(Rome) The imposing colonnades of Rome’s Trajan’s Basilica, enthroned in the forum of this Roman emperor just a stone’s throw from the Colosseum, are partially preserved thanks to the Russian oligarchy, currently under sanctions. It has just been restored.

Most ancient excavations in Rome require tourists to bend over, but the reconstruction of the two-tiered Corinthian portico will have them looking up at the sky more than 23 meters high.

“If the visitor does not appreciate the height of the monument, he cannot understand the meaning of its architecture,” Claudio Parisi Presicce, Rome’s chief curator of cultural heritage, told AFP during a visit to the site. .

The Cathedral of Ulpia (a building that did not have a religious purpose at the time) was named after Marcus Ulpius Traianus, emperor from 98 to 117 AD, and is the largest and last Trajanian building in the Imperial Forum. This is the highlight of the Emperor’s Forum.

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Launched in IIe It was largely destroyed during the Middle Ages, but was uncovered by excavations in the early 19th century.e This century and the 1930s.

The current project, which began in 2021, has made it possible to identify three green marble columns that had been left “in a corner” for almost a century without any connection to their foundations, Parisi Presicce said. explain.

Approved by Patron

The project was funded by a 1.5 million euro donation made in 2015 by Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, he was accused by the US Treasury of being close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and was sanctioned by the European Union and the US.

Forbes magazine estimated his fortune from metallurgy and mining to be $14.4 billion last year.

Named “Most Generous Donor” on a list of wealthy benefactors sunday times Usmanov, who took office in 2021 after donating $4.2 billion to charity over 20 years, is a patriot who is already benefiting Rome with his generosity.

Asked about this, Parisi Presicce insists that Usmanov’s funding was accepted before Western sanctions and that Rome’s ancient heritage is “universal”.

Trajan’s extensive military campaigns, including the near extermination of the Dacians in what is now Romania, allowed Rome to further expand its borders.

His two bloody wars against the Dacians are depicted in the spiral bas-relief of Trajan’s Column, located just north of the cathedral and erected to honor the emperor’s victories and spoils. .

Emperor Trajan “built his monuments using the most precious materials available at the time,” such as these colored marbles from Egypt, Asia, and Africa, Parisi Presicche said.

The cathedral housed the civil and criminal courts and other administrative offices, and consisted of five central aisles separated by rows of columns.

150 archaeological projects

Designed by the famous architect Apollodorus of Damascus, it was covered with a bronze tiled roof and its facades were decorated with frescoes depicting statues of Dacian captives and the weapons of victorious legions.

Previous excavations uncovered the remains of the forum and basilica, but while the massive granite columns that ran the length of the basilica have been repaired and reassembled, the second floor of the colonnade is still intact. It was missing.

This is currently being done. Some of the original marble in the entablature frieze, which is preserved in warehouses and museums, has been recreated in resin, as well as areas where less detail has been lost.

This allows the viewer to see the differences between the original and the replica, a common practice in heritage-sensitive restorations, and demonstrates the reversible nature of the intervention.

The final stage of the project involves recreating the south staircase of the cathedral, incorporating ancient yellow marble slabs found on the site.

Around 150 archaeological projects are planned for Rome by 2027, the majority of which will be funded by the European Union’s post-pandemic recovery fund.

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