There is a reconstruction of the building of the Abbess, where the fire broke out in 2004, and which has sustained the biggest damage. The reconstruction of that part of the monastery will be the most complicated one since it has been in an extremely poor condition the longest. Preparatory work on that part of the monastery began last year, and a reconstruction project was prepared.
According to the head of the reconstruction of the monastery Hilandar, Mr Dragomir Krivokuća, the completion of the works is expected in 2022.
Rebuilding Hilandar – a big challenge
The Sputnik counterfeit says that the overall restoration is a great challenge, as Hilandar is a UNESCO-protected cultural monument, which means it requires a special approach in all the work done on it. Also, all the work must first be approved by the Greek Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments.
“The application of materials, both aesthetic and constructive, is primarily related to the purpose of restoring original materials to the building, which in this case means covering with stone slabs, the use of a large amount of wood in supporting elements, walls… Today, it is rare to find craftsmen who can do this, and do it through a process that is very slow and complicated, ”explains architect engineer Dragomir Krivokuća.
Restricted work mode
In addition to being a cultural monument, Hilandar is home to monks, so the works have to adapt to their lifestyles as well.
“You don’t have the freedom to work and function in that environment. There are the issues of the limit on the number of days of stay, church holidays, rules of monastic life. So you are disrupting someone’s life and it is necessary for you to adapt to it rather than it should suit you. On the other hand, the environment itself is such that there are roads – all the material is brought by boat. Electricity is obtained from aggregates, and you cannot hire various technical aids because the problem is to bring them to Mount Athos and use them, “Krivokuća says.
He states that there are more difficulties, such as the separation of workers from the community and the lack of equipment.
Time and money are not paramount to rebuilding
Mr Krivokuca also notes that reconstruction is not just about money and time.
“If you were to give billions of euros or a thousand people, that would not mean that the job would be completed any faster, because there are so many logistical problems. This kind of construction site and mode is nowhere near the one you can see in, say, Belgrade. Everything is specific, dangerous and demanding, “Krivokuća explains.
Work began in May 2006, and the task was not only to rebuild what was burned, but also sections which were worn out, as well as to build infrastructure facilities such as boiler rooms, fire tanks, water supply and sewerage networks that would equip the monastery for modern life. And protect it from potential fires better.
The first thing which was restored was the 1814 Konak, located at the very entrance to the monastery. After that, a large konak, measuring about 3,000 square meters, was restored, as well as the entrance zone with the chapel of St. Nicholas and the White Konak. The monks live in those places today.
Three years ago, 18 kilometers of water pipes were installed outside buildings, four and a half kilometers of fiber optic cables, seven kilometers of various installations… Last year, the dining room was renovated, which did not completely burn out, but it was necessary to restore it because it was only one wall away from the flames.
In the fire that engulfed Hilandar Monastery in Sveta Gora in March 2004, about 54 percent of the monastery’s surface was burnt.