Famous Buildings That Were Rebuilt

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Vote 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.

Photo: Library of Congress / Shutterstock.com

  • 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.    

    286 votes
  • 2
    203 VOTES

    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. 

    203 votes
  • 3
    232 VOTES

    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. 

    232 votes
  • 4
    190 VOTES

    Yellow Crane Tower In Wuhan, China

    The original version of China's Yellow Crane Tower, which overlooks the Yangtze River from atop a hill, was built in 223 as a watchtower, then became a scenic location. It was rebuilt more than seven times, and after a fire wiped out the tower in the late 1800s, it wasn't reconstructed until nearly 100 years later in 1981.

    The eaves, covered in yellow glazed tiles, were designed to look like a crane unfurling its wings. 

    190 votes
  • 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.

    210 votes
  • Windsor Castle in England, described by the UK's Royal Collection trust as the "oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world," has been home to 39 royal folks, including Queen Elizabeth II, who still spends most of her weekends there. William the Conqueror built the fortress in the 11th century. The palace was rebuilt many times to accommodate the whims and design tastes of various monarchs, but the complex survived WWII and other potentially damaging military conflicts. The earlier version of the grounds in the drawing here is from around the 17th century.

    In 1992 a fire broke out in the private chapel that wiped out 115 rooms. Restoration took five years, with some rooms getting a makeover using such modern materials as sustainable wood.    

    181 votes