Heritage preservation is not a specialism of mine, but inevitably having a hobby like collecting WHS means I encounter it a fair bit.
One thing that always interests/ concerns me is restoration of heritage sites. I know this is a big issue in Heritage Management circles but I was wondering what the general World Heritage site visiting population feel about it.
On the whole I don't think I am a big fan of the rebuilding of sites. The one exception to this is if the destruction was caused recently by a large scale act of destruction e.g the rebuilding of Warsaw and Dresden after WWII.
I was prompted to think about this after visiting Hildesheim in Germany, where many of the buildings in the centre have been rebuilt, however they had the feeling of being imitations of older buildings. The interior of the WH listed St Michael's church had also been restored and it was a very impressive space, however the shiny new marble and clean cut corners made me feel like I was in a brand new town hall rather than in a millennia old church. Maybe it will weather in over time
The news item
on Babylon being readied for nomination also gave me reasons for concern. To my eyes the Hussein era rebuilding of Babylon
looks ghastly, but I wondered if others have the same ideas about this. I have heard that in the Far East, especially Japan, that rebuilding to a pristine example of the building is considered to be the best form of preservation. So I was wondering if it is just my own British take on heritage preservation that views rebuilding as not being the best route.
Also wondering if anyone has any good/ bad examples of restoration at WHS?