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Ukraine – preserving cultural heritage during the war

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University of Innsbruck


Ukraine Office Austria, University for Continuing Education Krems


University of Innsbruck

Ukraine - preserving cultural heritage during the war and challenges of the future

Lecture by Dr. Svitlana Bilenkova

The Ukrainian art historian and monument conservator Ms. Univ.-Prof. dr Svitlana Bilenkova will talk about the preservation of cultural assets during war.

As the chief monument protector of the city of Czernowitz, she supported Austrian restoration projects more than 15 years ago and has also held a teaching position at the University for Continuing Education Krems since the summer of 2022.


Katya Moskalyuk

Diego Maradona Photo School, Lviv

In Ukraine, there are hundreds of thousands of cultural heritage sites of various types that are listed in the national register. The most famous among them are the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including, for example, the Saint Sophia Cathedral (XI c.) in Kyiv.

The occupation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 already led to the massive destruction of monuments of Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

Since the first days of the war in February 2022, tens of thousands of important state artifacts have been deliberately destroyed and looted.

Losses from the Russian attack on Ukraine have been confirmed by the UNESCO Central Committee. As of 11 January 2023, UNESCO has verified damage to 235 sites since 24 February – 104 religious sites, 18 museums, 83 buildings of historical and/or artistic interest, 19 monuments, 11 libraries.

At the same time, with the active support of international organizations and with the participation of professionals, measures were taken to save the historical heritage and museum collections. France, the Netherlands and Italy sent tons of much-needed material to save monuments. The Committee for Ukrainian museums was established in Poland to preserve Ukrainian collections. The Nordic Museum in Stockholm established a fund to finance the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv. The Save Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) project brought together more than a thousand librarians, archivists, researchers and programmers.

Ukraine continues to fight to protect and save its unique cultural heritage and hopes that the war will end soon.