Cities are symbolic of man’s victory over his past conquests. The conquests at large refer to ingenious inventions, historic triumphs, or even a sense of territorial conquest for security. The term city means a territory or a piece of land for human habitation with architectural aspects signifying its existence. These pieces of land undergo evolution or alteration due to various reasons: with time, natural calamities, war, or due to human emergencies. 

The following 10 examples speak about various cities across the globe which have been destroyed due to the above-mentioned reasons and have been rebuilt. Some examples show no connection to their history while others have a significant reminiscence.

1. Hiroshima 

A tragic tale of disaster lingers this city to date. The nuclear explosions at the city during World War 2 wiped the entire city. Even after the worst nuclear disaster in the world, the city never ceased to exist. The resurrection was hard with the incoming typhoon right after the explosion, the dead economy, and the post-explosion nuclear hazard. 

The first sign of hope came in with the Peace Memorial City Construction Law which declared Hiroshima a peace memorial city, after which the city went through a series of revolutions and turned into a developed city with minuscule reminisce signifying the horrors of the past. 

One such is the A-dome which survived the explosion and has been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. 

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Hiroshima after the explosion_thelogicalindian.com_image credits: ©Reuters
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Peace Memorial Park at Hiroshima_©mainichi.jpenglisharticles

2. Nagasaki

The two American nuclear drops “Little boy” and “Fat Man” destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “Fat man” which detonated over the city of Nagasaki was of higher magnitude but did not cause the intended destruction due to the terrain of Nagasaki. 

Like Hiroshima, Nagasaki also faced a lot of post-explosion fatalities. The city rose slowly from its ashes into inhabitable land from its horrific past.

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Peace Park at Nagasaki_©www.pintrest.com

3. Somnathpur, Gujarat

Somnathpur, the city of temples has been invaded and plundered by foreign invaders like Mahmud Ghazni, Afzal Khan, Khilji, and Aurangzeb more than 17 times, yet the temple and few other places around still haven’t lost their charm because of the number of reconstructions. 

The rulers and government never gave up, they always restored the temple complex, this proves the cultural importance of historic places and their connection to the land.

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Somnath temple_©www.tourmyindia.com_ article by Nidhi Singh, December 9,2019

4. Chicago

The city had an unexpected fire in the year 1871 which ruined the entire business district of Chicago. Even after such huge devastation, the city didn’t lose hope. 

Despite the economic crunch and widespread tragedy, the city redeveloped into a major economic and business hub and also housed the world’s first skyscraper. 

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Flatiron building_©history.com _ Article Flatiron Building

5. City of Atlanta 

This city was one of the many cities lost to the American civil war, but unlike other forgotten cities, Atlanta rose from its ashes. They believed that the city had been destroyed but the people survived. 

Most of them who returned helped build back the city. It slowly grew to become Georgia’s industrial and commercial capital and was called ‘The Gateway City to the New South’. Even today the flag of Atlanta has a phoenix rising from the ashes, symbolic of its history. 

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Civil War at Atlanta_©emergingcivilwar.com
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Present day Atlanta_©wikipedia.org

6. Beirut

The present capital and largest city of Lebanon was once reduced to ashes by the consecutive bombing during the Lebanon civil war which lasted for almost 15 years ( 1975-1990). With such distress and devastation lingering in this Asian city, there was no hope for growth until foreign investments with private capitalization turned this city into a modern home of luxury. 

Most of the historic spaces were completely torn down, with the vision of creating a ‘city of exclusion’. This city is an example of complete detachment from its past. 

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Beirut_©www.iflry.com _image from article written by Hussam Erhayel. (April 6,2019)

7. London

One of the most alluring cities of the modern world. This city went through massive destruction during the World Wars and the infamous Great Fire of 1666. Even after such shortcomings, London has risen to become a beautiful city. 

Today, London houses more war memorials than evidence of war damage. 

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WW2 London_©www.britannica.com _ image by_New Times Paris Bureau Collection 
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St Paul’s Cathedral London_©www.timeout.com _image from article written by Laura Lee Davies

8. Julich

It was one of the most affected cities during World War 2. The city was situated on the banks of the River Rur. To occupy Rhineland, the allies had to bomb the obstacles i.e, Julich. The post bombing photographs of Julich resemble Hiroshima and hence it was decided to retain it as a war memorial rather than redevelop it. But later the city was rebuilt. 

The city planning resembles certain aspects of the Renaissance. Today the city shows no signs or evidence of war damage, but there are a few craters retained as relics. 

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City of Julich_©www.fz-juelich.deportal

9. Berlin

The epicenter, from where Hilter commanded over his troops, Berlin has faced massive widespread destruction. Ever since the war was over, there have been a lot of refurbishments across Berlin most of the ransacked spaces were removed completely and built again. 

Some examples: The Reichstag has been restored and turned into the German parliament by Ar. Norman Foster. The iconic glass cupola sitting on the roof makes it a major tourist attraction. 

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Berlin during War_©www.theatlantic.com
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Present day Berlin_©www.theatlantic.com

10. Warsaw 

The city was reduced to smithereens by the Nazi troops. The dedication of the Polish habitats and willful participation turned the city back into what it was before the war. This outstanding example of rebuilding a city that took several years has been one of the most remarkable reworks. 

The Royal Palace, the old town market, a circuit of city walls, and some religious buildings have been holistically revamped. The city showed little or no connection to war damage.

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Warsaw_©www.rhinegold.co.uk

Reference:

  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/ Article: The Cities that have risen from the ruins, by Linda Poon, Feb 18,2017.
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/ Article: Where are the world’s most damaged cities.
  3. https://www.indiapost.com/ Article: Somnath, Looted, destroyed and resurrected 17 times.
  4. https://emergingcivilwar.com/ Article : Aftermath in Atlanta, by Caroline Davis, December 8,2014.
  5. https://www.history.co.uk/
  6. https://www.theatlantic.com/ Article: Berlin, Then and Now by Bjoern Steinz, May 9, 2015.
Author

A recent Architectural graduate who believes that words are a virtual expression of form. Never been a book fanatic but developed a passion for writing through the course of architecture. She believes that a structure can be nurtured to perspective by the words that describe it.

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