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Ypenhof
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Old Town losses in The Netherlands

Klassiker #205

Speaking about the destruction of Rotterdam and other towns I would like to give some additional information.

- The casualty rate of the Rotterdam bombing in May 1940 was indeed relatively low considering the destruction of 25.000 houses. But I think for different reasons than you are mentioning. During the bombing of May 14 residential districts were indeed a target for the Luftwaffe; the bombing was ordered by Hermann Göring himself in order to force the Dutch to surrender. However in the previous days there were already small strategic air attacks near the old town and the inhabitants were able to flee their houses before the the big air raid. In 1943 there were almost as many casualties during an air raid aimed at at the port, but hit a nearby residential area.

- You are right that large parts of the old town of Rotterdam consisted of slums, and I think that a large part of the old town would have been demolished anyhow, even without the bombing. Parts of the old town however were quite valuable, especially along the old canals and the St. Laurens church. Taking into account the rutheless attitude of Rotterdam city authorities in the 1970s and 1980s (despite massive protests they managed to demolish the most valuable Art Nouveau church in The Netherlands for example) probably not much would have left from old Rotterdam.

-In terms of losses of valuable old towns, then Middelburg should be mentioned in the first place, the medieval provincial capital of Zeeland. A large part of the old town was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in 1940, 3 days after Rotterdam. However the rebuilding was carried out in a very sensitive way, somewhat similar of Münster and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Even a rare 100 % reconstruction was permitted in the 1960s.

- The old town of Arnhem was destroyed about 50 pct during Operation Market Garden and afterwards, and during the 1960s and 1970s a lot was spoiled in an unnecessary way.
This is even more painful for the old town of nearby Nijmegen. Half of the very beautiful old town was destroyed by an RAF air raid (an error) and the fighting during market Garden in 1944. But another 1/3 of the medieval old town near the river was levelled between 1955 and 1975 during one of the notorious 'city reconstructions' similar like Exeter or some East German towns.

Also the old towns of Venlo and Groningen were badly hit. In the latter case some historic buildings around Market square could be reconstructed these days, but they won't do that because reconstruction is almost taboo in our country.
 
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I read somewhere about a town called Rotheburg (or something similar) who did an almost 100% restoration of their town after the war.[/I]
Rothenburg? Well, it was partly destroyed, but not severely as other cities mentioned here. But yes, they restored Rothenburg faithfully to it's original state. Today you can not tell, that it was ever destroyed:


Siebers Tower and Plönlein Fork by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Germany - Rothenburg Röder Arch & Half Timbered Markustum Hotel Rödergasse by Le Monde1, on Flickr


Marktplatz by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Rödergasse by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Paseando por Rotemburgo by FJcuenca, on Flickr


Gallows Gate by VT_Professor, on Flickr


St. Wolfgang's Church by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Marktplatz by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Rothenburg by i_plus, on Flickr


Rathaus Tower by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Röder Gate by VT_Professor, on Flickr
 

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How much of Milan's historic center was destroyed? There are a lot of modern buildings in The old center. Is that due to war damage?
30% of the city was reduce to rubbles by 60 different raids.All the most important buildings were bombed totally or partially.Duomo,palazzo reale,vittorio emanuele gallery,la scala theatre,santa maria delle grazie where the only wall standing was the one painted by da Vinci with the last supper.2000 people lost their life.
 

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Rothenburg? Well, it was partly destroyed, but not severely as other cities mentioned here. But yes, they restored Rothenburg faithfully to it's original state. Today you can not tell, that it was ever destroyed:


Siebers Tower and Plönlein Fork by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Germany - Rothenburg Röder Arch & Half Timbered Markustum Hotel Rödergasse by Le Monde1, on Flickr


Marktplatz by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Rödergasse by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Paseando por Rotemburgo by FJcuenca, on Flickr


Gallows Gate by VT_Professor, on Flickr


St. Wolfgang's Church by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Marktplatz by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Rothenburg by i_plus, on Flickr


Rathaus Tower by VT_Professor, on Flickr


Röder Gate by VT_Professor, on Flickr
Best post-war reconstruction ever!
I am such of a supporter of this kind of operation.
In Italy at the moment of the reconstruction,a big debate started among the intellectuals splitting the public opinion in 2 distinct parts.
One was supporting the idea of a philological restoration of the destroyed buildings,that involved a faithful reconstruction using original material recovered from rubbles.
On the other hand the other one was supporting the theory that philological restoration possibly was going to create an historical"false".
For this second school of thought the solution was to build new architecture instead of the old one.
Unfortunately the second theory was adopted for the reconstruction of many of the damaged cities(thanks God few exceptions were made like ponte di castelvecchio in Verona for example).
That's way,for example,Borgo san jacopo and all the areas around ponte vecchio in Florence,all badly damage by the withdrawing germans troops,have this nonconforming look.
 

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^^

Kinda takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Very beautiful indeed :)
yes, and to witness the village in person is to to realize that these photos do it only partial justice. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, its full name, is a small town and as such was able to rebuilt effectively at far less cost than what major cities were faced with. Rothenburg also was not considered a location that was critical to housing, feeding, and accomodating Germans, occupation forces, or refugees, so the need for quickly built, efficient structures was almost none existent; they were able to get along and rebuilt as they could. Did a superb job and now we can imagine from their reality what much of the rest of the nation once looked like.
 

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Kim Domingo
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Any pics on what was lost in Asia?
This was Manila, Philippines on the aftermath of the WWII. It was the 2nd most devastated city in the world after Warsaw. Several colonial (Spanish & American) buildings got flattened. It's like the Warsaw of Asia.









MetroManila Today.





Many buildings has been rebuilt through the help of the US, a close ally of the PHL. But many buildings had also fell into disuse until today.
 

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In Germany not only the war destroyed many buildings, but also some stupid architects.

This is a street in Bonn after the WW2 in mid 50s.



Today



Bremen 1962



Today



Bielefeld 1962



Today



Heidelberg, Bismarckplatz 1958



Today



I think even if the WW2 never happened, many german cities would look horrible, thanks to the urban planners.
 

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^^^^

while the so-called urban planners (or urban players) pave the way for structures too big, wrong scale, wrong places, etc, it's the architects who give us the look and city design councils that approve. Had that corner in Heidleburg, for example, been built with a 18th or 19th century looking structure, same square footage and height, it would have been a net gain rather than an eye sore.
 

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Discussion Starter #333 (Edited)
In Germany not only the war destroyed many buildings, but also some stupid architects.

I think even if the WW2 never happened, many german cities would look horrible, thanks to the urban planners.
When it comes to cities as Berlin (very liberal city council and population, I believe the city would have changed a lot even without WWII in the 1950s and 1960s). The same can be said about the cities in the Ruhr district (Koln, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Essen, Gelsenkirchen etc..)

Nevertheless, I believe the historic old towns of the following top level "tourist cities" would remain intact:

1. Dresden: Altstadt and neustadt

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/dres/bw08.jpg


http://img129.imageshack.us/img129/2838/dresdenaltstadtuferyg9.jpg

2. Frankfurt am Main:
Altstadt within the gardens visible on the pictures below

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/37/Frankfurt_am_Main-Karte_der_Altstadt_nach_Baldemar_von_Petterweil.png/600px-Frankfurt_am_Main-Karte_der_Altstadt_nach_Baldemar_von_Petterweil.png


http://www.altfrankfurt.com/Blick/Luftbild/pic/Luftbild_Roemerberg_Dom1929.jpg


http://i48.tinypic.com/2hftf9v.jpg

3. Nürnberg:
More or less entire medieval old town within the city walls

http://www.stadtatlas-muenchen.de/stadtatlas-nuernberg/1936-altstadt.jpg


http://phila3000.de/JPGS/ws/ws00001-04999/ws04541.jpg


http://www.stadtatlas-muenchen.de/stadtatlas-nuernberg/1939-stadtmodell.jpg

4. Danzig:
Can be discussed since the city was Social democrat and had modernization plans before the 1930s, though I believe that several countries and espacially Poland would protest a modernization of the historic hanseatic and Renaissance Main town and Old town (The only of its kind in this part of Europe).


http://ebay.billerantik.de/ebay/bildertaich/1521_danzig.JPG


http://www.castlesofpoland.com/prusy/postcard/danzig082.jpg


http://www.momente-im-werder.net/01_Offen/14_Danzig_1939/19xx-12-Danzig.jpg


http://imageshack.us/a/img705/7605/skjermbilde20130403kl15.png

5. Hildesheim

http://www.bauwelt.de/sixcms/media.php/911/03_KnochenHildesheim_ca1900_s.jpg


http://hgisg.geoinform.fh-mainz.de/multi4/bilder/AK04999aHildesheimUm1900.jpg


http://www.geschichteinchronologie.ch/2wk/b/1945-03-22-Hildesheim-feuersturm-d/024-andreaskirche-m-altstadt-Luftbild-1930ca.jpg

6. Konigsberg:
Kneiphof and the areas surrounding up to the Royal castle



http://www.welt.de/img/kultur/crop101802739/1740713311-ci3x2l-w580-aoriginal-h386-l0/Koenigsberg-1-DW-Kultur-Berlin.jpg


http://files.kantianos.webnode.com.br/200000163-0d7fc0f73c/konigsberg4.jpg

7. Hannover
Altstadt (Old town).


http://www.carfree.com/postcard/post1905/horiz/hannover-markt.jpg


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/thumb/3/3b/Hannover_Altstadt_Leine_1896.jpg/585px-Hannover_Altstadt_Leine_1896.jpg

etc..
 

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Without aggressive politics of NSDAP (which eventually lead to WW2), I'm sure that all the cities above would've been beautifully preserved. I don't want to start another political discussion, but also without NSDAP, Free City of Danzig/Gdansk would've stayed semi-independent city, politically controlled and represented abroad by Poland. Of course, I'm positive that Polish authorities wouldn't allow Danzigers to modernise the Old Danzig/Gdansk (so important in history of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth).
 

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The centre of Lviv is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site so I'm not sure how it can be called a lost city.
It is a "lost" city from a different reason. Population transfers after the war changed the city's cultural continuity, language, religion, etc. For example as a result of changing borders of Poland by Big Three, from over 35 well preserved Latin Catholic Churches (originally built for this purpose) in Lwow before the war, there are only about 5 in today's Lviv that are still Latin Catholic. Also, most monuments have been demolished (e.g. the oldest secular monument in Lwow that was built in honour of Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski in 1752-1754). Polish language, which was used by majority of the city between the early 16th century and 1940s was regarded as rubbish after the war, so many museums, libraries, galleries, etc. have been closed (precious artefacts, books and art works were just simply destroyed).

Of course, the city wasn't damaged during the war and that is why its high architectural value was rewarded by UNESCO.
 

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It is a "lost" city from a different reason. Population transfers after the war changed the city's cultural continuity, language, religion, etc. For example as a result of changing borders of Poland by Big Three, from over 35 well preserved Latin Catholic Churches (originally built for this purpose) in Lwow before the war, there are only about 5 in today's Lviv that are still Latin Catholic. Also, most monuments have been demolished (e.g. the oldest secular monument in Lwow that was built in honour of Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski in 1752-1754). Polish language, which was used by majority of the city between the early 16th century and 1940s was regarded as rubbish after the war, so many museums, libraries, galleries, etc. have been closed (precious artefacts, books and art works were just simply destroyed).

Of course, the city wasn't damaged during the war and that is why its high architectural value was rewarded by UNESCO.
Ah, I see. Thanks for explaining :)
 
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