The Colosseum, Rome, ItalyThe Colosseum, Rome by Justin Mier/Flickr

It appears that tourists are once again caught defacing the beautiful ancient Colosseum in Rome. A Russian traveller was reportedly caught carving in the letter “K” into an interior wall of the ground floor of the famous amphitheatre, last Friday morning at 10:30 am. The 42 year old man used a stone to carve the 25 cm letter into the wall, causing notable damage to the surface of the structure and thus compromising its image as well as preservation efforts. Why one would do this is beyond human comprehension but there seems to be a strange human need to state his or her passing through every city in every stay and country. It’s almost like conquerors of centuries past that either destroyed local monuments, altered them or raised new ones to proclaim to the world that they had passed through those lands.

It’s certainly disappointing to see the same traits existing in the young and the old, since this Russian wasn’t the first in 2014 to cause this form of damage to the place. On the contrary, there have been 5 incidents throughout the year, with a 25-year-old Dutch man and a 26-year-old German woman were caught writing on the monument in August, while an Australian man and his son tried to leave their mark in January. Also, a Canadian teenager was caught red-handed stealing a stone from the attraction back in March. There was a Brazilian in the mix as well. Perhaps there’s something about the Colosseum that pulls a few screws loose in the mind or affects one’s better judgement.

The Russian has been fined about $25,500 in converted currency, as well as having been given a suspended 4 month jail sentence. This may seem harsh but when something is forbidden, it’s best to ensure you don’t encroach on the territory. Plus, it would be a good deterrent to other lovestruck or passionate individuals who deem the Colosseum the perfect place to mark a special word, phrase, image or otherwise. A world heritage site must be protected and those who do not adhere to the rules may as well be punished severely. Once you ruin a historic monument, you never get a second chance at finding it again.