A Month in Europe: Recycling Your Temple

The reuse of old structures fascinates me. And there is nowhere like Europe for upcycling buildings. They’ve been doing this since the Neolithic. I have seen caves, clearly former dwellings from the far past, converted into car garages. And how about this one:

I took this picture in passing from a bus. As you can see, a useful and convenient building site was occupied by some pieces of Roman temple. Not to worry! Just build your building, in this case a church, around it. The space between the columns has been filled in but left so that people can still admire the ancient stonework. Meanwhile, the modern steps in front let you up into the actual church sanctuary. Everybody happy, except possibly whichever pagan deity the temple was originally dedicated to. And this is certainly better than having the temple disassembled even more. It’s clearly not useable as it is, and too often the valuable columns and stones are hauled away by neighbors to be worked into new construction or simply fill.

Unless the population is willing to live in a welter of ruins, the old structures have to be reincarnated into useful new lives. This is a charming example.

 

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2 thoughts on “A Month in Europe: Recycling Your Temple”

  1. A few years ago, I read about an interesting theory. Apparently, someone noticed that a lot of the Mediterranean temples that had been dedicated to goddesses switched to being dedicated to gods after literacy reached those locations.

    The theory was that women were better at oral power, but written power got rid of this advantage, and men took control.

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