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rebuilding history

An article in today's Wall Street Journal talks about the increasingly bitter fight in Greece over the reconstruction of the Partenon. Apparently some elements are being replaced with new materials outright, and even some new statues are being put in place. Other strange "compromises" are being made:

Mary Ioannidou, director of the Parthenon Restoration Project, wanted to re-erect each of the six columns that once graced the east porch, while minimalists argued for only one. The council decided three would be recreated and three left as stumps. The three new columns were recently raised, and now workers are experimenting with tea, mud and a ferrous-oxide solution to age the new marble.

This is ridiculous. It's one thing to restore a painting by cleaning it (as it was done with the Sistine Chapel), it's another to simply rebuild something and pretend you are recovering the past. When you rebuild it, you lose what made it impressive. Even its destruction was a part of its history.

Erasing history like this, basically in the name of tourism, is idiotic. However we can all look forward to the time when the whole world looks like some kind of twisted theme park.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on August 5 2002 at 4:12 PM

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