Postcards from Ukraine: Kalush Orchestra soloist Tymofii Muzychuk told about the Central House of Culture in Irpin

Tymofii Muzychuk is a Ukrainian musician and piper who, being part of the Kalush Orchestra, won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022.  He voiced the story of the Irpin Central House of Culture destroyed by the Russian occupiers so that the whole world would learn about the crimes of the Russian army.

The Postcards from Ukraine international campaign launched by the Ukrainian Institute tells about the unique historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine damaged or demolished during the full-scale war against our country.

Basic facts about the Central House of Culture in Irpin: 

The Central House of Culture in Irpin was one of the first in Ukraine built after World War II. The city community itself initiated the construction of the building, striving to promote Irpin’s cultural development. It has always been the subject of pride for the locals. 

In the Autumn of 1954, the House of Culture was officially opened containing an auditorium with 484 seats, a lobby, dressing room, choreography hall, vocal and drama classrooms. During the very first year of its existence, the institution housed 15 children and adult amateur creative clubs. Over time, cultural and social life within its walls became even more diverse. 

The cultural and creative center was erected on the initiative and at the expense of the locals. It was a space for organizing vocal performances, language clubs, shows, and concerts of their favorite artists. I also had a chance to perform here along with the Kralytsia folk ensembleto perform on a stage that no longer exists,” Tymofii Muzychuk said in the video.

Tymofii’s mother is a bandura teacher at a music school and his grandmother is the head of a folklore ensemble. Therefore, born into a creative and musical family, being an artist of the academic ensemble as well as teaching children and youth at the Kyiv Palace, Muzychuk has an unparalleled understanding of the great value the cultural institution provides for local and global development. 

In the first days of the full-scale war initiated by Russia against Ukraine, in February 2022, Irpin was instrumental in protecting Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, being directly exposed to enemy fire and coming under occupation. The cultural and creative center, which had been a heart of the city life for more than 70 years, also took a hit in the course of the fierce battles. As a result of the Russian shelling, the facades, interiors, and ceilings of the building were damaged. 

After the de-occupation, numerous representatives of the world community visited Irpin in support and solidarity. The House of Culture was not overlooked either. Its shelled sky-blue facade and ruined walls became a powerful message portrayed in a music video for a song by the famous English singer Ed Sheeran in collaboration with the Ukrainian band Antytila. A prominent Lithuanian pianist, Darius Mažintas also performed in the open air near the House of Culture in Irpin. The center’s ruined walls and the city itself have become symbols of the war in which Russia is trying to obliterate Ukrainian culture. Yet to no avail. One can destroy the walls, but can never destroy the culture. 

«Postcards from Ukraine» is a project of the Ukrainian Institute aiming to tell about the destroyed cultural and historical sites of Ukraine. For the support of USAID, a single database was created containing information about 100 monuments and allowing one to see the scale of damage and read the history of each in Ukrainian and English. 

The project team calls everyone to tell the world about the destruction of Ukrainian culture, distribute the postcards on social networks and send them to friends abroad so that the world learns the truth about Russia’s atrocious devastation of the cultural heritage of Ukraine.  Use a hashtag #PostcardsFromUkraine.