Poshtova Square archeological sensation: Business vs. historical heritage

Author : People’s Procuratorate

Source : 112 Ukraine

The remains of the wooden buildings, dated back to Kyivan Rus, can be destroyed by the mall construction activity in the very heart of Kyiv
21:48, 21 November 2017

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Poshtova Square (Poshtova Ploshcha) is the main entrance of the Podil district of Kyiv. Here, near the Church of the Nativity of Christ, at a depth of 100 meters underground a street of the Kyivan Rus is situated. So, three years ago, during the archaeological excavations, many artifacts of the Middle Ages were found here - prince prints, coins, rings, wooden piles, balls and pendants.

However, the question of the extraordinary value of the findings and the historical uniqueness of this place is not understood by all. Indeed, they want to install a concrete slab at the level where the cultural layers lie. Archaeologists reproached such a decision in obstinacy.

Related: Kyiv's Theatre on Podil: mausoleum, nuclear power plant, or Kaaba?

The construction works that are under way here are the result of an investment contest by the Kyiv City State Administration, the investor of which is the Hansford-Ukraine LLC (created month before the tender was announced in 2013). By the way, the project of reconstruction was approved a year earlier, in 2012. Subsequently, the ambitious "reconstruction project" was renamed into a "reconstruction of a transport interchange." At the same time, the updated document added the possibility of constructing a multifunctional object. Then the investor was attracted to the game.

"So-called investment competition was held very quickly, the investor was determined, and it looked like the city administration is building everything that concerns the road, and then it appears that one of the components of this project is a shopping and entertainment complex," explains Serhiy Gusovsky, deputy of the Kyiv city council.

Separate articles of the investment agreement indicate that after the commissioning of the investment object into operation, the investor issues the ownership of it. In turn, city receives only 5% from the estimated cost of construction in the amount of 2,6 million USD. It seems that 130 thousand USD is the cost of the cultural heritage of this place.

Related: Archeologists dig up antique architectural structure in Mykolaiv

But society says like cultural heritage is invaluable. Therefore, for many residents of Kyiv, "history" can still be preserved for the next generations, at least in the form of the Underground Museum on Poshtova Square.

112 Agency

On the one hand, there is an investor who gives money and wants to build a shopping and entertainment center here, on the other hand, archaeologists who must finish the work here, can preserve the museum artifacts they find. Third party, here is a city that needs to find a balance, because investor would be deprived of his project without legal grounds.

The installation of a concrete slab will not only damage a part of the cultural layer, but also make further work impossible. Archaeologists are convinced, there is no technology, how to work in such conditions. Architects in turn argue that it is possible to continue the research. However, the problem lies not in whether it will be possible to continue excavating under this stove. The main question: what will its installation lead to at this level? State Enterprise "State Research Institute of Building Structures" noted that it is possible to theoretically develop other options for strengthening the structure, but it is necessary to put such a task to the institute. So far, there have been no such offers from the investor of the construction of the shopping center.

Related: Crimean authorities appealed against decision of Amsterdam court to return Scythian gold to Ukraine

But it is strange that even after the order of the Ministry of Culture about assigning the status of a monument of local significance to the object, the customer did not correct the project documentation for the reconstruction of the traffic intersection on Poshtova Ploshcha and did not change the investment agreement. In addition, the adoption of the status of the monument meant an unambiguous ban on construction work before the excavation was completed. Archaeologists say that these requirements were not met. Excavators were removed only after the last charges that took place in October on Poshtova, where all parties to the conflict were present. However, the consensus was not reached.

112 Agency

110 square meters out of 8697 square meters (the total area of the object) are allocated for the museum of the ancient streets of Kyiv.

Obviously, it is necessary to make changes in the investment contract, taking into account the granting of the status of the monument to the local significance. The Ministry of Culture insists on this.

"In any investment transaction, one of the parties can compensate for the costs of the other one in order to take over the rights of this party to itself. That is, in this case it is obvious that the investor can get compensation for his expenses, and it is possible to acquire the property that was built by the investor according to the terms of this agreement. Then city would become an owner of everything that exists there and would be full owner of the process. It could decide the fate," resumes Tamara Mazur, Deputy Minister of Culture Ukraine.

112 Agency

Related: National treasure: Ukraine gets back its Scythian gold

That is, city must also decide on the fate of the future of the Underground Museum. Local authorities should become a full-fledged investor of this project, then they can transform the underground space into a museum.

Excavation of excavation with artifacts became a point of no return for the investor, buth for the city, and for the people of Kyiv.

Related: Ukraine to pay Netherlands €100 thousand for Scythian gold storage

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