Astronomical Observatories of Ukraine

Date de soumission : 30/01/2008
Critères: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine
État, province ou région :
Mykolayiv, Kyiv, Odesa, Yalta
Ref.: 5267


  1. Research Institute (RI) Mykolayiv Astronimical Observatory. N46 58 3 E31 58 5
  2. Astronomical Observatory of Kyiv National University. N50 27 2 E30 29 9
  3. Research Institue (RI) Astronomical Observatory of Odesa National University. N46 28 6 E30 45 5
  4. Research Institute (RI) Crimean Astrophysical Observatory. N44 43 7 E34 01 0

World's Astronomy Monuments is a project of serial transnational group of historico-cultural monuments, which have outstanding universal value and are connected with other observatories, architectural complexes and separate buildings in the world. Within the framework of the thematic initiative "Astronomy and World Heritage", Ukraine represents four observatories: the RI Mykolayiv Astronomical Observatory, the Astronomical Observatory of Kyiv National University, the RI Astronomical Observatory of Odesa National University, the RI Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, which belong to the same historico-cultural group.

The history of these observatories is connected with two outstanding achievements in astronomy of the 19th-20th centuries. The first important achievement was a creation of the fundamental celestial coordinate system, which allows us to improve astronomical constants, to answer fundamental cosmological questions related with the origin and evolution of universe. Five fundamental catalogues of stars were created during 200 years as the result of combined efforts of many observatories all over the world. The celestial coordinate system was created on the basis of these catalogues. Since 1935 this system has been used as the reference coordinate system for astronomy and geodesy.

The second important achievement was successful research of the Sun, which allows us to study solar processes and predict solar activity and its influence on the Earth's civilization. Modern knowledge about structure, composition and evolution of the Sun was obtained during many years. It makes possible to implement a modern service of solar weather, which is necessary for development and activity of the Earth's civilization.

 The observatories were created to provide solutions for long-termed complex scientific problems, which have a strong connection to the history of astronomy and relate to European and world culture in general. Development of observatories provided possibilities to carry out unique astronomical observations by using specific architectural complexes.

One can trace the development of large and small architectural forms in astronomy of the 19th-20th centuries, using presented observatories as an example of historico-cultural monuments. Combination of observatories as the historico-cultural monuments and working scientific institutions provides preservation of unique ancient astronomical instruments and devices, which increase the importance of these monuments up to the level of the world heritage.

This potential serial national property may be included into a transnational property together with observatories from a range of countries, such as: Germany, England, France, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, the USA, etc., which also took part in creation of the fundamental reference coordinate system.

1. Mvkolayiv Astronomical Observatory (MAO), 1821

Geographic location: southern part of Ukraine National

 Protection Status:

- By the Decree 970 of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian RSR on August 24, 1963, the main building was included in the National Inventory of the Monuments of History and Culture as a monument of architecture (number 535) with the national level of protection.

- By the Decree 61 of the Executive Committee of Mykolayiv on September 7, 1991, the historico-cultural reserve territory named Observatoriya was established.

- By the Agreement 4 between NAO and Department of Culture of Nikolaev Regional State Administration on July 6, 2005, territory of the monument is protected on the national level.

- Mykolayiv Astronomical Observatory was inscribed on Ukraine's Tentative List of the World Heritage on March 12, 2007.


Mykolayiv Astronomical Observatory is an outstanding monument of historico-cultural heritage, the oldest naval observatory in the South-East Europe.

The property represents an architectural ensemble situated at the top of the Spasky Barrow on sea level of 52m. The total area of the ensemble is 7,l hectares including 2,l - hectares of built-up area.

The observatory was founded in 1821 by the Commander-in-chief of the Black Sea Fleet Admiral 0. Greig and built to the design of the Chief Architect of the Black Sea Admiralty F.I. Wunsch.

Activity of observatory was aimed at providing the Black Sea Fleet with precise clocks, navigation maps, sailing directions and training of navigators in astronomical methods of orientation. Modern directions of research are: determination of precise positions of stars, compilation of catalogues, improvement the knowledge about orbits and masses of the solar system bodies, observations and investigations of the near-Earth space, astronomical instrument-making, history of astronomy. NAO took part in the creation of the fundamental coordinate system by contributing 14 stellar catalogues of high accuracy.

The main building built in the style of Classicism takes important place at the architectural ensemble. The building is a monument of architecture at the national level and dominating composition of the ensemble. The main building is an illustration of architecture of Mykolayiv, which was the capital of the Black Sea Fleet at the beginning of the 19th century. The main entrance of the observatory is decorated with a six-columned Greek portico.- he wide stairs made in front of the portico lead into a main auditorium. The auditorium has a square form with the side of 10m. Sixteen columns rose to the hemisphere ceiling in a circle of eight meters in the main auditorium.

A cylindrical rotunda is situated on the flat roof above the auditorium. Four doors towards the four directions of the world and twelve windows in rotunda walls were made to observe the celestial bodies by using portable astronomical instruments. The main auditorium is connected with eastern hall in which two meridian telescopes, namely, the meridian circle and the passage instrument were installed. The cellar of observatory deserves special attention. It is a prolongation of a ground part into an underground part of the building. The auditorium at the underground part repeats the form of the main auditorium and decorates the cellar.

There are astronomical pavilions built at the beginning of the 2oth century in which historical astronomical instruments, such as the meridian circle made by Repsold (1832) and the passage instrument made by Freiberg & Kondratiev (1898) are preserved. There are also three modem pavilions for working telescopes under automatic control: the axial meridian circle, the multichannel telescope, the fast robotic telescope used for research and observations. The axial meridian circle was inscribed in the list of the National Heritage of Ukraine.

2. The Astronomical Observatory of Kyiv National University (A0 of KNU), 1845

Geographic location: central part of Ukraine

 National Protection Status:

- By the Decree 442 of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian RSR on June 1 l, 1979, the main building was included in the National Inventory of the Monuments of History and Culture as a monument of architecture with the national level of protection.

- By the Decree of the Expert Committee of the State Service on the National Cultural Heritage on February 1, 2007, Observatory of University was recognized as the historico-cultural monument with the national level of protection.


The A0 of KNU occupies total area of 2,6 hectares in a historical part of Kyiv. The observatory was built with the design of academician of architecture Vikenty Beretty during 184 1 - 1845 years, and was officially opened in February 7, 1845.

Main scientific directions are meridian observations and compilation of stellar catalogues; a solar service and investigations of the solar-terrestrial links; optical and radio observations of meteors; investigations of the comets, the Moon, asteroids; relative astrophysics; optical observations of the Earth's satellites.

The observatory took part in the creation of the fundamental reference coordinate system by contributing 14 stellar catalogues of high accuracy.

The main building, built in the simplified style of the late Classicism, has a form of octahedral tower. The main entrance is situated at the south side. At the west side, there is a meridian hall with an exit to open terrace where portable astronomic instruments can be installed. Four forged columns with relief ornament, a hand rail of stairs made of cast iron, a tiled stove with stucco moulding are preserved in a central hall. An architectural complex was partly rebuilt in 1860-1890. Laboratories, housing buildings, pavilions for new telescopes were built in 1946- 1960.

At present, the main building, a pavilion of meridian circle, a pavilion of astrograph, a pavilion of horizontal solar telescope, three metal pavilions, three brick pavilions, laboratories, housing buildings are situated at the territory of observatory.

A museum of astronomy deserves special attention. The museum has more than 20 thousands of exhibits, which are connected with science, technique and regional memories. There are also old astronomical instruments, such as:

  • the passage telescope made by Ertel in 1838;
  • the astrograph made by Repsold in 1895;
  • the meridian circle made by Repsold in 1870.

3. The Astronomical Observatory of Odesa National Universitv (A0 of ONU), 1871

Geographic location: southern part of Ukraine

National Protection Status:

- By the Decree 392 of the Executive Committee of Odesa Region on August l l, 1987, the main building was recognized as a monument of architecture with the national level of protection.


The Astronomical Observatory of Odesa National University was founded in 187 1, and occupies total area of 1.4hectares. The main building was built in 1871.

Main scientific directions are positional determinations of stars; research of the Sun, variable stars, meteors; spectroscopy of stars.

The observatory took part in the creation of the fundamental reference coordinate system by contributing 8 high accuracy stellar catalogues. In total, 30 catalogues were obtained and included in Pulkovo catalogues. The Order of the Honored Legion and Zhansen's Prize of the French Academy of Sciences were awarded to Gansky 0. for prominent research of the Sun made by him and his colleagues. An archive of photographic observations has more than 107 thousands of plates obtained in the 19"'-20"' centuries. The archive takes third place in the world by number of plates after Garvard and Zonnerberg collections.

The main one-storied building has a rectangular form in the East-West direction. At eastern side of the building, a special meridian hall with a sliding slit in walls and roof along the meridian was built for observations. In 1886, a two-storied round tower with the rotating dome was built for Cook's telescope to eastern side of the main building. In 1915, the round tower and the meridian hall were rebuilt with the design of architect A. Bernatsy and took the final architectural appearance including a main entrance, a round hall, a range of additional premises, marble stairs to the first floor, a balcony around the tower, a place for observations. There is a range of small architectural forms on the territory of observatory. One of them deserves to be included in a list of architectural monuments. This is the building of southern astronomical observatory. On the building there is a place for observations and a tower with metal dome. 30cm telescope was initially installed in the tower, and then replaced by a planetarium.

About 40 telescopes with mirrors up to 1 m in diameter were made in an optico-mechanical shop during 1968-1999 years, for example, Shmidt telescope, two meteor telescopes, telescope for Earth's satellite observations, two laser ranging telescopes.

The old astronomical instruments are also preserved in the observatory, namely:

  • the meridian circle made by Repsold in 1862;
  • the refractor made by Cook in 1886.

4. The Crimean Astrophysical Observatory (CrAO), 1908 (1945)

Geographic location: southern part of Ukraine, Crimea

National Protection Status:

- By the Decrees A625 and B3105 of the State Committee for preservation of historical monuments issued in 1980 year, the main building on the mountain Kishka and Gansky's building were recognized as the historico-cultural monuments with the national level of protection.


Silneiz department of Pulkovo observatory was founded in 1908. The CrAO was founded in 1945 on the base of Simeiz department. Two other observatory stations are situated at different places of the Crimea peninsula, namely near the villages of Katsiveli and Naukove.

The Crimean Astrophisycal Observatory is a complex, which has scientific, historical and architectural values. The main part of the Crimean Astrophisycal Observatory (CrAO) is situated in the Crimean Mountains at the level of 600m above sea level at a distance of 9km from the town of Bahchisaray. An ensemble of telescope towers, administrative and housing buildings was created with the design of architect L. Plahov in the fifties of the 20th century.

A tower of 2.6m solar telescope named after academician G. Shain, a solar tower telescope have a unique construction. These telescopes together with some other small telescopes provide a possibility to carry out astrophysical research of the Sun, the solar system, stars and galaxies.

The station near Naukove was built after the Second World War. The territory of Naukove station occupies about 30 hectares. In 1970-1980, the CrAO became initiator and  participator of projects in space research thanks to this station.

The laboratory of radio astronomy is located at Katsiveli station. The radio telescope RT-22 takes part in the following projects: Very Long Baseline Interferometry; multiwavelength monitoring of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) in millimeter domain; solar and stellar activity investigations at mm-dm wavelengths.

Main scientific directions are physical processes in atmospheres of the Sun and stars, radio astronomy, evolution of stars and stellar systems, small bodies of the solar system.

Development of the CrAO is connected with Simeiz observatory organized by an amateur astronomer and later Honored member of the Academy of Science, M. Maltsov In 1900 he built a tower for refractor at his land plot near Simeiz. In 1906 - a tower with dome for Zeiss double astrograph. Both towers are preserved and being used nowadays. I11 1908, M. Maltsov handed his observatory to Pulkovo observatory as a present. In 19 12, the first astrophysical department of Pulkovo observatory was officially opened at the south of Russia. Simeiz observatory is situated at the level of 360m above sea level at southern mountainside of the Crimean mountains, at Kishka mountain. A territory of observatory occupies about 14ha. A main building was restored after the Second World War on the basis of old building in modernized style with balconies decorated by columns. Research of interstellar space and star formation zones, discovery of star rotation, creation of stellar catalogues of ray velocities, study of chemical composition of stars and the Sun brought the world publicity to Simeiz observatory. The results of research of stars and the Sun represents an independant value.

At present, the CrAO has six properties, which are inscribed in the list of the National Heritage of Ukraine: the solar tower telescope; 2.6m mirror telescope named after G. Shain; gamma-ray telescope GT-48; 22m radio telescope RT-22; 1.25m Ritchey-Chretien telescope AZT-11; the satellite laser ranging station in Simeiz.

Thousands of books, atlases, sky maps published in the 17th century and later have been preserved in museum funds.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité

The selected astronomical observatories of Ukraine have quite high level of authenticity. Original forms and destination of objects, for example, the main buildings of observatories in Kyiv, Nikolaev, Odesa, Simeiz have been preserved and used in accordance with their primary destination. There are a lot of documents related to development, creation and state of the monuments during their history and astronomical usage.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

The most known observatory in the world with similar destination is the Royal Greenwich Observatory in the United Kingdom, founded in 1675. The observatory was inscribed in the List of the World Heritage as Maritime Greenwich, ref. 795.

Serial transnational property World's Astronomy Monuments may be compared with the transnational property Struve Geodetic Arc. The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through ten countries and over 2,820km. These are points of a survey, carried out between 18 16 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, which represented the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian.