"Rotting Zoloti Vorota Gets Facelift"
By Dana Liss, Kyiv Post Staff Writer
Kyiv, Ukraine, June 6, 2002
For the past 10 years the wooden towers of Zoloti Vorota, site of one of
Ukraine’s oldest surviving monuments, had been decaying from rain and
Now, the city is trying to fix that. After clearing bureaucratic hurdles,
the city’s architects and restoration experts have embarked on Hr 1.5
million reconstruction project at the site.
The project involves applying protective coating on the wood and sprucing up
the nearly 1,000-year-old ruins of the original gate inside.
“The condition of the structure is severe. You can see the wood warping,”
said Lena Balanovska, one of the chief architects at Ukrprojectrestoration,
an architecture and design institute working on the restoration.
Balanovska said rain and melted snow, plus pollution have permeated the wood
over the years and led to its deterioration.
“Weather conditions, plus exhaust from cars, have aggravated the problem,”
Back in 1037, Zoloti Vorota – or Golden Gate – was the main entrance to the
city. Its fortified walls defined the limits of the city and served as a
protective barrier from enemies. The gate was destroyed in 1240 by the
Tatars, leaving only remnants of the stone walls.
Marking the 1,500 anniversary of the founding of Kyiv, a brick-and-oak
building was erected in 1982 at the historic site. The original stone ruins
are hidden in the new hollow structure.
When the monument was first build in 1982, protective coating wasn’t
available in Ukraine, she said.
“Basically the wood has slowly been decaying ever since,” Balanovska said.
In July 2001 the Kyiv City Administration agreed to fund the project
following a study conducted by the National Sofia-Kyivska Preservation
commission in January 2000. The commission monitors the conditions of the
country’s historic monuments and sites.
After two years of dealing with bureaucracy ... the reconstruction is
finally underway,” said Anatoly Antoniuk, director of the Institute and
adviser to Ukrrestavratsiya, a private firm commissioned to do the work.
After fencing off the monument last April, the firm’s 30-member construction
crew started work, applying layers of water resistant and fireproof coating.
Once the first leg of the project is completed within the next several
months, the granite and limestone ruins located inside the entrance of the
gate, will then be restored.
Balanovska said salt crystallization has formed in the pores of the stones,
causing them to corrode. The surrounding damp concrete walls, which also
contain salt deposits, have contributed to the corrosion over the years.
The repairs will include sealing all cracks and holes to prevent water
penetration with a filling made with a mortar – a mixture of lime, cement,
sand and water.
The last stage of the renovation project involves replacing the antiquated
interior lamps with a state-of-the-art lighting system to show off the
original ruins. “The lighting should make details of the original stones and
the wood-and-stone walls stand out,” Balanovska said
The plan is to fix the damage without spoiling the overall aesthetic
appearance, Balanovska said.
The monument is expected to reopen to visitors in late December, Balanovska
For Personal and Academic Use Only, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine,
http://www.kpnews.com; Golden Gate Photos by ArtUkraine.com May, 2002;
Not for Reproduction or Distribution