The Observatory “White elephant”

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From 1936 to 1938, on the Black Mountain (pop Ivan Chernogorsky), at an altitude of 2028 meters, at the initiative of the Polish government, an astronomical Observatory was built, which simultaneously served as a meteorological station. Its walls are made of stone blocks and reach a thickness of one to one and a half meters. Building in the constructivist style allocated on the slope, so it is two-storeyed from the East and five-storeyed from the West. On the South side of the Observatory is a round tower-rotunda, where the telescope was located.

Materials necessary for construction were delivered first by rail to Vorokhta station, then by forest roads using horses’ or on foot. This is almost 70 kilometers of travel!

Before the second world war, the staff of the Observatory left the building, taking with them the most valuable, namely: seven lenses from the telescope, two micrometers and the same number of chronometers. All this equipment went to the Budapest astronomical Observatory in November 1939, and then to Vienna, where it was transported to Poland after the war.

In September 1939, the new owners of the building became the Soviet authorities. After the partition of Poland. Ukraine вit became a part of the USSR. The first high-altitude geophysical Observatory and weather station in the Soviet Union was established here. The Observatory resumed its work: constant observations were made, information was transmitted to the Bureau of forecasts in Kiev.

From 1941 to 1944 the building housed the Observatory Hungarian military unit.

After the war, the Observatory was no longer restored, and the building is gradually being destroyed by the local population, tourists and forces nature. In winter, when ruin frozen with ice and on the walls formed fancy icicles, growths and folds, the structure looks very Grand – like a large frozen animal. Perhaps because of this, the Observatory has a romantic name – “White elephant”. There is another version of the origin of this name. Allegedly, Polish officials considered the construction of the Observatory impossible. In their understanding, this project was a “white elephant” – something fantastic, unreal. Today, the Observatory building is a high-altitude dump and public restroom, organized by tourists. Often they set up tents and stay for the night, but it is unpleasant to sleep in the environment of sewage, besides there is no water. Perhaps in the future there will be investors who will restore the glory of the “White elephant” and make it a real Mecca for tourists.

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