• Weird History

Famous Buildings That Were Rebuilt

List RulesVote up the buildings that deserve a still-standing ovation.

Wood, stone, brick, and even steel are generally no match for military might, horrible weather, too much fire or water, shoddy workmanship, shifting soil, or just plain old time. Even the most famous historical buildings, designed by the smartest minds of the time, using the most sturdy materials and latest construction materials, cannot stand forever. But like noted monuments, when famous structures topple due to natural disasters, military conflicts, weak foundations, or other reasons, people and governments usually want to build them back up.

Many of the oldest and most famous historical structures around the world, including churches, government buildings, and royal castles, have taken a severe beating over the years, but they've risen from the ashes or ruins to come back just as strong - or even better - than before.

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  • The first Frauenkirche - translation: "(Our) Lady's Church" - in Dresden, Germany, was a Gothic structure built in the 11th century. Reconstructed several times to accommodate a growing population, it fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in 1726 as the Baroque version (pictured here in the earlier photo during the mid- or late 19th century). Architect George Bähr wanted it to be "like a single stone from the ground to its highest point."

    The bombing of Dresden by England during WWII led to the church's collapse, and it wasn't rebuilt until 60 years later, reopening in 2005. The reconstructed church was designed to be as authentic to the original as possible, and to include pieces of ruins from the previous building.    

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    Cathedral of Christ the Savior In Moscow, Russia

    The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was built to commemorate the country's victory over Napoleon in 1812. Construction took more than 40 years, starting in 1839. Appropriately, Tchaivosky's "1812 Overture" premiered in 1882 outside the unfinished building.

    Stalin's forces brought down the church in 1931 (pictured) to make way for a grandiose Palace of Soviets. That building project didn't happen, however, and the site became an open-air swimming pool. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the church was rebuilt from 1995 to 2000, based on the original design but with more modern materials and other features such as underground parking. 

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    St. Mark's Campanile In Venice, Italy

    The bell tower at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy, about 323 feet tall, is separate from rather than attached to the church. Rebuilt several times from the 12th to 14th centuries as a watchtower, it took its current form as a bell tower in 1514, when the belfry, spire, and a weather vane in the form of the archangel Gabriel were added. 

    The tower collapsed in 1902 due to a crack in a wall; no one lost their life when it fell. Ten years later the rebuilt tower reopened to mirror the original on the exterior, but with a more stable structure. Gabriel was re-created using fragments from the fallen weathervane. The five bells, shattered in 1902, were recast. 

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  • St. Paul's Cathedral in London, perched atop the city's highest point, is in its fourth iteration. The original wooden church, built in 604, was rebuilt three times after fires, Viking raids, and lightning strikes either brought down or severely damaged the structure. The current version, designed by Christopher Wren, went up after the Great Fire of London in 1666, and took 35 years to build. Although the cathedral was bombed during WWII, it withstood the damage.

    For more than 250 years, the cathedral was London's tallest building; the dome is 365 feet high.

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