rebuild. Everything done to these monuments throughout history stands as a reminder of the time, and will continue to stand as a reminder of time after should it continue to change.

We don't need the space for anything. If ever there comes a time when we do then taking it down or even rebuilding will just add to the site's rich history.