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In Photos: Here Are The Ukrainian Cultural Sites Damaged Amid Russian Invasion

Updated Apr 6, 2022, 05:02pm EDT


At least 71 cultural sites in Ukraine have been damaged since the Russian invasion began in February, according to UNESCO, the United Nations’ culture and heritage agency.

Key Facts

On Monday—the most recent date for which data are available—UNESCO had confirmed damage to 31 religious sites, 26 historic buildings, 6 museums, a library and a handful of other cultural sites, the agency told Forbes.

The Kharkiv region, which has been badly battered by Russian forces, is home to 22 damaged cultural sites, more than any other area of Ukraine, according to UNESCO, including a large menorah at the Drobitsky Yar Holocaust Memorial that marks where an estimated 16,000 Jews were massacred by German soldiers during World War II.

Another 18 damaged sites are in the Donetsk region that includes Mariupol, a city on the Black Sea that has been under Russian siege for a month.

Just outside of Kyiv, Russian forces reportedly destroyed the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, a building that was once home to Ukrainian folk artist Maria Prymachenko—25 of her paintings were lost.


UNESCO noted that none of Ukraine’s six cultural World Heritage Sites—designations given by the organization to sites with “outstanding universal value”—appear to have been damaged. Those include St. Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kyiv, the historic Old Town in Lviv, and a monument marking a point of the Struve Geodetic Arc that helped determine the exact size and shape of Earth.

Key Background

People across Ukraine have been working to save the country’s cultural heritage. Outdoor monuments and statues across the country and the interior of historic churches have been braced with sandbags to prevent damage from attacks, and museum staffers have stored works of art underground or moved them for safekeeping. “There is an egomaniac in Moscow who doesn’t care about killing children, let alone destroying art,” Ihor Kozhan, a gallery director in Lviv, told the Washington Post, referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin. “If our history and heritage are to survive, all art must go underground.” Russia and Ukraine both signed the 1954 Hague Convention, an act designed to protect cultural heritage in both peacetime and war. According to a UNESCO declaration last month expressing concern over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “directing unlawful attacks” against cultural sites may constitute a war crime under international law.

Big Number

$600,000. That’s how much a state-sponsored sale of non-fungible tokens made on the first day, the Ministry of Digital Transformation told Forbes last week. The 1,282 digital collectibles were purchased in ether, and proceeds will be used to rebuild the museums, theaters and other cultural institutions destroyed during the invasion, according to the ministry. The sale will continue throughout the conflict.

Full List

Chernihiv region

Chernihiv Regional Youth Center

Church of St. Theodosius

The Military Historical Museum, a branch of the Chernihiv Historical Museum

A regional children’s library, formerly the Vasyl Tarnovsky Museum of Ukrainian Antiquities

St. Catherine Church of Chernihiv

The former District Court House in Chernihiv (built in 1904)

Chernihiv Regional Universal Scientific Library “V.G. Korolenko” (built in 1910-13)

St. Kazan Church in Chernihiv

Kyiv Region

Ivankiv Museum

Voznesens’ka Tserkva, Church of the Ascension

St. George’s Church, Zavorychi

Petro-Pavlivska Church

The Irpin Bible Seminary

A memorial monument to villagers who died in World War II

House of Culture (built in 1952-54)

Kharkiv Region

Orthodox church in Kamianka village of Izyum

Uspensky Cathedral–Assumption Cathedral

Kharkiv Court of Appeal building

Historical “Slovo” building

Kharkiv Art Museum

Church of the Holy Queen Tamara

Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater

A historic residential building in Kharkiv

Korolenko State Scientific Library

Kharkiv National University economics faculty building

Former Palace of Labor building in Kharkiv

Church of the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women

Former central lecture hall in Constitution Square

Historic residential building from the 19th century

Memorial Complex of Glory in Kharkiv

A monument to the architecture of a 19th-century building

Drobitsky Yar Holocaust Memorial

Historical fire department building from 1886

A former women’s gymnasium built in the 1870s

School No. 7 in Karkhiv, dating back to 1906

Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Izyum City Council building

Research Institute of Venereology building

Zaporijiya region

Church of St. Tikhon of Zadonsky

Jytomir Region

Church of the Blessed Virgin of the Ovruch Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Church of St. Nicholas (Church of the Holy Veil defrocked Archimandrite Agathangelos)

Donetsk region

Svyatogorsk Holy Dormition Lavra monastery

Church of St. Nicholas of Myrlikiysky Wonderworker

Chapel of the Holy Martyr Tatiana

Tserkva Khrysta-Spasytelya Church

Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre in Mariupol

Our Lady of Kazan Orthodox Cathedral in Marinka

Monument to Metropolitan Ignatium of Mariupol in Marioupol

St. Archangel Michael Church in Mariupol

Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Mourners”

The Holy Transfiguration Church

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Mariupol

St. Dmytrivskaya Church

Mariupol Museum of Local Lore

Residential building from the 19th century in Mariupol

Memorial monument to Afghan soldiers

Residential buildings in Mariupol dating back to 1930

Monument to V.G. Korolenko in Mariupol

Lugansk region

St. Catherine’s Church (Katerynyns’ka Tserkva)

Temple in honor of the Icon of the Mother of God “All Sorrows joy” in Sverodonets

Islamic Cultural Centre “Bismillah” in Sverodonetsk

Holy-Christ-Christmas Cathedral (Church of the Nativity) in Sverodonetsk

St. Tikvin Church

St. Nicholas Church

Sumy region

Okhtyrka City Museum of Local Lore

Architectural monument to the former People’s House

Historical monument of architecture for the former home of entrepreneur L.E. Koenig

Monument in honor of the 183rd Tank Brigade that fought in World War II

Okhtyrka City Council building

The Smorodyne train depot

The main house on L.E.Koenig’s former estate

Further Reading

Mariupol Theater Bombing Killed 300, Ukrainian Officials Estimate, As First Video Showing Survivors Surfaces (Forbes)

Ukraine Launches NFT Sale To Fund Fight Against Russia (Forbes)

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