Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reminders of the Past

The photograph above is the ruined synagogue in Erdine, Turkey. During the Ottoman Empire, there were significant amount of Jews, Bulgarians, Greeks and other minorities in Erdine. Now, they are gone from the population of the city. This ruined synagogue represents a past that has not existed for over 50 years in Erdine and also tells of toleration while other countries were persecuting Jews.. Every time I viewed this structure, my heart ached. Time was slowly eating away at it and it appeared that no plans for the reconstruction of this wonderful structure forthcoming. When this magnificant structure is in rubble, it is almost certain that it will be replaced with a nondescript apartment building, which have replaced many of the other historic structures in Erdine.

When cities forget their past, they are left with the pre-fab, temporary city of the modern/post-modern era which is dreary and without character. What will archaeologists say about the architecture and civic spirit of the modern era? In the Greek and Roman cities, wealthy individuals and emperors would build libraries, temples, stadiums, baths and other public buildings that would remain to be works of art, even in ruins. How can we bring back this level of civic spirit to our cities?

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