Conflicts & War

The Ukrainian engineers racing to preserve historical monuments

By Rostyslav Averchuk

Lviv, Ukraine, Jul 27 (EFE).- A group of engineers in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv are creating 3D models of the country’s cultural heritage sites before they are destroyed by Russian strikes.

Yura Prepodobnyi, 28, is one of the engineers from the Skeiron company who have take it upon themselves to make sure his country’s heritage is not forgotten.

For hours on end, he takes pictures of the buildings with a heavy camera that weighs up to 6 kilograms.

“A three-dimensional model can save time and work for architects and engineers who would work on restoring a damaged building,” Prepodobnyi tells Efe.

Prepodobnyi and his colleagues launched the “Save Ukrainian Heritage” initiative soon after Russian missiles and bombs began raining down on Ukrainian cities.

The team worked around the clock to cover as many locations as possible in Lviv and the region as Russia attacked Chernihiv, Mariupol and Kharkiv.

“I was inspired by the case of art historian Andrew Tallon, whose detailed 3D models are being used to restore the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral that was damaged in the 2019 fire,” says Prepodobnyi.

Taking photos is only part of the process. A special laser scanner ensures that every tiny detail is recorded, as well as all dimensions of the exterior and interior of the building.

As the scanner slowly rotates, it emits a laser beam and multiple cameras record its changing length and shape, which will then help create a 3D model of the building in detail.

It takes several days and repeated visits to the site, but compared to the usual hand-made models, it saves effort, time and money.

With its rich multi-ethnic past, Lviv is one of the main cultural centers in Ukraine.

It has an unusual mixture of various architectural styles because it housed Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, German and Armenian communities in different historical periods.

Recently, the team has been working on creating a 3D model of the 17th-century Church of St. Andrew and the 14th-century Armenian Cathedral.

Prepodobnyi works closely with local experts and the authorities, who have made a list of the most important buildings.

As most of the objects in Lviv have already been scanned, the team plans to take part in expeditions to other cities now facing further destruction, such as Chernihiv and Kharkiv.

So far, 434 cases of significant damage to buildings of historical value have been recorded, according to the Ukrainian ministry of culture.

The most recent was the destruction of the Drama Theater of Mariupol and the museum of the 18th-century philosopher Hryhorii Skovoroda in Kharkiv. EFE


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