JOHN BIGGS
I have recently returned from a trip to Eastern Europe. One thing in particular staggered me: the deep concern of all for preserving or lovingly reconstructing heritage buildings that had been destroyed. Prague, Krakow and Vilnius were in the former category — not much war damage, comparatively speaking, but all care taken at huge expense to renovate, restore and maintain buildings as they once were, when their economies were poor and the cost must have been a real sacrifice. Even more astounding were cities like Berlin, Warsaw and St Petersburg where 80-90 per cent of inner city areas were completely razed yet they have been carefully recontsructed to their former glory, by an economically challenged and atheistic communist Government. It didn’t matter if they were churches or extravaganzas by megalomaniacal Tsars — to the communists they were all still heritage and to be preserved on that account. Like Salamnder says, you don’t have to be a true believer to see that heritage is a vital part of what it is to be human, and to be the centre of community activities. Read more, Comment at the end of the article, HERE