Oblivion of Architectural Monuments

Ukrainian Tragic Saga

(Opinion article)

 With every passing year, more and more historical monuments keep on crashing down. The majority of historic buildings are getting destroyed, and just few lucky ones are getting reconstructed. At this rate, the architectural heritage of Ukraine will remain just only in our memoirs. The pessimists affirm it will happen very soon.  Let`s highlight the present conditions of several Ukrainian architectural monuments.

Some statistics: there are about one hundred and forty thousand historical and cultural monuments in Ukraine and 60% require rehabilitation, 10% are almost destroyed. Due to the lack of proper funding and redevelopment, step by step, Ukraine’s historical architectural heritage disappears right on our eyes. Ukrainian state officials look hilariously at the confident pace of the historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine moving murkily to the awful abyss. The general process is just gaining momentum. For example, Dobromyl Castle or the Herburt Castle, which is considered to be the most highland castle in Ukraine, is located on the picturesque Blind Hill. The name of the Herburt Castle was mentioned in the historical annals for the first time in the 1450s. A lot of legends are connected with this glorious place. They say that huge eagles fly always over the two meters wide walls of this fortress; these are the spirits of all Herburt family men. At first, the building was completely wooden. But in XVII century Yah Shchasny Herburt turned it into a stunning stone giant.

The spirit of him is still strolling in it at night. Unfortunately, now, most of the castle is destroyed, and the inner courtyard is covered with shabby shrubs. To restore the complex fully is not possible due to lack of funding, but even preventive work to preserve historical objects is not often arranged. Such Ukrainian authorities approach will inevitably lead to the complete destruction of the monument. Tereshchenko’s estate belongs to the same sad category. The estate was built in 1851. Later, the beautiful building was completed by Artemy Tereschenko, a famous Ukrainian sugar-producer, and philanthropist. At that time, it was done in an amazing neogothic architecture art style. After 1917 the complex was used as a refuge, vocational school, and a monastery. Today, the building is really in ruins: both wings are collapsed and the process of the total destruction is on the horizon. Mother Nature does not sleep…In the surviving rooms, Orthodox church nuns keep on living but the estate continues to collapse because nobody is engaged in the restoration and strengthening of the walls.

The list of such sad examples could be continued. You could ask a question, what should or could be done? The answer is quite simple. We should not reinvent a bicycle! At the beginning of the third millennium (2008-2013), five years were necessary for Georgian Cabinet of Ministers to restore all monuments, castles, fortresses, historic caves and other historic sites of the country. Almost all of them were given in private hands, the flow of tourists increased from 500,000 people to 5 million people a year!   Our Members of Parliament, as well as the Ministers of the Cabinet, prefer to twiddle their thumbs and visit the faraway over-the-sea resorts, Ukrainian castles and monuments are not in the sphere of their priority interests…So, if they ignore our historic heritage, we are to take this question under control. Mass media and social media are powerful tools. Let`s join our efforts and protect our historical heritage together!

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