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Remains of Prince Volodymyr’s ancient palace ‘at risk from Kyiv officials’ inaction’

Author: Nataliya Trach
Source: Kyiv Post

A spectacular archaeological find in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv could be at risk due to the inaction of city officials, a top Ukrainian archaeologist has warned.

The foundations and part of a wall of the 10th century palace of Kyiv Prince Volydymyr were discovered during repair work being carried out on a stairway the corner of Volodymyrska Street and Andriyivsky Uzviz Street in early May.

The palace and the nearby Desyatynna church are the oldest stone building remaining from the times of the ancient Kyivan Rus, and could become a major tourist attraction. But because of local officials’ inaction, the site could soon be covered with earth again, archaeologists say.

«In the 10th century most Kyiv buildings were made of wood, and the palace and the nearby Desyatynna church (both located near the Andriyivsky Uzviz Street) were the only stone buildings in the city then», –  Vitaliy Koziuba, archaeologist and researcher of the Institute of Archaeology of National Academy of Science of Ukraine, told the Kyiv Post.

Workers strengthen the external war of Prince Volodymyr’s palace in Kyiv on June 3. Photo by Anastasia Vlasova

«If this whole territory (the palace and Desyatynna church) were to be turned into an open air museum, the city would gain another great tourist attraction. But after the builders strengthen the slope, the remains of the palace will be covered with earth»,  he said.

The remains of palace were found during the repair of stairs at the corner of Volodymyrska Street and Andriyivsky Uzviz Street a month ago. The finding did not surprise the archaeologists though. «Archaeological excavations were conducted on the site in 1911, so we knew that Prince Volodymyr’s palace was located here, but this is the first time an external wall was discovered»,  Koziuba said.

The total area of the palace is about 400 square meters, and the depth of the foundations about one meter. Only seven meters of the palace’s external wall remained intact. «The palace was most likely a two-storied building. It might have served as an administrative center. Prince Volodymyr might have had official events and meeting with foreign ambassadors here», Koziuba added.

But the palace is unlikely to be turned into a tourist attraction, at least in the near future, Koziuba said, as city officials are reluctant to take responsibility for creating a museum there.

Serhiy Hruzdo, the deputy head of department of culture of the Kyiv city administration, told the Kyiv Post in a written comment that the non-governmental organization «Andiyivsky Uzviz – Peyzazhna Initsiatyva» is responsible for creating an open air museum at the site. But in the meantime, the Kyiv administration has asked the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, the Institute of Archaeology of Ukraine and the Desyatynna Church museum to ensure the conservation of the findings and consider the possibility of creating a museum there.

Neither Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, nor «Andriyivsky Uzviz – Peyzazhna Initisatyva» responded to the Kyiv Post’s written requests for comment.

«There’s your answer», said Koziuba, commenting on the lack of response from officials. «This is not even a question of money, as private sponsors are ready to allocate money. The problem is that officials don’t want to take responsibility for the decision».



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