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Journey to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine

Albina PanchenkoNews
Important cultural sites of Ukraine

Everyone has heard of the organization that protects historic and outstanding buildings. But do you know what this abbreviation means? In English, it stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is a specialized agency within the United Nations that supports international cooperation in the fields of education, science, and culture. It was founded in 1945. But Ukraine did not immediately join it.

The status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site adds a guarantee that the monument will be protected as the apple of the eye. What Ukrainian locations are included in the list? Let's find out!

St. Sophia Cathedral (Kyiv)

St. Sophia of Kyiv was built by order of Yaroslav the Wise back in the 11th century. For a long time it was the main church of Rus. Needless to say, even now the shrine is revered and considered a place with powerful energy.

In terms of architecture, the church and adjacent monastic buildings are built in a combination of Byzantine and Ukrainian Baroque styles. The structure of St. Sophia includes the metropolitan's house, the refectory, Zaborovsky's gate, the southern entrance tower, the cells of the cathedral elders, and the bursa surrounded by a stone wall. In the reserve, you can see archaeological collections, items of decorative and applied art, etc. But everyone who comes here wants to look at Our Lady of Oranta, the largest surviving image from the times of Kyivan Rus. The mosaic adorns the main altar of the building.

Journey to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Kyiv)

The monastery was founded back in 1051. Back then, monk Anthony settled in a dug-out grotto on a hill and founded a special place there. The main attractions of the ensemble are the Assumption Cathedral, the Trinity Gate Church, the Great Bell Tower, the Chapel of All Saints, the Refectory Prayer Room, the defensive walls of the building with towers, cave complexes, and the shrines of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

The object is unique in that it was formed over nine centuries. Not only outside, but also underground. In the Far Caves are the relics of 49 canonized saints, and in the Near Caves there are 3 underground sanctuaries: The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Anthony of Pechersk, and Barlaam, the hegumen of Pechersk.

Journey to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine

The ensemble of the historic center in Lviv

One of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to archaeological data, the first settlement appeared here in the XII century. The city was located around the Old Market, and the oldest street in Lviv, Volynskyi Shlyakh (now Bohdana Khmelnytskoho), ran alongside it.

Thus, the organization's watchful eye was on the territory of 120 hectares. It includes the historic city center, Castle Hill with the remains of a 13th-century fortress, and St. George's Cathedral on Sviatoyurska Hill.

By the way, the shrine was built in the eighteenth century. The complex includes the church itself, the Rococo metropolitan palace, gardens, a bell tower with the oldest bell in Ukraine dating back to 1341, and a fence with two gates. The building was and remains the main monument of the Baroque era in Lviv.

Journey to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine

The historic center of Odesa

In January 2023, it became known that the oldest part of the city was also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The list includes avenues, buildings, and other objects that have signs of multiculturalism. In particular, the ensemble of Primorsky Boulevard, Teatralna Square, and Deribasovskaya Street.

Journey to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine

Struve's geodesic arc (Odesa region)

It is considered the most mysterious UNESCO site. It is a network of geodetic reference points established over 40 years in the XIX century. The astronomer Friedrich Struve worked on it. The total length of the monument is 2820 kilometers. Based on the measurements of the 25th meridian, he managed to determine the size and shape of the Earth almost exactly. These results were used until the end of the twentieth century.

The measuring network "penetrates" 10 European countries. The sites are marked in different ways: with iron crosses, stone pyramids, and obelisks. The northernmost point is located on the shores of the Barents Sea, near the city of Hammerfest in Norway. The southern tip of the Struve Arc is in Ukraine, in the village of Stara Nekrasivka (Odesa Oblast).

Wooden churches in the Carpathian region of Poland and Ukraine

Quite unusually, the list includes not just one, but a number of historically valuable objects. They include architectural ensembles of sixteen churches built on the territory of our homeland and a neighboring state. They were erected in the Carpathian region of modern Ukraine and Poland in the 16th to 19th centuries.

Journey to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine

Beech forests of the Carpathians

Yes, nature also came under the organization's "wing". The local flora is an example of untouched temperate ecosystems. The valuable beech gene pool and unique flora and fauna have been preserved there. Moreover, it has the best conditions for researching its evolution. Interestingly, the natural object's forests are located in 12 European countries. However, more than 25% of them are in Ukraine.

Residence of the Metropolitans of Bukovyna and Dalmatia (Chernivtsi)

The city's business card, built in the XIX century under the direction of Czech architect Josef Hlavka. The residence in eclectic style is considered an example of that era.

It consists of three monumental buildings - the Metropolitan, Seminary, and Monastery buildings, as well as an arboretum. The Seminar building was shared by the Greek Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Chernivtsi and the Theological Seminary. Monastyrskyi housed the clergy school, the diocesan museum, and monastic cells. And the Metropolitan's had residential, administrative, and representative premises.

By the way, you don't have to be a student to get inside - tourists are also allowed in.

Journey to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine

Intangible heritage

Oral folk art, traditions, customs, holidays, rituals - all of these are also protected by UNESCO. However, these are considered to be intangible heritage.

As of August 2023, 77 items have been added to the list. These include Opishnia ceramics, the Hutsul Easter egg tradition, Cossack songs, Carpathian quilt making, Kobzarism, and more.

Among other things, there is Petrykivka decorative painting. Unique patterns are recognizable not only in Ukraine but also in the world. Some things with "Petrykivka" patterns have been preserved since the eighteenth century. However, in the modern sense, this trend was formed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The decorative and ornamental folk painting of the village of Petrykivka in the Dnipropetrovs'k region has been passed down from generation to generation. That is why it is so valuable. The ornaments are rich in symbolism, which is supposed to protect from grief and evil. People believe it works. That's why locals still paint their houses, musical instruments, plates, and other household items with fantastic colors.

The tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics (Ivano-Frankivsk region) is also popular. It is known for a variety of dishes, children's toys, and decorative tiles. It originated in the eighteenth century in the villages of the Hutsul region, but it is still relevant today. Initially, craftsmen made pots, jugs, bowls, cups, etc. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the art gained unprecedented momentum. The most popular items were candlesticks and tiles.

The manufacturing technology consists in covering the product with white clay and drying it. Then it is painted with three colors: green, yellow, and brown. They symbolize mountains, sun and earth. The themes represent the history, nature, life, folklore, and customs of the Hutsuls. The largest centers of Kosiv ceramics are in the city of Kosiv, the villages of Kuty, Pistyn, Verbovets, and Staryi Kosiv.

Earlier OBOZ.UA told about the most interesting villages of Ukraine.

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