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Ukraine Joins the Memory of the World

Ukraine joins UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme, aimed at making the world’s documentary heritage permanently accessible for all. This statement was made by Liubomyr Mykhailyna, the head of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical Cultural Preserve. He stated that the preserve was in possession of an extensive collection of the XVI-XVIII century blackletter books that need protection, preservation, as well as digitizing.

Ukrainian National Memory of the World Committee will be created in the nearest future joining another 20 national committees of the countries of Europe and North America. By 2013 Ukraine will submit a nomination proposal with three suggestions for the inclusion into the Register.

Notably, in 2005, the Collection of Jewish Musical Folklore (recorded between 1912 and 1947) was added to the Register upon the suggestion by Ukraine. Unique Jewish folk music recorded on Edison wax cylinders – the state property of Ukraine – are kept at the National V.I. Vernadsky Library of Ukraine, informs unesco.org. Remarkably, the collection contains the only authentic phonogram of the voice of the well-known Yiddish author and playwright Sholom-Alejhem.

Ukraine’s cooperation with UNESCO started with the ratification of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage by the country in 1988. Ukraine possesses five properties included in the UNESCO World Heritage List: a) cultural: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and related monastic buildings and Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in the capital, the ensemble of the historic centre in Lviv, residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans, and Struve Geodetic Arc; b) natural: Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany (33,670 hectare tri-national property, located in Slovakia, Ukraine, and Germany). Seventeen more Ukrainian properties are on the tentative list – an inventory of countries’ significant cultural and natural properties that might later be nominated for the inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Curiously, in April 2012, UNESCO collaborated with the government of Norway to help revitalize and care for the collection at the Lviv open air Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life Shevchenkivskyi Hai. The two-year UNESCO project will deal with the deteriorating condition of the artifacts in the museum via conservation.

Shevchenkivskyi Hai includes 124 buildings located on 58 hectares of land near Lviv. Besides peasant houses from six regions of western Ukraine, the collection features six churches, a forge, a school, a fulling mill, as well as saw-, water- and windmills. All items were restored and put on display in order for the visitors to educate themselves about the local history and culture in the 18, 19, and early 20th centuries.

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