Ukraine to appeal to UNESCO over the damage to Bakhchysarai Khan Palace in the Russian-annexed Crimea

The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine expresses its protest against the actions of Crimean authorities for carrying out illegal restoration work at the Bakhchysarai Museum-Reserve and appealed, in particular, to UNESCO with a request to once again call on the Russian Federation to comply with the norms of international legislation, as reported on the website of the Ministry of Culture.

"The Ministry of Culture is outraged by the large-scale illegal restoration of the Khan Palace National Monument (security number 285), which belongs to the historical environment of the capital of the Crimean khans in the city of Bakhchysarai and is included on the preliminary list of UNESCO's World Heritage in 2013," the message says.

It is noted that during the removal of tiles and old oak beams from the Big Khan Mosque (Biyuk Khan Jami), 18th-century murals were damaged. In addition, cracks appeared on the facade of the building and plaster fell off during pressure cleaning. The same technique was used to clean the Fountain of Tears (Aleksandrovsky Fountain) and Catherine's Mile, damaging these monuments as well.

In addition, all of the work is carried out by workers who do not have experience in the field of restoration, the Ministry added.

According to the Ministry of Culture, there are plans to erect a metal canopy around the main part of Khan Palace in order to restore the roof in the Hall of the Sofa and the Golden Cabinet. The heavy load of these metal structures creates a significant threat to the monument.

"Carrying out work on the Khan’s Palace National Monument is unconditional proof of the gross violation of the norms of international legislation by the Russian Federation, which directly poses a threat to the preservation of Ukraine's cultural heritage," the report says.

The Ministry of Culture is appealing to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) with a request to again appeal to Russia and demand they strictly observe the norms of international legislation and refrain from illegal actions.

The Ministry also sent a letter to the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on the implementation of response measures.

The Ministry of Education has previously warned of the danger of constructing a canopy over the building of the Bakhchysarai Palace last year. It was noted that regular construction companies are engaged in the construction of the roof, and professional restorers are not willing to work in Bakhchysarai.

The Ministry of Culture sent a note to the local authorities and plans to apply to UNESCO, since the Bakhchysarai Palace is on the provisional list of cultural heritage sites.

  Khan Palace, Crimea, UNESCO, Ukraine, Russia

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