Politics 2023-11-15T04:52:52+02:00
Ukrainian news
Director of Sophia of Kyiv told how the ukrainian holy shrine was saved at he beginning of the large-scale Rus

Director of Sophia of Kyiv told how the ukrainian holy shrine was saved at he beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion


Countless historical monuments of the Ukrainian capital have been under threat since the very beginning of Russia’s air strikes on Kyiv. It became known that one of the priority targets of enemy missiles was the world-famous National Conservation Area "Sophia of Kyiv."

Nelia Kukovalska, General Director of the Conservation Area, talked about this the day before, on October 26, during the Kyiv International Scientific and Practical Conference "Cultural Heritage in Conditions of War: Protection, Preservation, and Restoration."

"High-ranking officials informed me that there is a great threat of the destruction of Sophia of Kyiv. It was tough to bear this morally. We comprehended why the aggressor targeted Sophia of Kyiv. It embodies the foundations of our nation: our statehood, spirituality, culture, and education. Destroy it, and you destroy the Ukrainian nation," she said.

The employees of the reserve started acting immediately. Let’s note that the Sophia of Kyiv is a UNESCO monument. So, only broad international awareness of the threat could save it from shameless Russian barbarism. "Together with the Ministry of Culture, we started sending relevant petitions to colleagues worldwide. They even reached Latin America and Australia," Mrs. Kukovalska recalls.

Since it was clear that hardly anything would save Sophia from a direct missile strike, specialists began to urgently study the experience of protecting historical buildings during WWII and other armed conflicts. Nelia Kukovalska organized a working group of engineers and designers of the reserve and a large group of external experts.

Projects to build a sizeable outer wall had to be abandoned due to likely damage to archaeological monuments near Sophia. Finally, experts decided to strengthen the most painful places in the weak spots with sandbags — namely, a part of buildings with unstable structures and premises with important artistic and architectural values. In total, about 90 000 museum exhibits were packed and securely protected. By the way, ICOMOS and UNESCO experts later confirmed the accuracy of this approach.

In addition to attacks by Russian missiles and Iranian drones, Ukrainian cultural heritage is threatened by another danger – widespread power outages.

"I would like to emphasize the humidity of the room. It will now be a problem for all museums and monuments. Special equipment does not work due to a power outage. And the capillary absorption of moisture into the walls and foundations occurs almost instantly. Our experience in using the BioDry system is irreplaceable. BioDry does not need electricity but is powered by the Earth's electromagnetic waves. The system is indeed expensive, so patrons provided us with it," said Nelya Kukovalska.

During the conference, museum workers discussed options for solving this problem with the authorities. European colleagues will be involved in this. The event organizer was the Kyiv Department of Cultural Heritage Protection, and the leading partner was the investment company of the Dovgiy family Dovgiy Family Office.

DFO systematically participates in the protection of historical and cultural objects of Kyiv. In particular, Stanislav Dovgiy helped to restore a copy of the mosaic panel "The Virgin of Nikopeia" on the facade of the "Golden Gate" museum according to the archives. The solemn ceremony of consecration of the icon took place on May 19, 2022. The mural is a copy of the 10th-century icon. The Virgin Nikopeia is considered the state's guardian, symbolizing victory in the righteous struggle.