Culture News, 12/02/2018

Protecting Historical Buildings for the Sake of Past and Future

The film “To Save or not to Save,” made within the  “Ctrl + S. The Law on the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Ukraine” project, was presented to Kharkivites in Nakipelo center on February 8.

Kharkiv culture and architecture experts, deputies and activists of “Kharkiv with You” Charitable Foundation launched the project to save the valuable architectural monuments from being ruined. They presented the 40-minute documentary and arranged the public discussion to trigger the civic activity and official changes.

Film director Pavlo Syromenko and screenwriter Tetyana Omelchenko were filming in nine historic cities: Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Poltava, Odesa, Lviv, Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk and Zaporizhia, where hundreds of architectural monuments have been ruined recently. Over 50 experts, including city residents and activists together with mayors and ministers, provided their views and ideas for the film. Among the interviewees, there was mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi, Minister of Culture of Ukraine Yevhen Nyshchuk and foreign experts from Germany and Poland.

About 150 architectural monuments appear before the viewer, which is the record number of old buildings ever shown in a film. Among Kharkiv buildings, there is the famous Roof of the World, also called “the ghost building,” on 5 Teatralny Ln. and  House of Surukchi in 7 Sadova St., which stand out with their appalling state.

“This is not only research into the buildings’ history, the documentary gives an insight of what we are actually losing. And this is best expressed by the phrase ‘the time is out of joint’ from Shakespeare’s Hamlet,” says Olena Rofe-Beketova, the descendant of Beketov and Alchevsky and head of “Ctrl + S” project. “These disappearing buildings represent our identity. We are losing potential revenues too! Because these buildings are alive and could be great tourist attractions, if changed into cafes or hotels,” she added.

Activists say they are negotiating with the city authorities to launch a program to reconstruct the buildings actively. Also, the lawyers are working out the bills on architectural monuments to be delivered to the Parliament soon.

After Kharkiv, the educational documentary will be screened in all the cities, where it has been made. Public discussions will follow to unite the efforts of civic activist and to force into action the officials to work for heritage protection.

Text: Olena Sokolynska