Travelling around Greece, you will come across countless ancient architectural wonders. Some in great condition, other in complete ruin. Even on the smallest of islands you’ll find something from a time long ago that forms part of that locations identity. These remnants from the past are what draw a lot of people to visit the country. However, their value goes well beyond the commercial. The cultural significance of them is far greater. These churches, temples, houses and other buildings tell the story of Greece’s past. They span the thousands of years of human occupation of the land and the varied people that have lived there. From the Parthenon and its iconic columns, to the theatre in Epidarus, throughout the country there are monuments from the old world that continue to inspire today.
Preventing these structures from deteriorating further, and returning some of them to a semblance of their former glory, is painstaking and costly work. It takes significant investment of both time and money to protect, preserve and restore even the smallest of buildings, so imagine what it takes to do the same for a country full of them – some of which are the size of stadiums! Behind the scenes there are archaeologists, architects, builders, artists, historians and countless others constantly toiling away. The work often goes unheralded, with the reward for their efforts coming in the form of pride for their efforts. Most of them are motivated by passion. A love for their country and its fascinating past drives them to spend endless hours digging, dusting, researching, rebuilding and protecting their discoveries. Speaking of discoveries, they are constantly unearthing new things, or finding them submerged on the seafloor. So as one project might come to an end, several others are waiting for work to begin on them.
What can we do to help? Well, apart from donating to the cause, simply visiting these sites is an important thing to do. Not only does the money from entry fees go back into the restoration works, but by learning about these places and spreading the word, you will increase awareness of them. It’s through shared knowledge and inspiring more people to take an interest in the old world, that the next generation of historians or archaeologists will be born.