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Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine

Operation: year round
Location: Lavrska Street 9-12, Kyiv
Included in the following tours:
The Museum of Historical Treasures in Kiev is a chronicle of the Ukrainian land imprinted in silver and gold.
It was opened in 1969 as a branch of the National Historical Museum of Ukraine and occupies 17th-18th century building of the former bakery in Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Monastery.
The core of the Treasury funds came from the private collection of Kiev Maecenas Khanenko thanks to whom the Historical Museum was opened in 1904. The 20th century exploration and excavation works have enriched the museum collection with the most ancient valuable artifacts.
Among them are original samples of the 9th century BC – 4th century AD of Cimmerian art decorations; Scythian famous golden pectoral, ritual vessels, weaponry; Sarmatian earrings, bracelets, torques, masks and Tauri tribes decorations.
Findings of the 4th-14th centuries gather Huns sword, diadem, belt buckle; Avars belt decorations with colorful incrustation; Khazarians breast and neck adornments, pendants with granulation, buckle decorations, coins and Eastern Slavs plaques.
Kievan Rus of the 9th-13th centuries artifacts are represented by bowls, chains, breast decorations, torques and pendants; Pechenegs decorated bridle; Polovtsians helmet, pendants, censer; Golden Horde scoop and goblet.
Eventful 20th century was quite challenging for the treasure preservation.
In 1922 there came a Decree about withdrawal of ritual objects made of precious metals. Synagogues and Orthodox Christian shrines suffered equally. Golden and silver items were withdrawn to be sold “for the sake of hungry people fund”. Thanks to Scherbakivsky, the museum founder, we can appreciate Ukrainian Goldsmith collection of the 16-20th centuries including gospels, chalices, crosses, tabernacles, censers, icon decorations, wedding crowns, etc. Silver Judaica collection features Torah’s crowns, rymmons, pointers and shields, Chanukah lamps, scrolls of Esther, bsamims and other ritual and home decorations.
Soviet government was always in need of money, and in 1929 it was decided “to withdraw museum exhibits from Ukraine for amount no lesser than 600000 of roubles”. Regardless protests of museums directors and scientists, valuable items were collected and sent to “Antiquariat” State Enterprise for future sale at international auctions.
In 1933 the State Bank has merely collected all the precious metals artifacts from Ukrainian Museums for storing.
During WWII the major museum funds were transferred to Ufa via Moscow and were safely turned back after the war. Less happy fate overtook the funds remaining in Kiev.
The year of 1954 was a fateful one for the Museum. Ukrainian famous Scythologist Terenozhkin, after a 50-year pause in exploration of Scythian tumulus, has discovered findings of immense value, numbering to 196 samples of golden decorations. Ukrainian scientists decided to leave precious atrifacts in Ukraine, Melitopol and Kiev, thus breaking an Empire habit to give all the findings away to Moscow and Leningrad. Having learnt about Terenozhkin’s discovery, the director of Hermitage in Leningrad insisted on transfer of the values to Hermitage. Still not known how and why, the authorities decided to leave the newly found Scythian gold in Ukraine with a note to keep any future Ukrainian findings in Ukraine too. Before long a State Commission would visit the treasury exhibition in the Historical Museum and would make a resolution about creation of the separate Golden Treasury Section. By 1969 this section would grow into the Museum of Historical Treasure of Ukraine and would welcome its first visitors in Lavra.

We are back in New Zealand after several weeks away, and wanted to thank you for your assistance and advice during the planning for our trip to Ukraine, and particularly your prompt action when we had to change our arrival dates at the last moment. We were so pleased that we were still able to spend the time we had planned in Odessa and Kiev, and at least we managed to see Lviv as we had hoped, even if not for quite as long as we had planned. So thank you - we were grateful for your help.

All the arrangements you made for us went very smoothly, and we especially enjoyed the train travel. We had a great time, and enjoyed the country and the people. It was good to meet you, Irina, especially after you sorted our changed schedule out for us, and we are sorry to have missed "the other Irina" who had done all the initial planning with us.

Ukraine is wonderful and we were sorry to leave. Once again, thank you both so much for your planning, concern and prompt emails leading up to our trip, and your first-rate help when we needed it. Your organisation was of the highest quality and we will be recommending your firm to our local agent and friends.


Marilyn & Kel New Zealand

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