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25 August 2022

800 years of history now available in Ukrainian

Two people standing in front of Edinburgh Castle listening to an audio guide

Ukraine First Lady led initiative sees first Ukrainian-language audio guide launched at Edinburgh Castle

Visitors to one of Scotland’s most iconic visitor attractions can now experience the story of over 800 years of history in Ukrainian.

Edinburgh Castle is now providing audio tours in Ukrainian, as part of a wider initiative by the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, to have the Ukrainian language heard in prominent and famous places around the world.

To launch the tours, a delegation from the Ukrainian community including the Deputy Ukrainian Culture Minister, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK and his wife, and representatives from the Consulate of Ukraine in Edinburgh, visited Edinburgh Castle to experience the tour first-hand.

The launch of the first Ukrainian audio guide at a historic property in Scotland is part of a cultural diplomacy project, with the First Lady visiting the Tower of London to sign a Memorandum for the launch of a Ukrainian-language audio guide, during an official visit to the UK in October 2020, which was developed and later launched in August 2021.

Ukrainian-language audio guides are now available at museums and royal places at a number of locations, including the Palace of Versailles in France, Charlottenburg Palace in Germany, Vasa Museum in Sweden, Kunst Museum in Switzerland, Dolmabahce Palace in Turkey, and Mount Vernon, (home of George Washington) in the USA.

The Interpretation Team at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has worked with audio guide contractors ATS Heritage, to produce a high-quality audio tour in Ukrainian that takes visitors on an epic journey through Edinburgh Castle with a cast of historical and contemporary characters.

Kit Reid, Head of Experience at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), who runs Edinburgh Castle said;

“We were privileged to be approached to host the first audio guide at a Scottish tourist attraction as part of this wider project. This has been in development for some time with discussions taking place before the tragic events which have unfolded in the last six months.

“As part of this and given the incredibly difficult situation that the country is in, resources have of course had to be diverted elsewhere and we were keen to support and continue to take forward the initiative by directly funding and developing the new audio guide ourselves so that Ukrainian could be heard within the walls of one of Scotland’s most iconic sites.

“As we now make this available to visitors to the castle, we were delighted to be able to be joined by representatives from the Ukrainian community to mark this very special and poignant occasion.”

Vadym Prystaiko, Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK said;

“It was so gripping to listen to the tour and hear the stories of Edinburgh Castle told so beautifully in my native language. 

“This project is just as important today as when it was started. Through the Ukrainian audio guides, the intention was to create new opportunities for Ukrainians who live abroad or travel to other countries, to be able to have, and share experiences in the Ukrainian language.

“It is under such tragic circumstances, that instead, right now, so many of our people are displaced in the world, however in such difficult circumstances many countries around the world, including Scotland, have provided a warm and safe welcome. That is why, today at Edinburgh Castle, it was very heartfelt to hear the incredible Scottish stories in Ukrainian –, and I hope will be enjoyed by and provide a similar experience for those visiting and experiencing the castle.”

Scottish Government Minister for Refugees Neil Gray said;

“I am pleased to see this example of how we can make Ukrainian visitors feel more at home through Scotland’s rich cultural and heritage experiences. As Edinburgh is twinned with Kyiv, it is especially fitting that Edinburgh Castle is the first Scottish heritage site to welcome Ukrainian visitors in this way.”

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
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Iona Matheson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
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