Berezhany Territorial Community
The Berezhany urban territorial community is located in the west of the Ternopil region and borders the Lviv region in the north.
The total area of the territory is 242.5 km²
As of January 1, 2023:
the population of the community was 26,592 people,
of which children 3,168.
2,552 internally displaced persons are currently residing in the community.
The community includes 21 population centres: the town of Berezhany, its administrative centre, and 20 villages.
An administrative centre of the community, the town of Berezhany belongs to the oldest Ukrainian settlements. The first written mention of the town dates back to 1375. In 1530, Berezhany acquired the status of a town and was granted Magdeburg rights.
Throughout its history, Berezhany was a trade, craft, cultural, educational and administrative centre.
The development of Berezhany as a trade centre was facilitated by a convenient geographical position – one of the routes leading from western countries to the Black Sea region passed through the town. Merchants from the farthest corners of Ukraine, Poland, and Armenia gradually began to settle here. A significant percentage of the population of Berezhany was made up of Jews, who were mainly engaged in trade.
In 1554, the construction of the stone castle in Berezhany was completed, which was later strengthened and expanded in 1570 and in the first quarter of the 17th century. Unlike other fortresses, it was built not on a high, impregnable mountain, but in a deep swampy river valley – on an island formed by two branches of the Zolota Lypa River. In addition to these natural factors, the defence capability of the castle was ensured by deep moats filled with water and high ramparts.
The revival of the Berezhany economy (caused by the reform of 1848) was facilitated by the construction of railways: a railway track connected Berezhany with Ternopil in 1894, a track leading to Rohatyn was laid at the beginning of the 20th century, and a track to Pidhayets was laid in 1909. The industrial profile of Berezhany at the beginning of the 20th century consisted of two brickyards, a brewery, a honey factory, three soda water factories, a tallow candle and soap factory, two mills (one with a cloth mill and a sawmill), a match factory and a sawmill. In Nova Hreblya next to Berezhany, there was a paper mill, which ranked Halychyna’s second in terms of the number of workers among related enterprises in 1909.
Despite the creation of some factories and plants, the population of the Berezhany neighbourhood mainly engaged in agriculture in the early 19th – late 20th century, just as the centuries before.
In August-September 1916, in the battles on Mount Lysonia near Berezhany, the USS Legion heroically held back the onslaught of the Russian army. The town suffered significant destruction.
In November 1918 – July 1919, it was the district centre of the ZUNR here. The Initial Command (General Staff) of the UHA was located in the Berezhany Castle. During 1919–1939, the town was under the rule of Poland and was the administrative centre of the rural commune of Berezhany. From September 1939 it was part of the Ukrainian SSR; later it turned into the district centre.
On May 13, 2015, Berezhany acquired the status of a town of regional significance.
The Berezhany territorial community is very rich in churches, bell towers, castles, and palaces.
Economy and Welfare
Mineral deposits are really important for the development of the Berezhany community. They include limestone and quartz sand, suitable for the production of glass and for construction needs. Also, there are significant reserves of marl that can be used in cement production and peat.
Throughout the territory, there are different types of clays, which lie close to the surface in significant thicknesses, and in some places come to the surface. According to experts, the discovered clay reserves will be enough for 30 years, which is one of the prerequisites for the production of tiles and bricks on the territory of the community.
Thus, the KERAMIK Brick Factory of Berezhany – one of Western Ukraine’s largest brick manufacturers and part of the Keraterm Company – resumed its operations in 2020. After the renovation in 2021 and the renewal of the production lines using European equipment, the Berezhany brick factory began to produce about 60 million units of conventional bricks per year. It was possible to create more than 120 jobs for residents of both Berezhany and neighbouring communities. The plant is currently the largest budget-generating enterprise of the community.
On the territory of the community, the Khrystyna Enterprise has been successfully operating for 25 years. It manufactures corrugated boxes of all shapes and sizes, which can be used for packaging, storage and transportation of various products. The company invests heavily in the renewal and quality of its products and has recently acquired the latest equipment for the production of corrugated packaging and the processing of secondary raw materials.
Light industry in the community is represented by a new modern sewing enterprise, Manufaktura, which was registered in 2017. The company specializes in tailoring men’s shirts. Products are exported to EU countries: Poland, Germany and Sweden.
In 2020, rural areas were included in the Berezhany community. Therefore, the agrarian sector has become an important component of local economic development. Despite the traditional cultivation of cereals and rapeseed, berry growing, beekeeping, dairy farming and participation in specialized agricultural service cooperatives is gaining popularity among the residents.
Together with the neighbouring Saranchuky and Narayiv communities, the Berezhany community participates in a joint project on the development of cooperation under the USAID Agriculture Resilience Initiative (AGRI).
The pride of the local rural development of the community is the activity of Zhiva Zemlya Potutory – a Swiss-Ukrainian enterprise founded in 2007. The company became one of the first manufacturers of organic products in Ukraine. The main task of the company is the restoration of natural processes in agriculture, as well as the population of organic and biodynamic methods of farming. Currently, the company works in three areas: growing herbs, crop production and dairy cattle breeding.
The development of tourism is a promising area of the local economy. Various festivals are constantly held on the territory of the community.
Funded by the state, the construction of a sports complex in Berezhany with a gym and a swimming pool, which will allow training sessions for 9 Olympic sports, is currently at the final stage. There are also facilities for athletes where they can relax and reside.
The community has 23 educational institutions, 14 medical facilities, 23 cultural institutions, 4 museums, and a Berezhany social services centre – “Dopomoha”. There are also higher education institutions that cooperate closely with the town council on scientific projects.
The latest joint project implemented by Ecological Club “Krai”, a public organization, with the participation of teachers, students and pupils for the benefit of the community is the inventory taking of green spaces within the project “Transparent and participatory system of taking inventory of green areas in Ukraine: iTree4UA” coordinated by Green Wave with financial support from US Forestry Service International Programs in partnership with Davey Tree Expert Company (developers of i-Tree products in the US). The pilot project will promote and protect green spaces from illegal felling.
The Berezhany neighbourhood is characterized by a fairly strong public sector – more than 100 civil society organizations are registered in the community.
Thus, the Zolote Pole organization, created at the Shybalyn gymnasium, together with the economic development department “Community Resource and Entrepreneurship Support Centre” wrote the winning project entitled “Creation of a modern “Smart” computer class for the project competition “Time to act, Ukraine” of the charity fund “MHP to the community”. This initiative made it possible to purchase office equipment for the educational institution.
Community and War
Since February 24, 2020, the Berezhany community has taken in about 5,000 forcibly displaced persons from the occupied territories and the war zone. About 2.5 thousand internally displaced persons stayed in the community for a longer period.
Also, a Volunteer Centre has been established under the Town Council to meet the needs of displaced persons. Along with it, the volunteer centres of other public organizations and the “Caritas-Berezhany” charity foundation function here.
24-hour duty was organized in the town council to ensure the reception, registration and resettlement of people fleeing the war. For a long time, a social canteen functioned where internally displaced persons received three meals a day at a discount. There is a social wardrobe, where people in difficult life circumstances can choose seasonal clothes.
Cooperation has been established with various charitable foundations and organizations, including ADRA, People in Need, Red Cross, Posmishka. UA, Norwegian Refugee Council, UNICEF, Cash for refugees in Ukraine.
The community received support from the sister cities of Kluczbork and Lobez (Republic of Poland).
As part of the new cooperation, the Lobez Town Council and the Lobez House of Culture offered the Berezhany Town Council to organize recreation and rest for children from the Berezhany community on the territory of the Republic of Poland. Such a trip became possible due to the implementation of the Polish-German youth cooperation project named “New partnership with Ukraine in the face of war”.
The people who were sheltered by the Berezhany community held an event as a sign of gratitude to the residents. Volodymyr Berezin, an eco-activist and the head of the Bakhmat organization, suggested holding a spring-time joint cleaning event around the Berezhany pond as a sign of gratitude to the Berezhany community for its hospitality. A lot of local volunteers and caring displaced persons joined in the event. To a certain extent, this event became an impetus for further communication between local residents and active displaced persons regarding the issues of community development and site improvement.
Active guests of the Berezhany neighbourhood strive to be useful to the community and its residents – they began to organize themselves to write projects and implement various joint initiatives. This is how the public organization “Berezhany Creative Hub” was created.
In the Hub, you can get free legal advice and advice from experienced businessmen for entrepreneurs. The team also creates social projects and helps implement them. In particular, the Hub developed a landscape project for the arrangement of a children’s playground, together with the communal enterprise “Hospodar” and “Berezhany Agrotechnical Institute”. The organization “Bakhmat” carried out beautification works, planted thuja trees and landscaped the territory of Berezhany Lyceum No.2.
At the initiative of the creative hub and with the support of the town council, an atelier school was opened in Berezhany for displaced persons and local residents
People of the Community
In the autumn of 2020, the residents of the community elected Rostyslav Bortnyk as their Mayor. He is a European architect and artist who lived in Austria for 17 years, and then returned to Berezhany and began to implement European ideas in Ukrainian realities.
As an architect, Rostyslav Bortnyk has more than 100 projects to his credit, including a humanitarian project in the Republic of South Africa, the revitalization of the railway station in Bleiburg, the design of a restaurant at a mountain ski resort, the construction of social housing and a house for the elderly, a residential complex in Vienna, which was listed among 17 best architectural assets according to the Austrian State Prize for Architecture and Environmental Construction.
Rostyslav Bortnyk’s artistic and patriotic projects are also known to Ukrainians: the exhibition dedicated to honouring the victims of the Holodomor “163. One grain is one person”; action-meeting under the walls of the OSCE (2019) MH17, as a reminder of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane by Russian fighters and the death of civilians.
As the mayor of the town, Rostyslav Bortnyk considers the improvement of territories and the development of the social sphere among the development priorities. Today, there is a need to create a rehabilitation centre and a geriatric department at the social services centre “Dopomoha”, a communal institution, on the territory of the community. An important role is assigned to the development of partnership relations with domestic and foreign municipalities. During his term of office, the Berezhany community became a member of the All-Ukrainian Association of United Territorial Communities, expanded partnerships with Europeans – the town of Lobez (Republic of Poland) and Esanatoglia (Italy), joined the initiative “Good Communities”, Centre for Public Initiatives and Prozorro.
During the war, Rostyslav Bortnyk promotes the collection and transfer of humanitarian aid for the territories affected by hostilities and for the Armed Forces. He personally took humanitarian aid to the frontline regions on several occasions
Also, Rostyslav Bortnyk conducts active activities on various platforms both inside Ukraine and outside of Ukraine, regarding the prospects of reconstruction of the territories of Ukraine destroyed by the Russian war. The combination of the post of Mayor and expertise as an architect is perhaps the best combination in understanding the problems of rebuilding Ukraine.
Social and cultural expertise of Rostylav can also be seen in the actions and projects of the Berezhany community.
“Kruty – the Tragedy and Pride of Ukraine”
Celebrating the Day of the Assembly of Ukraine – “Stronger Together“. Berezhany.
Commemoration of Holocaust Victims in the Town of Berezhany
In Berezhany, an association of active residents, replaced persons and representatives of local authorities has been formed. The association works according to the “Association Development Methodology”, which was presented in 2021 in Vilnius by its author Ivan Omelyan. This technique is formed on the basis of practical experience of working with self-organized associations of socially active citizens of other countries. Currently, this methodology, adapted to Ukrainian realities, within the framework of the Kyiv Dialogue project: “Creation of social capital in Ukrainian regions for reform-oriented public initiatives, with the financial support of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany” is being implemented in the pilot Berezhany community with the support of NGO “Centre of Public Monitoring and Analytics”.
The development strategy of the Berezhany urban territorial community is at the stage of development: meetings of working groups were held, socio-economic and SWOT analyzes were conducted. Development of economy, rural areas and tourism have been defined as priority areas.
Together with NGO ANTS – National Interests Advocacy Network, within the framework of the implementation of Project No.UKR096 “Strengthening Communities for Ukraine’s Victory and Revival” “Strengthening Public Trust” USAID/UCBI III, a Concept of reconstruction and sustainable economic development of the Berezhany urban territorial community was developed which provides a basis for the future Development Strategy.
The main needs of the community, which must be realized during the period of martial law, are as follows:
- provision of uninterrupted power supply systems in the Berezhany central town hospital, educational institutions and communal enterprises of the community;
- improvement of the alerting system in the community;
- providing internally displaced persons with housing, food, hygiene products and promoting their integration into the community;
- purchase and installation of solid fuel boilers in healthcare and cultural institutions;
- improvement of conditions in community shelters
Post-war community needs include:
- construction and arrangement of sewage treatment facilities and completion of major repairs of Sichovykh Striltsiv Street;
- creation of the “Berezhany” industrial park;
- completion of work on the reception and diagnostic department of the communal non-profit enterprise “Berezhany Central Town Hospital of the Berezhany Town Council”
- development of the cooperative movement (dairy, horticulture, berry growing, beekeeping industries);
- completion of works “Construction of a Sports Complex on 8 I. Franka Street”;
- introduction of a comprehensive spatial development plan.
List of Sources
- Berezhany Town Council
- Official Facebook page of the Berezhany Town Council
- Personal photos of Rostyslav Bortnyk, Oleksandr Nakonechny, Anna Biychuk.