The Old Academic (Mazepa’s) building has been an educational building of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy from the beginning of the 18th c. Hetman Ivan Mazepa, a graduate of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, facilitated and financially supported the building, which is now reflected in another name of the building.
The construction of the one-storey brick building in the Baroque style was carried out in 1703-1704 by the project of an unknown master (probably architect Joseph Startsev). Rectangular in plan, the building contained six classes and three entrance halls. Every two neighbouring classes had one exit, and each class had two windows to the open gallery which was made up of nine looped arches. The classes had three entrances, the central one ending with a baroque pediment.
In 1739, with the initiative and financial support of Metropolitan Raphael Zaborovskyi and the project of J.G. Shedel, the building was reconstructed and expanded; namely, the second floor was built, accommodating classes of philosophy, theology, and the Congregational Hall for solemn meetings and student meetings, and also the Church of the Annunciation was added.
After the fire of 1811, the building was restored with the participation of architect A. Melenskyi.It was originally used for classes at the Kyiv Theological Academy. After the construction of the new KTA academic building, from the 1830s the ground floor served for some time as a student dormitory.
Since the 1870s, the Academy Library has been located on the second floor of the Old Academic Building, and on the first floor is the famous Church and Archeological Museum. In the 1870s, open galleries were bricked up, the third floor was erected, and the basements were dug for the heating system to replace the furnaces.
After closing the Academy in the 1920s, the funds of the contemporary National Library of Ukraine named after V. Vernadskyi. Since the Academy was revived in the 1990s, the University Library has been housed here, reading rooms have been renovated, and ceremonial, scientific, social and cultural events have been held in the Congress Hall.
Today, the building is the oldest building in the Ukrainian territory, specially designed and built as a university facility, which continues to function in the same role. Since the summer of 2017, the restoration work of the building has begun.
The Old Academic Building is one of the eight architectural monuments of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, which is listed in the State Register of Monuments of History and Culture under the common name “Brotherly Monastery” and is under the state protection.
The uniqueness and significance of the Old Academic Building for the national culture is also the fact that the fresco-adhesive paintings of the beginning of the eighteenth century are preserved here, analogues to be found only in the two architectural monuments of Kyiv: the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and the St. Sophia Cathedral, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Old Academic Building has been used as a symbol of Ukrainian education and science, in particular in the logos of the Ukrainian Scientific Institute of Harvard University since 1970 and the Institute of Ukrainian Archeography and Source Studies of the NAS of Ukraine since 1991.
In 1992, UkrPoshta released a postage stamp dedicated to the revival of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy with an image of the building. In 2006, the National Bank of Ukraine put into circulation a banknote of UAH 500, on the reverse of which the image of the Old Academic Building is placed.
Memorial plates for the founders and graduates of the Academy – Halshka Hulevychivna, Petro Mohyla, Hryhoriy Skovoroda, Artem Vedel, Mikhail Lomonosov – are placed on the building.