Kyiv-Mohyla Academy needs UAH 81 million to save its oldest building


The ‘Mazepa building’ is 313 years old and needs urgent restoration, the funding though is an issue.

Kyiv-Mohyla Academy needs urgent financial support from the state to save the old academic building, or Mazepa building, known as architectural symbol of the Academy, say professors and president of Kyiv Mohyla Academy in a public letter in support of restoration project. “Kyiv Mohyla Academy does as much as possible to restore historical buildings on its territory without support from the state budget. Unfortunately, now we have to acknowledge that we cannot ensure restoration of old academic building by donor’s funds only. We need state investments for this building, otherwise we will simply lose it”, stated Andriy Meleshevych, President of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, at a discussion at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.


“The old academic building from perspective of architecture as well as its interior is absolutely unique, this heritage cannot be neglected. It is our duty to preserve this building. There is no another university in Ukraine that would have such intellectual resource located in a historical environment”, said Oksana Syroyid, Vice-Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, graduate of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. “We want to preserve all this for the future generation here, in these walls – not only for Kyiv-Mohyla Academy students, but for Kyiv and for people from everywhere, for that they could once come to Podil and see with their own eyes these ancient treasures of Ukrainian science and education”, added Tetyana Yaroshenko, Vice-President on Science and Information Technologies of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”.
Old academic building was constructed in 1703. It is also called the Mazepa building in honor of its financier, Hetman Ivan Mazepa, who was Hetman of Zaporizhia Host at those times. This is the oldest academic building of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and it has always remained academic building or library throughout its 313-year history. The walls of the Mazepa building are decorated with fresco-glue paintings. Only Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and Saint Sophia’s Cathedral have similar paintings, and both these cathedrals are in UNESCO World Heritage List. Many famous Ukrainians studied there, such as architect Ivan Hryhorovych-Barskyi, composers Artem Vedel and Maksym Berezovskyi, writers Ivan Nechui-Levytskyi and Petro Hulak-Artemovskyi. The Mazepa building is pictured on the reverse side of 500 hryvnia bill and on one of the pages of the Ukrainian passport. Moreover, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute chose this building as its symbol. Nowadays the ‘Mazepa building’ hosts library section with the oldest and the rarest editions, archive of science & research library and some museum collections.

Anriy Meleshevych said that the state has never given any funds for restoration of ‘Mazepa building’, despite a number of requests from the Academy, despite regulations of the Law of Ukraine “On preservation of cultural heritage” and a number of orders issued by the Presidents of Ukraine and Cabinet of Ministers. Since 1993, the Academy took care of the building as much as it could afford with available donations from philanthropists. Regular repairing works were carried out, 70 percent of the basement was secured and Blahovishchenska (Annunciation) Сhurch was renovated. The Academy has also initiated examination of building’s condition and created a project document on hydroisolation of walls and basement in 2016. Recently the access to the building has been limited as a deep crack appeared in the wall and the roof in the Congregation hall is in rather bad condition. “The overall cost of works is over UAH 81 million. […] And this amount will only grow with the passing of the years”, said Andriy Meleshevych. The restoration would take approximately four years.


It is important that the restoration be started without delays, stressed Vasyl Tymkovych, director of research & design institute “UkpNDIproektrestavratsiya”. “It must be done in 3-5 years, not in twenty or thirty. The current restoration project is an efficient solution as long as it is up-to date,” he noted. According to Mr. Tymkovych, all the necessary technical documents will be ready on time.

The project has already passed the first stages of application for a state investment project. The concept note has been examined by the Ministry of Education and Science, now it is undergoing a public discussion. According to Andriy Meleshevych, in late January the project will be passed back to the Ministry of Education and Science, then to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade in late February and to the Inter-Ministerial Commission on state investment projects in April-May 2017.

The discussion participants stressed that this case is a test on ability of the Ukrainian government and the society to take care of the most precious cultural heritage. “The question is not where to find UAH 80 million – the question is whether our elites understand why this is so important, why this is an issue of our national dignity and shame,” stressed Volodymyr Panchenko, member of initiative group “December 1”. He added that the Group will advocate for the restoration project and address to decision-makers. It is worth addressing to Kyiv authorities as well, because the old academic building is an important symbol for the city, suggested Olga Rutkovska, member of the Advisory Council at the Department of Culture of Kyiv City State Administration.

The concept note, project details and e-mails for comments and suggestions are published on the website of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, said Vladyslava Osmak, head of the Center for Urban Studies at the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”.