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Poland and Ukraine rebuild war-torn Carpathian observatory

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 25.01.2013 11:17
  • Rebuilding a ruined Polish observatory
Preliminary work has begun on rebuilding a former Polish astronomical and meteorological observatory that now lies in the heart of the Ukrainian Carpathians.

Photo: Piotr Klapyta

The venture sees cooperation between four universities in Poland and Ukraine, bolstered by grants from the EU and the Polish government.

“It has a great location for developing many topics of research, especially those connected with geography, geology and botany,” said Dr Piotr Klaypta, a geomorphologist from Krakow's Jagiellonian University, in an interview with our reporter Nick Hodge.

Klapyta, who is a member of the project's research team, revealed that the building, which crowns the Pop Iwan peak of Ukraine's Chornohora range (Czarnohora in Polish), will also serve as a shelter for hikers.

In the late 1930s, the Polish government poured funds into creating what was a state of the art observatory on its south eastern border.

Dubbed “the White Elephant,” it functioned for just 8 months before the Second World War broke out. The conflict left the building as a battered shell, and with borders redrawn in 1945, the gutted outpost endured as no more than a remote relic in Western Ukraine.

In this report, Ukrainian art historian Dr Zanna Komar, who works at Krakow's International Cultural Centre, reflects on the observatory and the future of the region.

The investment sees cooperation between the following universities: the Precarpathian University in Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine), Chernivsti University (Ukraine), the Jagiellonian University (Poland), and last but not least Warsaw University (Poland), which is reviving its pre-war ties with the observatory.

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