About Chernivtsi


Chernivtsi is an outstanding city of Western Ukraine, political and economical centre of Northern Bukovyna. The city is also considered one of the greatest cultural and educational centres of Ukraine. Chernivtsi region borders on Ivano–Frankivsk, Ternopil, Khmelnytsky and Vinnytsa regions of Ukraine, Romania and the Republic of Moldova.  

Due to its geographical location and natural resources, the city was a constant attraction for foreigners — Tatars, Poles, Austrians, Hungarians, Russians, Jews, Germans etc. Contemporary German publicists George Heizen compares old Austrian Chernivtsi to a ship of delight with Ukrainian team, German officers and Jewish passengers aboard. A ship, holding permanent course between West and East under the Austrian banner. You can barely think of something more bizarre and undurable for the Central-Eastern Europe of the first half of the XX century than a company of a Ukrainian, a German and a Jew in a ship under the sail of tolerance!  But this was a reality of cohabitation in the old Chernivtsi and Bukovyna. Today population includes Ukrainians, Russians, Romanians, Moldavians, Jews, and Poles. A lot of students, who study at BSMU, represent different parts of the world and contribute to the cultural and every-day life of the city.

Local and visiting celebrities — classical poets, monarchs and stage stars — in a fit of admiration called it a "small Vienna", located halfway between Paris and Istanbul. That was a hint to a unique combination of European intellectuality and Eastern mysteriousness of the city.


More than 600 years of history have created a dynamic and business–like spirit which fills the city. Chernivtsi has unforgettable architecture, exquisite art; it combines the elements of the culture of various nationalities and is famous for the warm hospitality of its inhabitants.

A material incarnation of the idea of multiculturalism and a glaring mosaic of different religions is realized in the downtown architectural complex, which endured until today, where Orthodox and Greek-Catholic churches, Catholic kostels, Lutheran kirks, Jewish synagogues of different directions and Armenian temples could peacefully coexist. Each of these memorials is in itself a symbol of a dialogue and cooperation between cultures and people.

Chernivtsi of today is a place where the past meets the future. The major part of the University lies in the heart of the city: everything here is close at hand. The city’s old part is compact and charming. Visitors of the city stroll through beautiful parks, feel inspiring atmosphere and beauty of the former Bukovinian Archbishop's Residence, now — Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, relax in the hotels, visit the performances in the Drama Theatre, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Student cafes, nightlife, vibrant and intellectually stimulating atmosphere, rich culture and a big variety of leisure activities will make your staying here unforgettable. Chernivtsi is well known for its dynamic students’ life and traditional student societies organizing activities to any taste.

While living in Chernivtsi you will discover the spirit of ancient Bukovyna, legends of the Carpathian Mountains that are hidden in every corner of its ancient buildings. You will feel this atmosphere in the eyes of local citizens, who are devoted fans of their beloved city — the best one in the whole world.

Remarkable sights of Chernivtsi: 
1. City Hall (Ratusha) 

The City Hall is one of the most distinguished buildings in Chernivtsi crowning the main square of the city.                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The The decision to build a house for the local government was adopted in 1825, but the construction started only in 1843. The place for the new City Hall was selected in the Market square. As that area was very prestigious and, therefore, occupied by numerous private businesses, it was extremely hard to convince their owners to sell the developed land plots. The future construction plot cost the city 8000 florins — an enormous amount of money at the time.

On 19th April 1843 the first stone was put in the building foundation. The basis was made of natural stone brought from selected areas on the Prut and Dnister sides. The foundation has a special niche with a message to descendants written on parchment. Four years thereafter its opening ceremony became a great holiday to which guests from whole Europe were invited.

In 1880 the building was given No.1 which has remained until now. Immediately after the erection and before 1914 (when the city was occupied by Russian troops), the City Hall was decorated with a huge copper-old double-headed eagle, the symbol of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, the Russian troops removed the eagle and took it to Moscow.

On Chernivtsi City Hall two clocks are set — on the tower itself and over the central entrance.

50-meter City Hall tower has a very deep foundation — 6 meters. In the old times, city halls of European cities served as a fire alert. A firefighter was on duty on the City Hall tower. With the help of a red piece of cloth he showed the direction of the city, where there was a fire.

November 12, 2004 a new tradition was introduced in the city of Chernivtsi: at exactly 12 o'clock the trumpeter in the traditional hutsul folk costume ascends a spiral staircase to the tower and plays a snippet of the song's melody "Marichka".

Over the years of its history different flags floated over the tower, coats of arms on the facade have changed many times, in the conference room different languages ​​were spoken, and sentences to criminals were declared. But the primary purpose of this building as the residence of the municipal government responsible for the livelihoods of the city remained unchanged. Multiculture and multilingualism of Chernivtsi is known far outside Bukovyna.




2. Turkish Square or The Square of Turkish Well (Turetska ploshcha)                   

The main attraction of the square is the Turkish well (Turetska krynytsia, as people in Bukovyna call it), the steeple of which is decorated with the crescent. This well gave name to the whole square and even to the bridge across the Turkish Street. The stone masonry on the well indicates that it was dug during the supremacy of Ottoman Turks.

Beginning from the 16th century and during more than two and a half centuries Bukovyna was over the supremacy of the Ottoman Empire. Although our land was still a part of the Moldavian State, in fact Turks ruled it. Bukovyna was considered to be the northern province of the Ottoman Empire. The neighbourhood with Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian State led to constant wars at the border territories, and Bukovyna as a part of them. Particularly great military value had the Khotyn Fortress, situated not far from Chernivtsi. At that historical period Chernivtsi was a small town the architecture of which was not very impressive.

From the beginning of the 18th century the Turkish garrison was located on the territory of the city. Turks built a stone water tank nearby. The descendants of the nomads, janissaries, treated drinking water with special piety. People of our land used to build wooden wells. Turks were the first to build stone wells. In the beginning of the XIX century the Turkish bridge and bathhouse were built in this part of town. 

By the 600th anniversary of Chernivtsi the Turkish Square was reconstructed. The Turkish well was repaired and the water tank next to it was renovated. At the north side of the square the fountain resembling ancient Roman ruins was built. Moreover, a floral clock appeared on a steep slope. A large iron bicycle, “forgotten by Gulliver”, got its place in the middle of the square. Therefore, the Square has become one of the favourite places of local citizens.



3. Ukrainian Olha Kobulyanska Music and Drama Theater (Dramteatr)          

Chernivtsi Ukrainian Olha Kobylyanska Music and Drama Theater was built in 1904-1905 by Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer architect bureau. The firm specialized in theater construction and developed 48 theater buildings in Europe. In particular, it was the author of Vienna and Odessa opera theaters, due to which Chernivtsi theater looks quite similar to them.

The building has Vienna modernist features and is a pure baroque example. Initially the city coat of arms was placed above the pediment. The facade of the building is decorated in the style of Viennese baroque with wide usage of art nouveau details. The main entrance is decorated with statues and bas-reliefs that illustrate stories from Greek mythology. The interior of the theater is not inferior in any detail to the luxurious exterior of the building.

In 1909 a monument to the famous German playwright Friedrich Schiller was erected in front of the main entrance which was remaining at that place until 1921. On 1st September 1980 monument to Olha Kobylyanska, a famous Ukrainian writer born in Chernivtsi was erected there (sculptors A.Skyba, M.Miroshnychenko; architect O.Taratuta).

In 1977-1980 the theater was renovated and registered in the list of architecture monuments of Ukraine.

Over its short history the theater staged over 500 performances on the motifs of works by domestic and foreign authors. Among the most remarkable stagings that are still sold out for every performance "The House of Bernarda Alba" by F. Lorca, "West Side Story" by A. Laurents, "The Stolen Happiness" by I. Franko and many others are worth mentioning.



4. Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University

The unique ensemble now serving as the main building of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University is a masterpiece of Western Ukrainian architecture of the second half of the XIX century. The residence was built in 1864-1882 based on the design and under the guidance of Josef Hlávka (1831-1908), a famous Czech architect, scientist and academician.

Hlavka designed an alternative eclectic complex of buildings in which elements of Byzantium and Roman styles prevailed. The design took medal places several times, in particular at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. The ensemble composition is fairly complex but has a very accurate layout. The ensemble consists of three monumental buildings – the main building, the seminary joined with the Church of the Three Sanctifiers and the presbytery.

The main building (now the central University building No.5 in which the university administration and the foreign language department are placed) served as the metropolitan residence with spacious apartments where he worked and took rest and luxurious halls where he arranged audiences with distinguished guests and where eparchial sittings took place. In the corner of the left wing of the building there was the chapel of Ivan Suchavskiy, archbishop’s home church, from which the construction of the whole Residence started.

The Synod Hall impressing with its beauty and majesty is one of the nicest in Eupore. It was decorated with marble (hence comes its today’s name – the Marble Hall) and furnished with side column galleries supporting the wooden ceiling decorated with rich ornaments. In 1944 the Synod Hall was damaged by a fire which harmed not only the indoor scenes but also killed the synod library including early printed books and archives. Today’s appearance of the Marble Hall is just a copy, a fruit of renovator efforts.

Another room of the main building which retained its initial appearance is the meeting hall of the Holy Synod (today’s Red Hall). Its walls are decorated with Chinese red silk, the wooden ceiling has ornaments and the floor is covered with parquet made of European beech, oak and green lime tree. One of the Red Hall walls has giant Venetian mirrors. Made under an old technology, they have five layers of silver.

Today’s University building No.6 on the left from the Residence initially served as a shelter for two religious educational institutions. One of them was the seminary founded in Chernivtsi yet in 1828. Here it occupied the first floor of the building. Its ground floor, at the initiative of the metropolitan, served the needs of Greek Orthodox theological faculty of the newly established Chernivtsi University (founded in October 1875).

The U-shaped seminary building surrounds the Church of the Three Sanctifiers from three sides. Its first foundation stone was laid by the archbishop Eugene Hakman in April 1867. Due to the circumspect architectural structure the church has wonderful acoustic features. The décor of the church was made by several top-level professionals. The church ornament was painted by Karl Jobst, a painting professor from Vienna. The tempera paintings with Bible scenes were drawn by his hand.

In 1993 the Theology department was re-established as a part of the Philosophy and Theology Faculty of Chernivtsi University and the seminary church started its service again.

The building on the right from the central entrance (now University building No.4 allocating the Geography Faculty) was a shelter of the clerical school, religious museum and a candle factory. The roof of the presbytery, as well as of the whole Residence, is covered with ornamented tiles made in Bukovynian folk style. In the middle of the structure above its main entrance rest a clock turret the dome of which is decorated with Stars of David. They symbolize the gratitude to the city Jewish community for its financial help to the Bukovynian orthodox metropolis.


Building of the Oblast State Administration (Former Palace of Justice)

The building façade is decorated with coloured ceramic bricks made specifically for this palace and ceramic insertions. The main façade is crowned with the statues of Themis, the goddess of justice, and Nemesis, the goddess of retaliation. Two lions "guard” the main entrance against falsehood and trickery. This is one of the most beautiful and impressive buildings in the city.

6. Philharmonic Hall

In 1872 citizens of Chernivtsi established the Music Society and in April 1876 the first stone was put into the foundation of the future accommodation of the Society in Mehlplatz ("Flour square”, now Philharmonic sq.). In December 1877 the building was finished. Its walls and halls painted by Karl Jobst, a professor of history painting remember the most distinguished stars of the XIX century – Solomiya Krushelnytska, Enrico Caruso, Arthur Rubinstein. After more than a hundred of years these premises given to Chernivtsi Music Hall will give its name to the square where it stands.