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by Archaeology Newsroom

The problem of restoring monuments in the case of Thessaloniki

The earthquake of 1978 had a terrible effect on the monuments of Thessaloniki and their already bad condition further deteriorated. Poor preservation, a result of natural decay and of previous earthquakes had not been properly faced up tountil then for two main reasons, the high cost of such such an operation and the lack of an adequate number of specialized staff in the Archaeological Service. Both factors made the settlement of the accumulated problems especially difficult and proved the weakness of the Greek Archaeological Service as regards the undertaking of efficient restoration on the monuments of Thessaloniki. Finally, the responsibility for restoration works was reassigned in 1980 to the Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities in collaboration with the Service for Restoration of Monuments. For a better performance the Ephoreia was generously financed and manned with scientific and technical staff. A number of studies on restoring certain monuments was worked out between 1978 and 1980 while thereafter the whole operation was carried out on both theoretical (studies) and practical (restoration work) levels.Hard-gained experience of restoring the monuments of Thessaloniki imposed the need to consider the problem on a panhelladic scale. Most monuments in Greece bear more or less serious damages and present restoration presents problems to which the financing and the organization of the Archaeological Service are not able to respond efficiently. Therefore, effective measures must be taken, such as planning the restoration of monuments on a panhelladic scale, manning the Archaeological Service with all necessary specializations, considering the preservable monuments on a new legal base depending on their status (private, ecclesiastical, public buildings etc, creating in Greece post-graduate studies on restoration of monuments, finally, the serious issue on the preservation of monuments to be included as a first priority governmental program.