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Conservation of Architectural Heritage in European History

“The Greatest glory of a building is its age”, John Ruskin, English art critic (1819 – 1900).

The conservation and renovation of architectural heritage became a pressing matter in the current age. Most of the older buildings that survived to the modern days are those of religious importance. At the point when these buildings are no longer of beneficial importance, they just vanish like many other different structures. During the early years of the 19th century, was the first time the Forum of ancient Rome was unearthed and was studied.


The builders of medieval times treated their ancestors’ work without any kind of astonishment. And every gothic sanctuary or chantry and practically every stage in constructing a single gothic cathedral captured the style of its age. By the age of Renaissance in Europe new admiration for classical artifacts was developed and new enthusiasm for its forms of structure. At the end of the 18th century, the science of archaeology became well-respected and was considered, for an educated man, as an achievement.

By this age the architectural design was limited to the matter of renovation. The Old structures all over Europe began to be resurrected and renovated as members of the new era in their style. As an example the E.-E. Viollet-le-Duc, a French architect and writer, renovated both the Sainte-Chapelle (1840 – 1867) and the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris (1845 – 1864) , brilliantly, while the Windsor Castle walls in England along with the ancient walls of Carcassonne in France, were somewhat completely rebuilt.

With the increasing of depending on machinery in industry during the Industrial Revolution, the hand labor became more expensive, and the skills of hand-work were more valued. And the old structures, which regularly displayed the human touches of expert craftsmen, started to gain special admiration, that a new society was founded, called the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), in the year 1877 by the conservation movement pioneers, led by the English artist and writer William Morris (1834 – 1896).

This society, which was called Anti-Scrape, passionately was against the unselective reshaping of the old stonework, such as when they gathered their forces in the case of the new west front of Saint Albans Cathedral (1880 – 1883). And during the 20th century many worldwide movements have followed their steps for architectural conservation.

More and more forces were given by national pride; in nations, for example, Poland, after the war renovation turned into the image of national revival. Each nation is progressively aware of its heritage of antiquated structures, while social organizations, for example, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have given to the conservation movements a great universal drive.


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