Jacqueline Spafford and Mark Hinchman, SAHARA Co-Editors | Mar 17, 2022
At the time of writing, Ukraine is fighting back against a massive military invasion by Russia. The toll on human life is quickly becoming immeasurable. Cities as they were known are being erased. Many of the buildings and views in the photographs below have already been destroyed. The three cities featured—Kiev, L’viv and Kharkiv—have been familiar news backdrops. They are rapidly becoming unrecognizable.
Thank you to all SAHARA contributors, and especially those who are documenting locations undergoing, or in danger of, destruction.
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Apartment House on Velyka Vasylkivska Street, Kiev, Ukraine, late 19th century. Photograph by Zachary Violette, 2019.
Victor Schröter, National Opera of Ukraine, Kiev, 1896–1901. Photograph by Zachary Violette, 2019.
A rare wood frame house with sawn ornament, Andriivs'kyi descent, Kiev, Ukraine, mid-19th century. Photograph by Zachary Violette, 2019.
Wladyslaw Horodecki, Karaite Kenesa, Kiev, Ukraine, 1898–1902. Originally built as a synagogue, during the German occupation used as a school, then for Roman Catholic services; eventually it suffered damage under the Nazis. Post-WWII it was used as a theater, and in 1981 became the Ukrainian House of Actors. Photograph by Zachary Violette, 2019.
View of Khreshchatyk Street, Kiev, Ukraine. The highly ornamented buildings date to the Soviet area, ca. 1948–60. Photograph by Zachary Violette, 2019.
Sergei Serafimov, S. Kravets, M. Feldher, Derzhprom, Kharkiv, Ukraine, 1926–28. Known as the State Industry Building, it is composed of several blocks in a circle joined by skybridges. At completion it was the largest skyscraper in the Soviet Union, and straddles architectural vocabulary of present and future eras. (Read more about Derzhprom’s UNESCO recognition.) Photograph by Oksana Chabanyuk, 2010.
V. Kostenko, V. Orekhova, Regional State Administration Building, Kharkiv, Ukraine, 1931 (reconstruction 1950–57). Photograph by Oksana Chabanyuk, 2013.
Aerial view of Market Square, L’viv, Ukraine. The area was planned in the 14th century and contains buildings dating through to the 20th century. L’viv’s historic center is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photograph by Oksana Chabanyuk, 2013.
Arsenal building, now an armory museum, L’viv, Ukraine, 1554–56. Photograph by Oksana Chabanyuk, 2013.
Main Railway Station, L’viv, Ukraine, 1861–62 (opened to the public in 1904). Photograph by Oksana Chabanyuk, 2013.
Zygmunt Gorgolewski, L’viv Opera House, L’viv, Ukraine, 1897–1900. The Opera House’s architecture is reminiscent of Garnier’s Paris Opera House; its location on a broad boulevard recalls Vienna's Ringstrasse. Photograph by Zachary Violette, 2019.