Skip to content

VITA ANTIQUA                                                                                     ISSN 2522-9419 (Online), 2519-4542 (Print)
Center for Paleoethnological Research

Oleksandra Ivanova1
Balkan and Ukrainian Experience of Cultural Heritage Protection and Preservation during Military Operations
1 Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

DOI: 10.37098/VA-2023-14-110-121


This essay is devoted to comparing the experiences of countries that have experienced wars on their territories and whose cultural heritage has undergone large-scale destruction. We tried to analyze what steps have been taken for conservation, protection and restoration of heritage in the Balkans and how we can use this experience in Ukraine.

Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the impact on the archaeological heritage of Ukraine has been devastating countless precious objects and sites have been damaged or destroyed and museums looted.

This is one of the innumerable aspects of the Russian war, which has direct consequences for the heritage of all mankind, and such consequences have already occurred in the world in the past. During the conflict in the Balkans, during the war in Afghanistan, during the war in Iraq and in Syria.

The task of this work is to take a look on the international legislation of cultural heritage protection, to draw attention to the experience of the Balkan countries in the protection and monitoring of cultural heritage during military operations, compare the foreign experience with the Ukrainian one, understand which methods we can use, and which, on the contrary, are different.

Key words: Balkans, Ukraine, cultural heritage, protection of monuments, war.

Language: English


Cite as:

Ivanova, O.A. 2023. Balkan and Ukrainian experience of protection and preservation cultural heritage during military operations. VITA ANTIQUA, 14. Culture Heritage and the War : challenges and solutions.


International Donors Conference for the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo. Сonsolidated summary. Paris, 2005.

Jan Hladík. The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the notion of military necessity.1999. International Review of the Red Cross, No. 835.

Herscher, A., Riedlmayer, A. (2000), “Monument and Crime: The Destruction of Historic Architecture in Kosovo”, Grey Room 1.

Helen Walasek, “Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage”, 2018.

Legnér, M. (2018) “Post-confict reconstruction and the heritage process” Journal of Architectural Conservation 24:2, 78–90.

MCIP “1,373 objects of cultural infrastructure have already been damaged because of russian aggression in Ukraine”, 04.04.2023, accessed April 10th, 2023:

“Monitoring of archaeological sites during the war” Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, accessed December 20th, 2022

Рrotection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo. Consolidated Summary. —

Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Resource

Shydlovskyi, P.S., Telizhenko, S.A., Ivakin, V.H. 2023. Archaeological Monitoring in War-Torn Ukraine, The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice,

Poshkodzhennya kurhannoho mohylʹnyka Boldyni Hory v Chernihovi vnaslidok viyny / Tsentr paleolitychnykh doslidzhenʹ im. Khv. Vovka. Rezhym dostupu:

Shydlovskyi, P.S., Kornienko, M.V., Ivakin, V.H. (eds.). 2022. Scientific and Practical Seminar ‘PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE OF UKRAINE’ (November 23, 2022, Kyiv, Ukraine: Abstracts. Kyiv: Center for conservation of archaeological objects. . [In Ukrainian].