CULTURE & ARTS

Spain Tried To Restore An Ancient Castle And Completely Messed It Up

FAIL.

For more than 1,000 years, Matrera Castle, a medieval fortress in southern Spain, stood the test of time.

But when part of the castle's main tower partially collapsed three years ago, a restoration project began with the goal of returning it to its original shape and dimensions, perhaps ensuring it will last for another millennium.

Now the beautiful, crumbling ruins are permanently cemented in a modern, stucco-looking edifice, and the "fix" has been met with outrage and ridicule. 

Behold, Castillo de Matrera -- post-surgery. 

The restored Matrera ninth-century castle sits on a hill in Villamartin, Spain. An architect who spent years overseeing the r
The restored Matrera ninth-century castle sits on a hill in Villamartin, Spain. An architect who spent years overseeing the restoration of a decaying castle in southern Spain has defended his work after critics slammed the result as resembling a box-shaped parking garage.

Hispania Nostra, a Spanish cultural heritage group, described the work as a "disaster" and "truly lamentable," and said it has left both locals and foreigners surprised in the worst of ways. 

“It isn't necessary to describe it, as it can be seen in the photographs," the group wrote, calling the result is a "massacre" of the Spanish heritage. 

As The Guardian reports, one local told La Sexta, "They’ve got builders in rather than restorers and, like we say 'round here, they’ve cocked it up.”

The images have also drawn plenty of criticism on social media.

In an interview with The New York Times, Carlos Quevedo Rojas, the architect behind the restoration, said he understands "the criticism of local people used to seeing the tower look a certain way,” but that the main objective of the project -- which cost hundreds of thousands of euros -- was to prevent what remained of the fortress from collapsing. He also explained that in Spain, restorations must maintain a structure's historical value and architectural integrity.

“You can’t make the structure have the same appearance as the original," Rojas told the Times. "You can’t falsify the appearance. It has to be clear which parts are new and which are old.”

While many blasted the restoration, others came to Rojas' defense.

But some critics have even gone so far as to compare it to the infamous botched repair of a century-old painting of Christ, known commonly as "Beast Jesus."

For those who forgot about an elderly woman's 2012 attempt to repair a century-old “Ecce Homo” fresco of Jesus -- considered among the worst art restorations of all time -- here's an ugly reminder.

This combination of two undated handout photos made available by the Centro de estudios Borjanos shows the 20th century Ecce
This combination of two undated handout photos made available by the Centro de estudios Borjanos shows the 20th century Ecce Homo-style fresco of Christ before (left) and after (right) an elderly amateur artist Celia Gimenez, 80, took it upon herself to restore it in the church of the northern Spanish agricultural town of Borja.

What do you think? 

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