2019 is the Year of Restoration

From the Georgian Auckland Castle in Durham to Empire State Observatory in New York, there are a slew of monuments and museums across the world reopening after extensive restorations.  
2019 is the Year of Restoration
Visitors are treated to a bird’s-eye view of Lower Manhattan inside the newly renovated 102nd floor observatory of the Empire State Building. Photo by: Drew Angerer / Staff/ Getty Images News/ Getty Images

Some places never go out of style—but they do need care. Countries across the globe have undertaken massive restoration efforts to bring the structures to their former glory—most recently, Auckland Castle in Durham. Here’s a list of a few (including those which are slated to reopen soon).


The Washington Monument, Washington D.C., U.S.A.

This iconic obelisk was reopened on September 19, for the first time since 2016. The 555-foot monument first required a 15 million USD (Rs 106.5 crore) restorations in 2011 when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake caused cracks in its surface, and then again in 2016, when an elevator cable snapped.


The Empire State Observatory, NYC, U.S.A.

Another iconic American landmark, the Empire State building revealed a renovated observatory on its 102nd floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows. Offering an unobstructed view of New York City, the observatory is the third phase of renovations which were initiated in 2007.


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The Auckland Castle in the U.K. opened its doors to visitors after three years of undergoing a renovation. Photo courtesy: Auckland Castle

Bicentenary House, Herculaneum, Italy

Along with Pompeii, the city of Herculaneum was also ravaged when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, leaving both these cities buried under volcanic ash. This three-story mansion was discovered in 1938 but was closed to the public in1983 for a painstaking restoration of its many frescoes and murals. In late October 2019, the 2,000-year-old marvel was thrown open to visitors again, after a wait of 35 years.


Auckland Castle, Durham, U.K.

On November 2, this sprawling Georgian gothic castle welcomed visitors for the first time in three years after a 12 million pound (Rs 109.7 crore) renovation. The castle dates back to the 12th century and is one of the many upcoming attractions in the historic town of Bishop Auckland in Durham, along with restaurant, art galleries and a deer park.


Baron Empain Palace, Cairo, Egypt

Constructed in 1911 by Baron Edward Empain, this mansion borrows inspiration from the architecture of temples in Odisha and Cambodia. After falling into ruin amid property disputes, and several rumours of ghosts and parties, restoration efforts were initiated and are almost complete. Authorities have suggested that the site will be open for visitors in a few months’ time.


Royal Carriages Museum, Cairo, Egypt

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The 20th-century Baron Empain Palace in Egypt is inspired by the architecture of temples in Odisha and Cambodia. Photo by: Baloncici/shutterstock

Featuring some of the most exquisite carriages of the 20th century, this museum is all set to reopen sometime in December 2019, after years of restoration. While the carriages are the main attraction, other accessories, art and portraits will offer visitors a peek into the lives of Egyptian royalty.


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  • Tanay Gokhale enjoys writing and follows what he thinks is an eclectic mix of interests. Especially passionate about travelling with good music and a book to boot.

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