Engelhardt Astronomical Observatory now part of UNESCO World Heritage
45th session of the World Heritage Commitee is holding an extended session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
KFU is represented by First Vice-Rector Dmitry Tayursky, Deputy Director of the Institute of International Relations Rafael Valeev, and Associate Professor Rimma Valeeva-Khakimova.
“The meeting was held in a rather serious atmosphere. A number of countries initiated the decision to include Kazan University observatories in the list this year. There was a long discussion, delegations – representatives of the countries participating in the committee in support of the nomination of Kazan University, including Ethiopia, Zambia, Mali, India, Thailand, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, South Africa and Nigeria. This decision is, of course, very important first of all for the country. It is a victory for Russia, it is a victory for Kazan University, and it is a victory for the Republic of Tatarstan. Now there are four World Cultural Heritage sites in Tatarstan. The astronomy school of Kazan University has confirmed its world level, and its achievements have once again received international recognition,” jubilates Dr Tayursky.
The Engelhardt Observatory is the first object of its class to be inducted into the World Heritage List. It was founded in 1901 and replaced the central campus observatory as the main astronomical observation facility – by that time urban illumination had already become a hindrance.
The Vice-Rector adds, “The creation of a buffer zone, the continuation of conservation work, the restoration of all sites in accordance with the rules dictated by ICOMOS and UNESCO are to be carried out.”
The buildings of the astronomical observatories of Kazan University have preserved their integrity, authenticity and original scientific functioning and sustainable development. Both urban and suburban observatories still fulfill the original scientific and educational function. The constituent parts of the astronomical observatories of Kazan University vividly represent their historical, cultural, scientific and technological evolution, step-by-step spatial and temporal development, expansion of astronomical observations and technologies, and world achievements. The continuity and inseparable connection of the two components is demonstrated by the architectural embodiment. The architectural forms of the observatory represent the continuity with the classical urban planning and spatial solution of the city observatory and the ensemble of Kazan University. Together these two complexes illustrate a significant period in the history of the formation of scientific and educational architectural and landscape complexes.