In connection with the military operations of Russia against Ukraine, the POLONIKA Institute, together with Ukrainian partners, continues to secure valuable pieces of cultural heritage under threat of destruction.
From the first days of the Russian offensive, the POLONIKA Institute has been in contact with Ukrainian institutions, owners and hosts of historical buildings, constantly cooperating, among others, with the director of the Historical Environmental Protection Council of the Lviv City Council, Lilia Onishchenko. Polish and Ukrainian companies that carried out restoration work in Ukraine in previous years, commissioned by POLONIKA, joined the work related to the protection of war-threatened monuments. POLONIKA’s activity is part of a broader support program for Ukrainian institutions, coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
We continue our activities aimed at the effective protection of endangered cultural heritage objects. Many of them testify to the history of the former Republic of Poland, an element of the common history of Ukraine and Poland. Security and documentation work is still in progress. To date, the materials have been delivered and 221 sacred buildings (churches and chapels) and grave buildings (190 in Western and Central Ukraine, 31 in Lviv) have been secured against fires. The list of guaranteed things is constantly growing. The carvings around the Latin Cathedral, the Boim Church, the former Jesuit church, the Adam Mickiewicz Column, the Sistine Chapel, one of the oldest buildings in Lviv, and the stained glass windows in the Armenian Cathedral are just a few examples of things that were secured in Lviv. We are also focusing more and more on documentation. Dorota Janiszewska-Jakubiak, director of POLONIKA, said that in the case of a dozen or so monuments, laser scanning has been carried out, allowing objects to be digitized while all details are preserved.
Security measures are implemented by the Polonika Institute in three ways:
1. Fire protection, splinters and shock wave protection
This type of security consists, inter alia, in regarding the preparation of special fire extinguishers of appropriate power, sheathing of sculptures, paintings or other items of equipment with non-combustible materials, building structures protecting facades, monuments, sculptural and architectural details, stained-glass windows. The method and methods of insurance depend on the object and its location. We have so far delivered:
Fire extinguishers 25 kg – 179 pieces.
Fire extinguishers 5 kg – 34 pieces.
Fire extinguishers 9 kg – 4 pieces.
Fire extinguishers 6 kg – 7 pieces.
– 12xABC Fire Extinguishers – 30 pcs.
– SUG 12xABC Self-Extinguishing Devices – 20 pcs.
– vapor permeable membranes (flame retardant) – 2025 m 2
– Fire blankets of different sizes (256 pieces) – 1282.92 m2
– Fire Resistant Ceramic – 1420 m2
– protective sheets 1.4 x 1.8 m – 12.6 m 2
– Non-woven agricultural textiles – 6400 m 2
– Regular Vapor Permeable Films – (33 pieces) 2475 m2
– Polypropylene bags – 3059 pcs.
– Hexagonal mesh 5 x 1 m 1 mm 25 mm – 50 m 2
– 5 x 0.5 1 mm hexagonal mesh 25 mm – 57.5 m 2
Electrodes (two types) 187 pieces.
– tie wire – 27 pcs.
Tension wire – 10 pieces.
– Fire Resistant Wire – 10 kg
– Rope and fiberglass – 15 pieces.
– Mounting tape outside – 40 pcs.
– Mounting tape inside – 40 pcs.
Fire retardant tape – 3 pcs.
– Non-flammable aluminum tape – 48 rolls.
In addition to providing specialized fire-fighting equipment (mainly designed to protect large buildings and wooden elements, such as historic roof trusses) or materials to protect sculptures, paintings, altars and stained-glass windows, POLONIKA assists in the organization of work as well as in the storage and distribution of necessary materials in Ukraine.
2. Laser scanning
The works are carried out by both Polish and Ukrainian companies. To date, the project has been implemented and completed at three facilities located in Lviv and one in Drubichs. The survey covered dozens of monuments that did not have this type of documentation. We managed to survey 8 wooden churches included in the UNESCO list. There are plans to build seven more facilities located in: in ółkiew; In Rawa Ruska, in Kamieniec Podolski and Lviv. 3D scanning is the most accurate method of documentation, it allows you to create a 3D model of the monument with accurate reproduction of details and colors.
3. Securing cemeteries
Another measure that should be treated as protection of cultural heritage property is proper care of large-sized objects and green spaces of the cemetery, especially old trees, because during bombing and under the influence of the shock wave, damaged trees may cause additional damage to historical tombstones and chapels. Such activities were carried out, among other things, at Łyczakowski cemetery.
POLONIKA Institute has spent 1,732,090.00 PLN on activities to secure cultural heritage in Ukraine since the outbreak of the war, i.e. February 24, 2022.
In addition, by decision of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, as part of the structure of the Institute of National Heritage (NID), the Aid Center for Culture of Ukraine was launched, the task of which is to monitor and analyze threats to cultural heritage and coordinate assistance activities for Ukrainian artists in Ukraine and Poland, artists and institutions cultural. Because of the extremely dynamic and difficult situation in which Ukraine has found itself, there is still no complete information on losses related to architecture, museums, archives, and libraries, or relics transferred in damaged religious buildings and private collections.
Ukraine records losses in the field of cultural heritage on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine https://culturecrimes.mkip.gov.ua/.
The National Institute of Polish Cultural Heritage Abroad POLONIKA is a specialized state cultural institution founded in 2017 by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Prof. Piotr Gliński. The Institute implements conservation, research, education and popularization projects. Thanks to them, the material testimonies of our history have been preserved and the memory of important personalities of modern Poles and important historical facts have been restored.
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