Hutsul Pyramid on the Pip Ivan mountain
Hutsulshchyna is as an original ethnographic region of Ukraine consists of Galicia, Bukovina and Transcarpathia. Through historical circumstances the region of Verkhovyna became not only the geographic, but also the ethnographic heart of Hutsulshchyna. That is why at the end of the 19th century the literary genius Ivan Franko claimed contemporary Zhabye the largest village of former Austrian-Hungarian Empire to be the capital of Hutsulshchyna. It is important that in the Verkhovyna survived many historical and cultural monuments, the study of which are occupied scholars of the section “Hutsulshchyna”. Especially to the eminent cultural monuments and memorable places of this region belong the ruins of the astronomical-meteorological observatory on the mountain Pip Ivan.
The natural resource of the Ukrainian Carpathians, together with the hutsul human resource, was the decisive Ukrainian base of resources that guaranteed the successful construction of the observatory.
In this Hutsul region of the Ukrainian Carpathians survived many valuable architectural buildings either in wood or stone that in a wonderful way harmonize with the pristine nature and they form an original etnolandschaft of this highlands region. A lot of especially valuable historical and cultural monuments of Hutsul region still await a detailed scholarly study. Among all the architectural buildings of the Ukrainian Carpathians eminently distinguish themselves the ruins of the observatory on the mountain Pip Ivan. This capital stone construction, erected in 1938 on a unique mountain, which from immemorial times was the Holy Mountain of the ancient Hutsuls with their stony shrine at the top. Although the construction of the observatory was completed by the Polish state in Ukraine, the majority of the preparatory and building works were performed by skillful hands of hutsul craftsmen in a very short period of time and under extreme highland conditions of nature. The natural resource of the Ukrainian Carpathians, together with the hutsul human resource, was the decisive Ukrainian base of resources that guaranteed the successful construction of the observatory. In this sense for all highland Ukrainian highlanders is the observatory building on mountain Pip Ivan a “Hutsul Pyramid” and an invaluable monument of history and construction culture of all this Carpathian region of Ukraine.
During one incomplete century the history of the construction, functioning and destruction of the observatory in the Ukrainian Carpathians has not lost on actuality, first of all for the autochthon population of the hutsul region of Ukraine. That is why we during the years 1998-2010 conducted 12 scholarly summer expeditions to the observatory on Pip Ivan and on the basis of accessible to us written sources and the obtained information during the expeditions we realized a fact-finding reconstruction of the building of the observatory.
In absolute figures, then Pip Ivan remains one of the most legendary mountains of the Ukrainian Carpathians.
It is generally known that the geographical coordinates of the Pip Ivan or the Chorna Hora mountain range are one of highest mountains in the Ukrainian Carpathians. There are 48 – 2 – 49.9 north latitude and 24 -37 -45.5 east longitude. The Height is 2028 meters above sea level. Although Pip Ivan is somewhat lower than the 2061 meters of the majestic Goverla (in Hutsul dialect: Hovyrla) and the 2036 meters of Brebeneskul (in Hutsul dialect: Berbeneskul) in absolute figures, then Pip Ivan remains one of the most legendary mountains of the Ukrainian Carpathians.
The first time that Chorna Hora is mentioned in the 19th century by the Arabian historian, geographic and wanderer AL Masoudi in his thirty volume work “Murudzh azzahab ma, adadyn al-dzh avahayr“, what can be so translated: “washing gold and pieces of precious stone“. This work describes the world of those times: the territories of the Persian Empire, the Caucasus, Syria, Egypt, territories populated by Khazars and Slavs. On describing the Slavs Al Masoudi mentions Chorna Hora, where there was a shrine of an ancient slavonic god. Most likely it is Chornoboh, in myths and legends of the ancient slavs the eternal counterpart to Biloboh.
In the work of A.Kharkavi “Stories of Islamic writers about Slavs ab Russians”(from the 7th century to the end of the 10th century A.D. (SPb year 1870) we read: The second building was erected by one of their kings on Chorna Hora; it is surrounded by miracle-waters, in many colors ad in various tastes, known for their usefulness. In him they had a general idol pictured as a human. Depicted as an old man with a stick in his hand, with which he moves the bones of the dead from their graves. Under his right foot pictures of all sorts of ants and under his left foot – pictures of black ravens…” Most likely mentioned here are local mineral springs like Burkut, Polyana Kvasova or Luzhanska, which are relatively close to the Chorna Hora mountains.
Sacred mountain of Hutsulshchyna
From immemorial times Chorna Hora was a sacred mountain of the Hutsuls and until present days it remains very popular among the tourists as among the local people of this area, who every year in midsummer, in the period of the Kupala celebration make their “pilgrimage” onto the Sacred mountain, searching healing Carpathian plants and the flower of the magical fern. Maybe this is a unique echo of pagan times in Hutsulshchyna, which has survived to our times. Not only once on our summer expeditions, when meeting present “pilgrims” to Pip Ivan, we would ask them , why they climb exactly this mountain and in such a period. In most cases we would receive a reply that it was customary that their parents, grandparents, forefathers would climb to Pip Ivan on the feast of Ivan Kupala, as their forefathers would climb the mountain. “We Hutsuls respect our traditions and we climb the mountain on Kupala,” – they say.
From immemorial times Chorna Hora was a sacred mountain of the Hutsuls
In the memory of very old people live the legends of the “pilgrimage” onto Chorna Hora, about the White Bull, which our forefathers sacrificed to God on this mountain. Old legends about torch marches on the night of Ivan Kupala and a huge live fire -the largest fire that burned in the old slavic world in honor of Chornoboh. Or the reading of old apocryphal prayers together and other mysterious rituals. It is also talked that Hutsul maidens believed that they would speedier marry, should they collect plants on the feast of Ivan Kupala.
When questioning old people about Chorna Hora, they would all without exemption say that the traditions and customs are ancient and “before our times”.
Known is also that similar pagan shrines can be found in stone caves in the mountains of the Hrynyava mountains or in Pokuttya and Bukovina. The mountain Painted Stone with man-made holes for sacrificial rites has its “pilgrimage” at the end of the summer, on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Other places like the Sokilsky Stone, the mountain Kostrycha whose name comes from a ritual of lighting sacred fires (costra) by shepherds. The mountain range Ihrets, whose name hints as a reference to ritual games (ihrytsha), that slavic worshipers of the sun held on the feast of Rozyyhry. Eminent monuments are the Hungarian Stone, the mountain of Dovbushanka with its churches of Dovbush, rock caves and gorge. And last not least the rocks Didchi Tserkvy in the swamp Surdyuk. When questioning old people about Chorna Hora, they would all without exemption say that the traditions and customs are ancient and “before our times”.
The fundamental question whether to construct the observatory on Goverla or Pip Ivan had to be answered. The advantage as to the competition between these to mountains was given to Pip Ivan, when during an on the spot excursion the then 60-year-old general Leon Berbetsky personally pointed out the spot where the future observatoy should stand. The advantage was given to Pip Ivan due to its accessability, less steep increase of height and the larger plateau of under the mountain-top. Finally one did not want to spoil the profile of Goverla as heighest top of the Chorna Hora mountain-range.
In this year the leadership of the League of Anti-Air Defense of Poland announced an open tender for the construction plan of the observatory. On 29th september 1935 the result of the tender was announced: two architects participated in the tender, but neither of them had managed to convinve the jury. Their project was rejected they “do not harmonize with the nature of Chorna Hora. In the second, this time non-public tender five architects took part. They had to confront such aspects:
- a wide application of local construction materials, especially in regards to stone and sand, in order to reduce the transportation problem, accelerate the speed of the construction process and reduce the multi-million building costs,
- a harmonization of the functionality and rationality of the of the construction of the observatory with the surrounding nature of the mountain,
- taking into account the harsh conditions of the nature and climate of the highland area
Acute were the demands as to the conserving of heat and the fundamental facts of constructing an observatory in highland conditions. The harsh climate of the Carpathian highlands and the destructive power of the winds are well manifested by the fact of the exciting tourist refugiums, built earlier in the Carpathian mountains with assistance of the Polish Tatranski society.
Finally on the 16th December 1935 after eleven hours of debating the jury under the chairmanship of Jerzy Pnjewski recognized as most successful, beautiful and functional the project of the observatory hand ed in by a team of the architects Jan Pohoski and Kazimir Marczewski. Their project was accepted for construction. It.was in the style of functional constructivism. Constructivism is a creation of forms which is based on an exact calculation of the physical characteristics of the materials and the functions of the construction. First examples of this architectural style is the glass pavilion of the World Exhibition in London in 1851 and the famous Eiffel Tower, erected in 1889 for the World Exhibition in Paris. One of the first architects-constructivists was the Frenchman Toni Garnier, author of the proect of an “Industrial city” and the Olympic Stadium in Lyon.
The enthusiasm in Europa for this architectural style played a decisive role in the victory of the project for the observatory. The project of the winning team was published in 1935 in the 12th issue of the Polish journal “Architecture and Construction”, which is printed in Warsaw.
For commencing the construction the leadership of the Leuague of Anti-Aircraft Defense of Poland started to make desisions as to land ownership with help of the mayer of Zhabye Petro Shekeryk-Donykovy. In 1935 the League purchased two plotsat the price of 1500 zloty per morgue. The first plot – 7 ha of land in Zabye-Iltsi, in the outskirts of Flysiyky (swamps) for the building of the Hutsul museum. According to witnesses the price was 13.000 zloty for 12 morgues (=1 morgue = 0,58 ha). One part was bought from the Hutsul Chariy, a local villager in Iltsi, who was from a known Hutsul family of Urshed-Zuk (Tanasensky). The second part of the plot was from Jews under the condition that a contract would not not be reached in a voluntary way, since the gentlemen from Warsaw could acquire land under duress.
The plot for the observatory on mountain Pip Ivan the League for Anti-Aircraft Defense purchased from two daughters of Ivan Maksymyuk (Annocicno) from Verkhni Yaseniv. When his two daughters, Maria and Hafia married the brothers Petro and Ivan Shkriblak, they were given the meadow (polonyna) Gropa as a wedding gift. The mountain Pip Ivan belonged to the meadow. After marrying both daughters held their dowry of 100 cows on the meadow together, and the mountain top Pip Ivan was transfered to the Polish authorities. With the money from the sale of the mountain top of Pip Ivan the sister purchased a plot of landfor four stacks of hay in the nearby tracy of Pohoriltsi.
At our meeting in Verkhni Yaseniv with Ms. Maria Skriblyak (1914-2004) at the time of our expeditions we heard: “When we sisters were marrying, grandfather gave us the meadow Gropa as our dowry. Pip Ivan belonged to the meadow. The Polish state bought from us Pip Ivan and there they built the observatory. With the money we purchased a plot of four stakes of hay in Pohoriltsi”.
Hard work of the Hutsuls on the construction of the observatory Pip Ivan
An old villager in Bukovets Mykola Skriblyak (1902-2000) told us about the hard work of the Hutsuls on the construction of the observatory: “I saw how they were constructing the building of the observatory on Pip Ivan. Our people never said Pip Ivan, but Popivan. That huge stone building stood on the meadow of Shirbiyshinin Ivan from Yishenov. It became his through Mykyta and Annochka, both from Yishenov. The observatory was built by our Hutsul hands. Stones, sand, cement and water transported our people by horse or on their backs. This was very hard work. The building had a copper roof. It shined in the sun like gold and it could be seen from afar”.
In autumn 1935 almost 1500 cubic meters of construction stones were already collected on the top of the mountain and one began to build the road. A decent road between Zhabye-Iltsi and Shybene had been reconstructed in 1916 during World War I by the Russian troops of General Oleksiy Brusylov and it needed partially minor repairs and the erection of new bridges in some places. Especially hard was the building of a highland road from the highland village of Shybene to the mouth of the stream Pohorilets and from there – directly steeply upwards – along the lake Maricheyka to the mountain top of Pip Ivan. For the construction of this road the Polish government forcibly collected a great amount of hutsuls from all the surrounding villages. Thus each local owner had to work off a certain amount of unpaid days on the construction of the road. Here worked hundreds of hutsuls of all ages, among them many women and children. The Polish army was employed together with the hutsuls , which the local people called their “boys”. In the village of Krasnyk near the swamp Prochert the Polish army laid a section of the road with cubed stones that still are good to this day. Other difficult, especially swampy sections were fortified with logs. This type of road the people called “streibrueche”.
For the construction of this road the Polish government forcibly collected a great amount of hutsuls from all the surrounding villages. Thus each local owner had to work off a certain amount of unpaid days on the construction of the road. Here worked hundreds of hutsuls of all ages, among them many women and children.
Some hutsuls cleared trees for the road, others dug earth and then others crushed stones and fortified the banks of streams. Along the section from Shybene to Pohorilets the road led extremely near to the banks of the streams Stybene, Banhof and Tshivnyk, on which rafts transported logs.
The construction of the highland road and the observatory was supervised directly by Adolf Meissner, an engineer-architect from Lviv. The work in the sections was supervised by the constructor Basel Lanewski, army captain Antonjewicz, Leisor Getner, Ivan Chofran and Dmytro Chornushka from Iltsi. The Hutsuls nicknamed Chornushka “Baraba”. “Barabas” at that time were called all unemployed persons and those that let themselves be hired for a temporary employment. As a “Baraba firasovy” was called somebody who worked temporarily in a sawmill.
On 5th September 1936 a symbolic stone was placed into the fundament of the observatory.
When the road was finished, work commenced immediately on the building of the observatory. In Pohorilets a big storage base was opened and construction material was transported from as far as Vorokhta by truck or cart. On 5th September 1936 a symbolic stone was placed into the fundament of the observatory. Work began on the mountain. First of all came craftsmen from Sokolivka under the leadership if Ivan Andriyuk to build a wooden house for the service staff. It was named “Andzhinirivka”. For living quarters wooden boards as a roof was placed between two huge stones. They were covered with bark and a canvass. According to memoirs of the oldest inhabitants it was very cold to sleep under a roof without walls and at a height of 2028 meters above sea level.
Very valuable memoirs we recorded from 99-year-old Vasyl Palyichuk (1900-1999), a hutsul from the village of Babyn. He took part directly in the construction of the observatory: “When I climbed up to Popivan, there was no observatory. Two huge stones were covered with bark and a canvass. I entered the “tent”, which was lit by a paraffin lamp… When I worked I would sleep in the “tent”. There was already frost and winter had fallen. We lit a fire, but the wind would blow it out. I was warmly dressed and nailed a board into the floor, laid moss on it and slept .We froze very much during the night…”
The construction salaries and the transport of building material up to Pip Ivan were very well paid.
Another foreman, Ivan Chofran agreed with Vasyl Palyichuk, who worked in Zhabye, that he would make a door and windows for the wooden house at the price of 9 zloty per frame. At that stage of the construction salaries and the transport of building material up to Pip Ivan were very well paid. In the persuit of “quick zlotys” crowds of people came to Pohorilets… They were attracted by a good payments and the fact that these were paid out immediately, not like in the notorious factory of “Oleyka”, where lots of people worked and obtained no salary during a whole year. From the storage facility in Pohorilets to the top of Pip Ivan building materials were transported generally by hardy small ponies called hutsuls or by people, who had no horse, on their shoulder. The hutsul horse-owners made smaller carts on two wheels and a trunk, in which the load was transported. The route from Pohorilets took an average of 2,5 – 3 hours. On arrival one was given food and the horses fed.
Construction of the observatory Pip Ivan
A respondent from the village of Kryvorivnya, Hanna Buskanyuk (1927-2010) still as a child helped her father to transport material for the building of the observatory: “My father Vasyl Moyseychuk owned a pair of fine horses and was hired for the job of transporting everything to Pip Ivan: cement, bricks, food and all instruments. Father led the horses and I walked behind carrying a stone, which I would place against the wheel when the heavy cart would stop and with tired horses it could roll backwards. Together with my father rode a lot of people their horses to Pip Ivan, but I was a small child and remember only the two brothers Pihachuk from Berezhnytsya, Wasyl Motoryk and Nykola Mohoruk, that worked as horse-cart-drivers”.
Nobody could transport building materials more than twice daily in the summer. For one trip they paid 12 zloty (one could earn 24 zloty daily) and this is to be seen in comparison to the 5 zloty, which were paid for forest work, 2 zloty were received for cutting hay and women obtained 1 zloty a day for agricultural work. The skin of a wiesel was sold at 120 zloty, a cow cost between 100-150 zloty, a hundred kilograms of sugar-cane were 20 zloty and a larger head-cloth was 20 zloty.
Nobody could transport building materials more than twice daily in the summer. For one trip they paid 12 zloty (one could earn 24 zloty daily) and this is to be seen in comparison to the 5 zloty, which were paid for forest work, 2 zloty were received for cutting hay and women obtained 1 zloty a day for agricultural work.
The most costly and time-consuming factor of the construction was the transport of goods. Thus the price of 1 sack of cement was 6 zloty, but another 12 zloty had to be paid to transport it up the mountain. A cubic meter of wood was 1 zloty, but another 12 zloty one paid to transport it up the hill. In general figures 800 tons of building materials were transported from the rail station in Vorokhta to the mountain top of Pip Ivan (almost 70 kilometers).
The drivers, when transporting bricks or cement, were not escorted. But who transported valuable goods (glass, food, blankets, cloth…) always had a military escort. The amount of workers that were employed in the construction, changed permanently, depending on the season and the actual weather.
Very difficult was the transportation of drinkable and technical water to Pip Ivan. It was delivered on horses or carried on shoulder from a spring, which lied near the top of the mountain. For technical water one used rain-water as much as possible and it was collected in special canisters. For construction purposes one added chicken-eggs and milk to the concrete. In order not to carry milk from the meadow Gropa up to Pip Ivan, one took milk from cows that grazed on the mountain. For dilutions one at first transported sand from Pohorilets, but then due to the high transportation costs, one decided to take it from the soft stone-sand resources which were abundant on the mountain. The crushed stones were treated with sand. According to the memoirs of all the oldest hutsuls, the work on the mountain was without exemption “hellish”.
According to these memoirs, during 1936 (the first working year) a decent road was erected, the wooden house “Andzhinirivka” was built, the drainage work was accomplished, the fundament and part of the building was constructed. When snow fell, work stopped on Pip Ivan. In winter Wasyl Palyichuk from Babyn and Wasyl Tomatschuk from Bukovets remained on the mountain as guards.
With the onset of spring in 1937 work was renewed with fresh efforts. This was connected with the next phase of construction. One had to transport onto the mountain 33 cases that contained very heavy parts of the copper roof. The heaviest case weighed 950 kilograms. Also difficult was the transportation of precision tools and other measuring equipment.
It was very harsh work for both workers and the horses. From the art of the job the horses became sick and began to die, and for that reason the horse-drivers refused to work.
During the construction there was a big strike of the workers. Once when the known commercialist and collectionist Leisor Getner from Zhabye took over all functions on Pip Ivan under his leadership, the salaries for crushing stones and the transportation were reduced. These changes were not extended only on the masons, who continued to receive 16 zloty per work-day. The horse-drivers announced a strike and left the job. In their place Leisor Getner found other horse-drivers from Yavoriv. They tried to engage their four-wheeled carts to transport heavy goods, but due to the permanent cold winds their horses sweated heavily from the pulling and would catch a cold and begin to die in large numbers. The horse-drivers from Yavoriv (the capital of woolen blankets – lizhnyk) left the job and Leisor Getner was forced to return to the old prices for transportation. As to the crushing of stones he found cheaper workers and thus significantly reduced the construction costs.
An old inhabitant of Iltsi Andriy Spasky (born 1919) tells us about the harsh work on the building of the observatory: “Oh God, it was very hard, almost slave work. It was very harsh work for both workers and the horses. From the art of the job the horses became sick and began to die, and for that reason the horse-drivers refused to work. The horse-drivers were at first paid badly, they went on strike – and one began to pay better. When the Jew Getner form Zabye came, it became worse. I want to say that then in Hutsulshchyna it was not a pure Polish state, but a Polish-Jewish…”
In the winter of 1937 Vasyl Palyichuk from Babyn and Vasyl Tomatshuk from Bukovets remained as guards on the mountain. From the middle of December 1937 the newly appointed chief of construction Wladislaw Midowicz twice visited the observatory. During his visits an elder engineer Vladislav Shevchuk stayed with the guards to control the central heating, which dries the fresh walls.
The wife of Vasyl Tymotshuk, Vasylyna Tymotschuk (born 1932), who now lives in the village of Bukovets, remembers: ” My deceased husband Vasyl, born 1906, after serving in the Polish army worked four years as a guard in the building of the observatory on Popivan, where he had his room. By horse they transported food from Pohorilets onto Popivan. The Poles paid him money for his work. He also led guests over Chorna Hora. In winter it was very cold on Popivan: snow falls, the winds blow and the frost bites. Due to the coldness Vasyl suffered illnesses in his feet and he lost three toes to the frost. The toes were amputated and he received a pension from Poland. My deceased husband told me that in the refugium in Pohorilets worked a Vasyuta Grymalyuk from Dzymbronya. She cooked for the guests and she later married a man from the observatory and had a male child from him. When Poland fell apart, he took the boy with him into the far world”.
The completed building was covered with a copper roof, which had the form of the Latin letter “L” and on the upper side of the roof stood the tower with a six meter diameter dome. The monumental building had five floors, 47 rooms and 57 windows. There is a wide pavilion, housing fo the director and the personnel, a kitchen, a dining-room, a parlour , guest-rooms, a room with a radio-station, a hall for meteorological instruments, a boiler-room and a room with 240 huge rechargable batteries. Outside there were other domestic household facilities.
At the beginning of July 1938 Wladislaw Midewicz arrived with his wife Antonina Midewicz (maiden name: Tsvyach) and with his five-year-old son Jacek at the observatory. With their baggage they were brought here by a convoy of trucks of the 49th Hutsul Riflemen Regiment in Kolomyya under command of Colonel Wladislaw Zitkevych from the camp in Pohorilets.
Grand opening of the astronomical observatory on the mountain Pip Ivan
Finally came the day of the official opening of the observatory. According to the memoirs of Wladislw Midowicz this was preceded by a big scandal. General Leon Berbetski. He arrived one hour earlier then the official opening and criticized the chief architect because of some unfinished interior work in the building. He had been given a solemn promise that the building will fully completed. To take away the impression that the parquet flooring is not finished, the floor was covered with green coconut tracks. Unfinished however remained the water-pipe with two electric pumps that would have saved 40.000 zloty from the planned costs for the observatory.
In the first half of the opening day on 29th July 1938, a Friday, there was nice weather. The second half had a strong storm. According to recollections of old-timers a day before in the villages, where the official delegation would drive through, all roadside poles and fences were whitewashed.. For that reason the inhabitants had to strip off the barbed wire, that the plot-owners had utilized after World War I – it had been left on the meadows and defense positions. The delegation from Warsaw arrived in a convoy of 23 cars to Pohorilets and continued onto the mountain Pip Ivan. Finally the observatory received the official name in honour of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski “Imenia marshala Jozefa Pilsidskiego Observatorium meteorogiczno/astronomiczne L.O.O.P.” After the death of the Polish marshal (12th may 1935) there could be no other name for such an strategically important object. For the opening came the leaders of the highest authority of Poland. Marshall of the Senate Alexander Prister, who cut the symbolic ribbon, then Vice-minister of communication Jerzy Pjaceski and General Leon Berbetski, Chairman of the League of Air Defense of Poland and Jan Baton as director of the State Meteorological Institute. Many scholars, representatives of all sections of the state authorities and a large crowd of Hutsul under the leadership of mayor Petro Shekeryk-Donikovy were in attendance.
About the large amount of cars that came to Pohorilets for the opening of the observatory, recollects Ivan Tsvilinyuk (1927-2011), inhabitant of Kryvorivnya: “I was then a small boy, 11-year-old as they were opening the observatory on Popivan, but I remember well, that a lady traveled from Warsaw to receive the building. It was said, she had donated a million zloty for the construction. Hnat Mosticki was then president. On that day I climb to the top of a cherry-tree and watched as these cars were driven. There were 23 cars, so many cars I had never saw before”.
After the grand opening and consecration of the observatory a tour of the rooms and an official reception for the guests from Warsaw was held. On the upper floor sat the honorable society under marshal Alexander Pristor to a official dinner. On the lower floor lunched the civil servants of lower ranks. As on the opening day so also during the opening in general one could enter the building of the observatory only with a entrance-card signed by the director of the State Meteorological Institute in Warsaw.
The observatory entered the second phase of its functioning according to its direct destination, which regretfully was very short – altogether 14 months.
Thus in this study we have achieved a historical-etnocultural reconstruction of the building of the astronomical-meteorological observatory on Pip Ivan (Chorna Hora). As a result of our study we became convinced that the observatory was built solidly by yje skilled hands of Polish and Ukrainian builder within only two years (1936-1938) and has become a “Hutsul Piramid”. A unique highland construction in stone, raised in the Ukrainian Carpathians not far from the geographic centre of Europe, it is correctly one of the eminent monuments of history and culture of both Ukraine and Poland. It is necessary to save it for future generations. It is encouraging that the Precarpathian national University of Vasyl Stefanyk jointly with the regional Council and the regional administration of Verkhovyna have began the process of its reconstruction.