The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine railed against the illegal work in Bakhchysarai Reserve in Crimea, the Russia-annexed territory of Ukraine.

The corresponding information was provided by the press office of the department.

“The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine is extremely outraged by the large-scale illegal works at the Khan Palace, the monument of national importance, which belongs to the historical environment of the capital of the Crimean khans in the city of Bakhchysarai and included in the preliminary list of UNESCO World Heritage in 2013,” the press service noted.

The Ministry highlighted that the 18th century murals were damaged during the removal of roofing tiles and the old oak beams from the Buyuk Khan Jami (Big Khan’s Mosque). Moreover, the cracks have appeared on the facade of the building and the plaster has fallen off as the palace was washed under high pressure water technology. The Fountain of Tears (Aleksandr Fountain) as well as “Katerynivska mylia” were damaged due to using the same technology. 

The press office notes that the Ministry is concerned about plans of erecting a metal tent construction around part of the palace of the Khan Palace Main Building, since the increased load of the metal structures poses a threat of the monument collapse.

The Ministry of Culture emphasizes that, according to international law, the occupant state must take care of the cultural heritage of the occupied territories.

According to the Ministry, they have requested both the UNESCO and International Center for Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property to contact Russia with a claim to respect international law and to abandon the actions harming the cultural heritage of Ukraine.

Furthermore, the Department appealed to the Crimean Prosecutor's Office, in order to "take measures of response aimed at identifying the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.”

Reference: the Khan Palace was founded in the 16th century during the reign of Sahib I Giray khan. The palace is part of the Bakhchysarai Historical and Cultural Reserve. The premises of the palace include a museum of history and culture of the Crimean Tatars, an art museum, an exhibition of cold steel and firearms.

Occupants brought the Khan Palace on the list of cultural heritage sites of federal significance in October 2015.

Earlier, Refat Chubarov, the Chairperson of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, within the framework of the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference discussed the destruction of the Khan Palace in Bakhchysarai by the occupation authorities of the Crimea with Gustav Fridolin, Minister of Education of Sweden, the leader of the Green Party.