15 Rebuilt Historic Buildings That Will Give You Hope for Notre-Dame
On April 15th, 2019, the world watched with sadness as Notre-Dame in Paris was slowly devastated by a fire. The historic building is set to be rebuilt. It might seem unlikely that it could return to its former glory, but throughout history many buildings of the same importance were destroyed for various reasons, from natural causes to war. And, against all odds, are now standing as beautiful as ever.
Info-Ideal put together a collection of historic buildings that prove it’s possible to rise from the ashes, looking as magnificent as ever.
1. Reims Cathedral/Notre-Dame de Reims
Famous for being the traditional location for the coronation of the kings of France, the Reims Cathedral was commissioned as a hospital in World War I. It was then that, due to consistent bombings, this beautiful church was destroyed. Its restoration began in 1919 and it was reopened in 1938. Though renovations are still constant, the cathedral has recovered greatly from its downfall.
2. Abbey of Monte Cassino
Located on top of a hill, the Abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy was in a prime spot for the German forces in World War II. Unfortunately because of this, it ended up being left in ruins after a bombing by the allies in February 1944. Most of its art collection was saved, since it had already been transferred to the Vatican prior to the start of the war. The restoration work was finished in 1964.
3. Dresden Frauenkirche
Like many other historic buildings, the Dresden Frauenkirche saw its walls broken down by incendiary bombs in air raids during World War II. Located in the city of Dresden, in Germany, its ruins were considered a war memorial for about 50 years. Only after the reunification of Germany did the process of rebuilding start and it quickly became a symbol of post-war hope. Work on the church finished in 2005.
4. Church of St. Nicholas
Yet another casualty of war, the church of St. Nicholas in Karlovac, Croatia, was devastated as a result of World War II and the Croatian War of Independence. Because it was a Serbian Orthodox church and represented the rich history of its people, the Serbian community united to make it whole once again. This sense of resilience and appreciation for what the church signified resulted in it being completely renovated in 2007.
5. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Because of Joseph Stalin’s anti-religious campaign in the early days of the Soviet Union, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was ordered to be demolished. On December 5th, 1931, the centenary Russian church was reduced to rubble and its marble was used to decorate nearby metro stations. Following the dissolution of the USSR, it was rebuilt using the same design from the original architect.
6. Königsberg Cathedral
Commonly recognized as the place of rest for the philosopher Immanuel Kant, this gothic-style cathedral suffered extensive damage during World War II. The mission to bring it back to its original state started in the early 1990s and was finished in 2005. This Russian landmark now has 2 chapels and a museum, and is the preferred venue for daily organ concerts.
7. Royal Castle
Located in the heart of Warsaw, Poland, the Royal Palace dated back to the 16th century until it was ransacked and then demolished by German troops during World War II. Immediately after the war ended, work to rescue any surviving fragments of the original building started. By 2010 it had been completely reconstructed thanks to voluntary contributions and it now stands as one of Poland’s most popular and important monuments.
8. Selby Abbey
One of the few still standing abbey churches from the Middle Ages in England, the Selby Abbey, is a landmark with immense historical value. But it was nearly fully lost to a fire that broke out in the organ chamber in 1906. The roof of the choir and all the interior fittings were completely destroyed, though firefighters managed to save a stained glass window from the 14th century. It was reopened in 1909 after just 3 years of restoration work, yet it wasn’t completed until 1912.
9. St Mark’s Campanile
The bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica, in Venice, Italy, has been offering breathtaking views to its visitors for centuries. But the venue of Galileo’s demonstration of his telescope collapsed on the morning of July 14th, 1902, due to its poor state of conservation. The blank space left in Venice’s landscape was restored by 1912 when it was inaugurated and locals and tourists alike once again had access to all it has to offer: whether it’s the view or the beautiful architecture.
One of the most popular attractions in Germany, the Reichstag, housed the parliament when it first burned in 1933. One decade later, it would see even darker times. At the hands of Adolf Hitler and his troops, this historic building was vandalized and ultimately left in ruins. Efforts to restore it started in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until after the reunification of the country that its entire reconstruction began. It was completed in 1999, a year marked by the return of the federal parliament to the Reichstag.
11. Saint-Gervais de Falaise
At the request of William the Conqueror in the 11th century, the church of St. Gervais was built in the small French town of Falaise. It survived the test of time in all its grandness until the summer of 1944. Then, it suffered great damage during World War II. But because of its solid structure only the bell tower actually collapsed. It was restored in the following decades and now acts as a symbol of the history of Normandy.
12. Parliament Buildings
February 3rd, 1916, was a dark day for the history of Canada. The Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, went up in flames suddenly and it was a huge headache for the fire brigade, who struggled with the bad winter weather. Sadly, the center block of these gothic style buildings was extensively damaged and only the library was able to be saved. Reconstruction started a few months afterward and it was finished 11 years later.
13. Potsdam’s City Palace
Once the residence of the Prussian Kings, Potsdam’s City Palace has had its fair share of tough times. On top of being heavily damaged in World War II, it was later dismantled by the Eastern German communist regime. Needless to say, its reconstruction was a challenge, taking several years to complete. However, the building is back up with a brand new interior and exterior and now houses the parliament of the federal state of Brandenburg.
14. Berlin Cathedral
With a history that goes back centuries, it’s easy to get lost in the fascinating tales of the Berlin Cathedral. But, of course, not everything was a bed of roses. World War II took its toll on the building and it was severely damaged. It was left in poor condition until 1975 when reconstruction started. Completed in 1993, it has been attracting visitors for decades now.
15. York Minster
York Minster’s story is eerily similar to that of the Notre-Dame in Paris. In 1984, a fire broke out in the south part of the church, which resulted in the collapse of the roof. To the relief of many, various historic objects from the building were rescued in time. Nowadays, after 4 years of restoration work, York Minster has fully healed and remains one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe.
Do you think once Notre-Dame in Paris is rebuilt, it will look as good as before? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!