Hello, Jonas Bergmann
I think that nfmungard
started a similar endeavour some time ago in this thread
. It is a more country-centric attempt, but it still is a sieving exercise.
About reconstructions, well... I had also my "shocking" moment the same way as Douglas Adams. I think that especially in Italy there is an idolatry for everything that's old and that appears
old, or even ancient, hoary. Heck, I was quite perplexed when, studying (Erasmus) in Bonn, restoration works began at our department (Mathematics, for who's wondering): the building (of the beginning of XXth c.) was doing perfectly fine! A little bit worn down, maybe, but no need to refurbish it like that (look at the first picture here
)! Let it be old, no need to make it appear as if it were built yesterday! But they were of another advice. And I often hear people assessing the value of some place from its age and decrepitness alone. So it took some time to me too to accept the fact that panta rei
, and that sometimes a building is the same even if there is no original stone anymore. I have recently read of the Japanes temple Ise Jingu where a ritual ventennial rebuilding cycle is in place since 690!!! Now that's actually glorious.
I think that my red line with regard to OUV is continuity
: this is much more important than actual physical identity, even if this latter surely can confer an even greater value. Changes often also mean that the place has lived
, so, under this light, I can find a place even more interesting. And it is ture that, as conservationist we may like to think we are, in Europe there are lots of reconstructions, or, conversely, it has happened so many times that places in a ruinous state have just been swiped away (like in Kaliningrad)... and sometimes with a good reason, or anyway with a reason, even if we do not agree anymore (e.g. the many churches razed by Napoleonic forces). So original monuments are exceedingly rare. But what I would not accept as having a valid OUV is a reconstruction just for the sake of it. So I look somehow unfavourably even to anastyloses... if there is no purpose, it should not be overdone and we should also accept that what is gone is gone.
(OK, no WHS): the fate had it that the old city vanished along with an era. Ruins were really not salvageable. To me the reconstruction of the castle, as I think some proposed, would be a pointless madness. Instead, the present house of soviets deserves to be conserved in all its brutalist monsotrosity to me, even if I know that it is more or less doomed.
: I am also critical about the reconstruction of Gediminas's castle on the hill, it seems a rather nationalistic move to me... at least the result is somehow historical. Instead, the rebuilding from 0 of the palace of the grand dukes is just plain ridicuolous, as the farfetched "exhibitions" inside. But the fact is, the value of Vilnius is elsewhere, mainly in its baroque traits and churches, so this does not change much.
: Hmm, what to think about the house of the Blackheads... probably like Vilnius, the city and its nomination are more than that. Eventually, it can be accepted as a kind of "reintegration" to the city's picture.
: Now, if I am not mistaken, a big part of the controversy about its inscription was apparently tied to its authenticity. I find this totally preposterous, of course... politics was the real reason. The value of Bagan goes beyond that of the single temples. In fact, most of the minor temples are not really unforgettable taken alone, so why bother if they were mostly reconstructed? The big, landmark temples would suffice alone, the rest are more like details... What comes out of it is a unique place with an incredible atmosphere. And the long Buddhist tradition and vigorous devotion of Burmese make it all the more living. So, to me no problems with reconstructions here.
What I still cannot be totally at peace with, and is maybe the other face of the coin, is when places are overconstructed
, let's say. For example, as I reported of a holy mountain in Mongolia: let's build bigm long concrete stairways to come to the top! And temples and lots of statues all around! And maybe, with time, some shopes, and restaurants... I was somewhat surprised that this happened in Mongolia, where nature is venerated by so many and its pristine status seen as a value. But hasn't this happened lots of times in Europe, too?