Merefa Community

Kharkiv
Population:
Population:

Population (before the Russian invasion): over 25,000

Women: 13,161

Men: 12,644

People of retirement age: 10,000

Children under 18: 5,512 

The Merefa territorial community includes 9 settlements: the centre of the community in the town of Merefa, as well as 8 settlements and urban-type villages.

History and Science

There are a few versions of how Merefa originated. According to one of them, the settlement was founded by Cossacks on the same-name river in 1595. In 1655, there was already a large temple here. And it was Merefa that served as a fortified outpost base for Ukrainian Cossacks who controlled the northeastern borders of Slobozhanshchyna in the middle of the 17th century. It is believed that Ivan Dmytrovych Sirko, the ataman of Zaporizhzhya Sich, lived and had his ancestral estate here. 

Bust of Ataman Sirko
Bust of Ataman Sirko Source

The community erected a monument in honour of the ataman. Town-wide events are held here, which gather community residents and guests from all over Ukraine.

The Belgian Quarter greets visitors to Merefa across the street from the railway station. Here, there are two-story houses built according to a Belgian project in 1911. They were designated for employees of the glass factory who came from Belgium. These houses are unique and cannot be found anywhere else in Eastern Ukraine.

Belgian houses
Belgian houses Source

The Church of the Appearance of the Icon of the Ozeryana Mother of God is located in the village of Nyzhnya Ozeryana, which is the centre of Orthodoxy in Slobozhanshchyna.

Temple in Slobozhanshchyna
Temple in Slobozhanshchyna

The Institute of Vegetable and Melon Growing of the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Sericulture and Technical Entomology of the National Science Centre of the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine work on the territory of the community.

The experimental fields of the Vegetable and Melon Growing Institute occupy an area of 635 hectares. They produce certified here, and the scientific institution itself coordinates the activities of 13 scientific institutes and 56 farming enterprises in Ukraine. Unfortunately, as a result of the Russian bombing, in the village of Selektsiyne, the main office building of the Vegetable and Melon Growing Institute was caused significant damage. Commercial premises where the cleaning and storage of the seed stock were carried out were also damaged.

Source

Community and War

On March 2, the village of Yakovlivka of the Merefa community was hit by an airstrike by the Russian occupiers. Bombs destroyed at least 30 private households, as well as private cars and commercial buildings. 7 people were injured, 10 people were rescued from under rubble, 3 people were killed.

Consequences of the war
Consequences of the war Source

On March 17, Russian troops struck again having shelled an educational institution and a cultural centre in Merefa. The rocket hit on the school building led to large-scale destruction and a fire on more than 400 m2.

Consequences of the war
Consequences of the war

Shelling of Merefa by the Russian occupation forces in the morning of May 17 and in the evening of May 23 damaged over 30 houses, a high-voltage line and a number of cars.

Consequences of the war
Consequences of the war Source

On August 1 at around 2:00 a.m., the occupiers launched rockets on the workshops of one of Merefa’s enterprises. A fire spread over an area of 100 m2. The security guard of the enterprise was injured and hospitalized.

Consequences of the war
Consequences of the war

People of the community

Veniamin Sitov has been the headman of the Merefa territorial community since 2010.

He is Vice-President of the Association of Local Self-Government Bodies of the Kharkiv Region, head of the section of cities and towns of regional and district significance and settlements that constitute district centres.

He was also elected a member of the board of the Kharkiv Regional Branch of the Association of Ukrainian Cities.

Transfer of medical equipment
Transfer of medical equipment Source
Volunteer headquarters
Volunteer headquarters Source

Sporty community

The town government of Merefa pays great attention to the development of sports and the creation of sports infrastructure. Since 2016, exercise and children’s playgrounds, football and basketball fields, and skate parks have been arranged in the neighbourhoods of the Merefa community. Before the war, town-wide events were held here annually: competitions in various sports, flash mobs, festivals.

Opening of the sports ground on the territory of the Lyceum of the Merefa community
Opening of the sports ground on the territory of the Lyceum of the Merefa community
Annual bicycle race of the residents devoted to the Constitution Day of Ukraine
Annual bicycle race of the residents devoted to the Constitution Day of Ukraine

Development strategy

The community pays attention to all settlements and their sustainable development.

Thus, one of the implemented strategic projects is the opening of a centre for the provision of administrative services in the Merefa community

Administrative Services Centre
Administrative Services Centre
Partner towns:
Wilmington, Cincinnati, Ohio (United States of America)
Wilmington, Cincinnati, Ohio (United States of America)
Madeira, Cincinnati, Ohio  (United States of America)
Madeira, Cincinnati, Ohio (United States of America)
Mieszkowice (Republic of Poland)
Mieszkowice (Republic of Poland)
If you want to contact an Ukrainian community or have additional questions regarding the project please contact us: [email protected]