Last week heritage specialists and authorities developed a plan of actions to protect an ancient historical site in Koviahy village near Valky town, Kharkiv region.
It is a secluded underground Christian monastery dated back to the end of XVII – beginning of XVIII century, which was discovered by accident in 2013 during an archaeological expedition to Valky district 70 km away from Kharkiv.
The cave monastery is made of two long underground tunnels up to one and a half meters high and several smaller tunnel branching off them.
The main corridors are constructed in two levels, their walls are decorated with carved columns and niches with images of the Virgin and the Magi. Also, some carved bas-reliefs and colorful frescos were found on the tunnels’ walls which amazed the archaeologists as such paintings were not typical for hermits. Although archaeological surveys were conducted in summer 2015, currently scientists managed to survey only a few corridors: some monastery premises still remain blocked up and buried under the rubble.
After representatives of the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration surveyed the cave monastery, a joint meeting was held with specialists of the Center for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, historians, charity foundations and representatives of law enforcement bodies. The participants agreed on the first steps to secure and preserve the monastery. They made a decision to strengthen surveillance by police to prevent unauthorized entering and vandalism. A security system and video surveillance are to be installed here too.
As soon as the plan for the preservation of the historical monument is implemented, the cave monastery might be open for tourists and visitors. Experts claim it is sure to become one of the most interesting and popular sights of the Kharkiv region.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: KhRSA, Iryna Holubeva