NGO “Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Boryslav”

Location: Boryslav, Skhidnytsya
Implementation period:  April 2016 – April 2017
Project coordinator: Albertyna Buchynska

Context: Issues Addressed by the Project

Boryslav is a unique town situated on an active oil, gas and native paraffin production field dotted with mineral medicinal water springs. It is a historic oil and gas production hub of Europe (late 19th and early 20th centuries) with its preserved traditional cultural environment character. The Boryslav Town Council territory includes a renowned modern balneological resort, Skhidnytsia township, which has also been an oil production centre of Ukraine’s western region. Due to its rich culture, traditions and unique artefacts, the town has massive chances to become an attractive tourist destination for Ukraine, as well as for Europe and globally. Multiple areas of unique interest have been preserved till this very day, such as 1898 Adam Mickiewicz monument, former Roman Catholic 1900 St. Barbara church, 1929 building of the Dormition of the Theotocos church with its 10 Petro Kholodnyi stained-glass windows, as well as some valuable oil and gas industry facilities, such as one-off hole-type well complete with timber blockings and willow work intended for oil and native paraffin extraction, locations of Europe’s first gas processing plant built in 1914, 1922 gas-firing power plant, authentic solid-metal riveted telephone communication supports made in the early 20th century and the natural reserve stock facilities.

The project targets addressing the region’s two major challenges in the area of heritage: its monuments have not been properly studied, they are not documented and are not maintained in an appropriate conservation condition; and a low public awareness as to the historic and cultural value of the local sights, inaction of the local authorities and a feeble impact of the public initiatives involved in the cultural sphere, which in combination lead to a monument limbo status, destruction and vandalism. Accordingly, the project seeks to explore, study and protect the local history and culture monuments, as well as to make a change in the community mentality, which implies promoting the idea of the monuments’ value and boosting the civic initiative impact on the formation of the regional strategies in the cultural heritage domain.


Project Contents

Following the project-related research results, we have created:

– A catalogue register of the Boryslav and Skhidnytsia history and culture monuments, which is accessible on our organisation’s website, likewise created within the CHOICE framework. The register includes descriptions of each facility’s historic and cultural significance and present condition. The monuments have been divided into groups: statuesque, architectural or urban planning, historic or cultural, religious, industrial or engineering, and natural. At this stage of the research, the register includes 85 monuments of Boryslav and Skhidnytsia; however, upon the project’s completion it can be supplemented to reach approximately 200 facilities.

Following a lengthy debate, 20 facilities were selected out of the catalogued ones, to which information plates containing data in Ukrainian and English, as well as an QR code with a link to a more detailed information on our Society’s website, have been produced and installed;

5 topical sightseeing routes: history and regional natural history, industry, literature and arts, Sacrum and religious pilgrimage. They are supplemented with a Boryslav and Skhidnytsia accommodation and catering offer database;

– A guide-book related to the historic and cultural monuments and the sightseeing routes developed;

A Boryslav and Skhidnytsia map, which shows on its one side a Boryslav map with indicated history and culture sights along the routes developed and a similar Skhidnytsia map overleaf;

A training seminar for representatives of the local cultural and educational institutions, such as schools, upper secondary school, museums, libraries and NGOs, and civic activists, has caused repercussions. The meeting included two parts. The first one was dedicated to introductory reports presented by the organisers on the project itself, on Boryslav and Skhidnytsia history, on the present condition of the historic and cultural monuments in the region and on a possible impact of the civic initiatives on the town development in the area of cultural heritage. Part two represented a training trip to the Boryslav and Skhidnytsia facilities described and included in the sightseeing routes. The participants selected are seen as potential promoters of the historic and cultural facilities, and some visiting tourists were present among them. The astonishing fact is that even the town intellectuals know surprisingly little about their community’s cultural heritage. Furthermore, they have a faint idea how they can assist in preserving and developing the monuments or in influencing the town’s development strategy in this sphere. The two seminar days were very long and busy and culminated in a heated discussion and planning of possible joint actions.

Following the results of the work, we have drafted some recommendations on approval and provision to a number of selected Boryslav and Skhidnytsia history and culture monuments of a regional- and national-level significance protection status and nominating individual unique historic and cultural monuments for inclusion on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Protection Facilities in Ukraine. The authorities have also received for reviewing some recommendations on the development strategies of the region’s cultural, sightseeing and travelling activities; and

The conference Cultural Heritage of the Ciscarpathian Petroleum Capital held in April has enriched us with new visions in the area of cultural patrimony protection and with new ideas. The discussions both over our project results and materials contributed by other experts centred around new approaches to management in the historic and cultural heritage sphere for the region at large.

Partner Network Growth and Organisational Development

Permanent-basis communication with the local authorities has represented an extremely important part of the project. The project provided for two formal working meetings, as well as regular informal consultations with the representatives of the Boryslav Town Council and the Skhidnytsia Township Council. Despite financing shortages and lack of a clear action plan in the area of the region’s cultural heritage, the local authorities have demonstrated their readiness to positive changes in the town and to a dialogue with the civic initiatives.

A keen interest in the project results has also been displayed on behalf of the local small and medium businesses: talking on attracting investment and increasing numbers of the tourists coming is gaining momentum.

Involvement in the project has prompted our Society to give up its mock modesty and promote our activities in a more pro-active way. Gradually, we are becoming an ever more visible initiative centre, as far as holding any local and regional training or educational, history research and cultural or entertaining events is concerned. While interacting both with the town residents and with the town authorities, we have not missed an opportunity to upgrade the role our Society plays in promotion of the regional cultural monument significance and its influence on the decision-making process in the cultural domain. We have succeeded in establishing robust working contacts with the Boryslav History and Regional Natural History Museum, with the local civil society organisations Boryslav-HUB, Boryslav Oil and Gas Industry Museum and Typical Boryslav. New active members have joined our organisation.

Apart from its chief goals and objectives, such as research, protection of the local culture and history monuments and communication in the relevant spheres, we shall focus more on working with young people and schoolchildren who were little involved in the current Galician California project. Beyond any reasonable doubt, any project is a new challenge in the project management, strategic planning and marketing research thinking; and we accept and appreciate such challenges.

Galician California