Culture ministry supports placing ukraine's ancient castles in private hands

Ukrainian Culture Minister Mykhailo Kulyniak has said he supports the transfer of Ukraine's ancient castles into private ownership.

"European countries have already chosen this path," Kulyniak said in an interview published in the Izvestia in Ukraine newspaper on Tuesday.

The minister was commenting an initiative voiced by Director of Lviv Art Gallery Borys Voznytsky to place castles in private hands, leaving the state to ensure they are properly maintained.

"Poland, for example, has allowed ancient castles to be converted into hotels, restaurants and entertainment centers, with investors having to retain the same architecture and historical atmosphere. And it attracts tourists. That is why we intend to remove all the legal pitfalls that make investors afraid to invest in ancient buildings," the minister said.

At the same time, Kulyniak promised that budget funds would be provided for the preservation and restoration of the country's cultural heritage, including as part of the preparation for the Euro 2012 European Football Championship.

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