Overview of Legislative and Government Protection

Under valid Ukrainian legislation a wide range of objects are subject to State registration and protection: architectural monuments and monuments to the art of engineering, along with natural and human-made elements, monumental works of sculpture and painting, archaeological objects, caves with evident traces of the presence of man, buildings or rooms in which authentic evidence of significant historical events or the lives and activities of important people is preserved. Issues of the protection of objects of cultural heritage have been designated as priorities. These cover a whole range of measures associated with the protection and preservation of the traditional character of the environment of historically inhabited places and environments in the Ukraine, which has acceded to the Convention on the Preservation of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

At present in the Ukraine there are official records for more than 140,000 objects of cultural heritage and 132,000 historical and archaeological monuments and items of monumental art, of which approximately 500 are of national importance. There are 15,600 urban and architectural monuments, of which more than 3000 are monuments of national importance.

We will also discuss architectural and urban monuments. Along with the Kiev monastery complex - Kiev-Pechersk Lavra - and the historical centre of Lviv, the Saint Sofia Cathedral was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. At present, preparations are being made to include the historical areas of certain towns, such as Kamyanets-Podilsky, Odessa, Chernigiv, Uman and others on the aforementioned list.

At the end of September 2001, an international conference was held in Odessa with the participation of responsible employees of State and public heritage institutions, scientists and specialists from the Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Greece. This conference was organised by the State Committee for Issues of Construction, Architecture and Housing Policy of the Ukraine, the Ukrainian Committee of ICOMOS and the state administration of Odessa, and its central theme was the preservation of historical towns and urban monuments and also the inclusion of the historical area of Odessa on the UNESCO list.

Individual heritage units and complexes with an exceptional historical value were declared as State historical-cultural reservations. At present the Ukraine has 56 of these reservations, of which 12 have been granted the status of national reservations. In addition to this, 402 towns and municipalities of the urban type have been included on the List of Historically Inhabited Places of the Ukraine. In addition, the relevant material is being prepared for the purpose of including villages on this list: more detailed information about the protection of historical monuments in the Ukraine can be found on the Internet: www.heritage.ort.kiev.ua on the page Monuments of the Ukraine.

Restoration Programmes

Steps for the protection and restoration of monuments in compliance with valid legislation are implemented using the resources of owners or users and their financing is also ensured by a special part of the Ukrainian State budget. In recent times, resources from the State budget have been used to restore the buildings of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the Saint Sofia Cathedral, the Church of Saint Cyril in Kiev, the Cathedral of Saint George in Lviv, Cathedral of Saint Volodimir in Sevastopol and many other important monuments. In addition to this the Michajliv Zolotoverch Monastery and the Dormiant Cathedral of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in Kiev, the shrine of the Ukrainian People that was barbarically destroyed in the 20th century, have been renewed and restored. Several long-term State programmes have been prepared that focus on the restoration of monuments in towns such as Chigirin, Halich, Katnyanets-Podilsky, Gluchiv, Zbarazh, Odessa, Novgorod-Siversky and others that are now in progress. A special government resolution was adopted, and restoration work is being carried out on the Theatre of the Odessa Opera, and rehabilitation work is being carried out on the architectural and archaeological monuments of the former Hetman’s capital Baturyn, where the cultural layer following the tragic events of 1708 remained preserved and which is acknowledged as a standard archaeological monument from the 17th century.

It is particularly important to mention the State programme for the preservation of the historical part of Lviv, which has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A significant part of the mediaeval buildings of this city are at risk as a result of the negative impacts of hydro-geological factors.

Looked at in general terms, a significant part - virtually every tenth monument - is in an unsuitable technical condition and some of them are even in a state of devastation. More than 200 architectural monuments of national importance (approximately 10%) require urgent work in order to avert destruction, as well as basic conservation work. The existing unsatisfactory state of architectural and urban monuments, especially those that are used by budget-funded offices and institutions, is the result of cuts in the financing of restoration work by the State (seven times from 1995 to 2000).

In recent times we have noticed a tendency for financing from the resources of local budgets to grow, especially in cities such as Kiev, Lviv, Kamyanets-Podilsky, Odessa, Poltava, Kolomyja, Ochtyrka and others.

Due to the development of co-operation with international institutes, such as the World Monuments Fund and its programme ‘One Hundred Most Endangered Sites’ or the Getty Foundation, grants have been gained for several important monuments, such as the Sina-Castle Bridge in the city of Kamyanets-Podilsky (the first stage of its construction probably dates from the 2nd century BC); the Church of the Saviour of Berestovo in Kiev (started in the 12th century). Relations have been established with experts, scientific institutes and universities in Poland, Austria, Canada, Israel and other countries, and many joint projects have already taken place or are being planned.

Threatened Monuments

Religious & defensive architecture
The most endangered monuments in the Ukraine are monuments of religious and defensive architecture. The State has returned to the faithful most of the religious buildings that were wrecked by the Communist regime or used for other than original purposes. Particularly at risk are those monuments made of wood, in particular wooden churches from the 17th-18th century having an architecture of clearly expressed folk lines that constitute a special chapter in the history of world architecture. At present some of these buildings, such as the 17th-century Georgiev church in the town of Sedniv, the 18th-century Mykolaiv Church in the town of Gorodyshce in the Chernigov district, and the 18th-century Mykolaiv Church in the town of Drabivc in the Cherkask district, are in a critical state of disrepair. These buildings represent the architectonic type of wooden churches of the left-bank and supra-Dnieper Ukraine of the 17th and 18th centuries.

In addition to this, in certain regions of the Ukraine, especially in the western and partially in southern parts, as a result of certain changes in the ethnic structure of the inhabitants following World War II, the religious buildings of ethnic minorities who have lived in these areas continuously for centuries have been left without the requisite care from the relevant parishes of religious communities. This is especially the case for churches and synagogues. Some examples which are worthy of mention are the 18th-century Church of All Saints in the village of Hodovicja; the Church of the Dormition in the municipality of Jazlovec (end of the 16th century); the synagogue in the town of Pidhac (originally an Arian temple - end of the 17th century), and the synagogue in the town of Berezhany (beginning of the 18th century).

It is particularly important to mention the Roman-Catholic church of German settlers from the end of the 18th century in Gross-Werder in the north-east of the Ukraine. Another building - the Great Kenasa from the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century in the town of Yevpatoriya - is the spiritual centre for the few native inhabitants of the Crimea - the Karaims. This temple was long used for other purposes, but has now been handed over to a Karaim religious organisation. The temple is in desperate need of special restoration of its unique polychronical ceiling with carved elements.

Chateaux, castles and forts
Another group of endangered monuments includes chateaux, castles and forts. One example is the group of chateaux and castles on the river Dniestr. Most of these buildings are currently in a devastated condition and urgently require conservation. These buildings are to be found in beautiful countryside with good climatic conditions and in an ecologically pure environment, near to recreational areas in the foothills of the Carpathians with many mineral springs, spas and sanatoria. All of this makes the buildings attractive for tourists (including foreign tourists). Out of all these buildings one could pick several outstanding examples: an important monument from the period of the Renaissance - the Senyav Castle in Berezhany from the mid-16th century; the castle in the town of Buchach from the end of the 14th century to the beginning of the 17th century; the castle in the municipality of Pidzatnochok from the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century; the castle in Halich from the 16th-17th century; the chateau from the 17th century in the town of Trebovlja and many others. With the participation of State and private investments, these buildings could become profitable if an appropriate tourism programme was created that included the construction and reconstruction of roads, hotels, restaurants and shops. This would lead to an inflow of finance to carry-out further conservation measures.