This paper gives a concise overview of the techniques we have used to build a detailed 3D model of the Antonine nymphaeum at the ancient city of Sagalassos (SW-Turkey). These include techniques for 3D acquisition, texture modelling and synthesis, data clean-up, and visualisation. The result was a maximally realistic but also veridical model, which proves that the technical possibilities are available to create this kind of detailed models. As such, we consider this paper as a plea to include the highest levels of detail into virtual models of archaeological buildings and landscapes where the data allow it. There is an ongoing debate whether high levels of detail, and photo-realistic visualisation for that matter, are desirable in the first place. Indeed, detailed models combined with photo-realistic rendering may convey an impression of reality, whereas they can never represent the situation like it really was. We agree that filling in completely hypothetical structures may be more misleading than it is informative. On the other hand, good indications about these structures, or even actual fragments thereof, are often available. Leaving out any structures one is not absolutely sure about, combining basic geometric primitives, or adopting copy-and-paste methods - all aspects regularly found with simple model building - also entail dangers. Such models will almost certainly fail to generate interest with the public. Moreover, it will fail to illustrate ornamental sophistication or shape and pattern irregularities, which can form a surplus value for the architectural and archaeological investigation of ancient buildings. Some examples of the research value of detailed virtual models are addressed in this paper.