Chernivtsi city, Ukraine

The capital city of Chernovtsy oblast.

Chernivtsi overview

Chernivtsi (Chernovtsy in Russian) is a city located in the south-west of Ukraine, 40 km north of the Romanian border, on the right bank of the Prut River, the administrative center of the Chernivtsi region.

The city is the historical center of Bukovina and along with Lviv it is considered the cultural center of Western Ukraine.

The population of Chernivtsi is about 265,000 (2016), the area - 153 sq. km.

The phone code - +380 372, the postal code - 58000.

Chernivtsi city flag

Chernivtsi city flag

Chernivtsi city coat of arms

Chernivtsi city coat of arms

Chernivtsi city map location


Chernivtsi history

The first settlements in the territory of Chernivtsi appeared in the Neolithic period. In the vicinity of the city, Slavic monuments of the 2nd-5th centuries AD were found. In the 12th century, the Galician prince Yaroslav Osmomysl founded a fortified settlement on the left bank of the Prut River.

The fortress with the trade and craft settlement was called Chern or Chorny town, probably because of its black wooden walls. In 1259, it was destroyed at the request of the Mongol general Boroldai.

Due to frequent floods on the low left bank of the Prut, a new town was built on the high right bank of the river. In the middle of the 14th century, after the collapse of the Galicia-Volyn principality, Chernivtsi belonged to Hungary, Poland, until they became part of the Moldavian principality in 1359.

The earliest written mention of Chernivtsi was found in the charter on trade privileges, which the Moldavian ruler Alexander Dobry gave to Lviv merchants on October 8, 1408. Chernivtsi was also mentioned in the chronicle “The list of distant and near Russian towns”, which some historians refer to the period between 1387 and 1406.

More historical facts…

The town was located at the intersection of trade routes from north-western Europe to the Balkans and Turkey. In the 15th-16th centuries, Chernivtsi was destroyed several times and fell into decay. In the middle of the 16th century, the Moldavian principality became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire.

Chernivtsi was devastated during the wars of Moldavia against Poland (1497, 1509, 1688), the Turks (1476, 1714) and the Tatars (1626, 1646-1650, 1672). The Cossacks led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky stayed in Chernivtsi in 1650 and 1653. After the defeat of the Swedish army of Charles XII near Poltava, in the winter of 1709-1710, the Russian troops, in pursuit of the Swedish army, occupied Chernivtsi for the first time.

Later, the Russian troops again stayed in Chernivtsi during the Russian-Turkish war of 1735-1739. In 1762, there were about 200 wooden houses and 1,200 inhabitants in the town. As a result of the next Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774, Chernivtsi were again occupied by the Russian troops.

In 1775, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresia, taking advantage of the defeat of the Turks in the Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774, annexed Bukovina together with Chernivtsi in the Habsburg empire. From the very beginning of the Austrian rule, Chernivtsi became the center of all Bukovina.

The transition from the Turkish-Balkan to the West European sphere of influence had a positive impact on population growth. In 1779, there were 3,200 residents in Chernivtsi, and this number grew because of the influx of Germans (employees, teachers, merchants), as well as Ukrainians and Poles from Galicia, Jews, Romanians and Ukrainians from Bukovina. In 1816, the population of Chernivtsi was 5,416 people, in 1880 - 45,600, in 1890 - 54,171. The revolution in the Austrian Empire of 1848-1849 led to the autonomy of the province and the town and to the aggravation of political rivalry between the Ukrainian and Romanian population of Bukovina.

In the middle of the 19th century, the revival of the economic development of Chernivtsi began. The construction of the railway Chernivtsi - Lviv (1866) also contributed to the development of the town. In 1895, a power station was built; in 1897, an electric tram was put into operation; in 1895-1912, a water and sewage system was constructed.

New significant buildings were built: the cathedral (1844-1864), the residence of the Bukovinian metropolitan (1864-1882), the Armenian church (1869-1875), the Jesuit church (1893-1894), the Jewish reformist synagogue (1873-1877), the town theater (1904-1905), the railway station (1906-1909). Chernivtsi gained a European look and was often called “small Vienna”, although only the central part of the town had such appearance. In 1875, the Chernivtsi University was founded.

The government of Austria-Hungary was concerned about the growth of the power of the Russian Empire and took steps to improve the reliability of the local population, which implied the eradication of Russian culture. May 8, 1910, the Bukovinian governor closed all Russian societies and organizations.

In the last third of the 19th century, Jews accounted for about one third of the town’s population. Anti-Jewish restrictions were abolished, the Austrian authorities were interested in the influx of Jewish population into Chernivtsi, believing that the Jews who spoke Yiddish would be the conductors of German culture. Jews played an important role in the economic life of the town, founded industrial enterprises and banks, sponsored cultural events. In 1908, the first international conference on the Yiddish language was held in Chernivtsi.

During the First World War, the Russian troops occupied Chernivtsi three times. October 25, 1918, the “Ukrainian Regional Committee of Bukovina” was created. November 3, 1918, a people’s council was held, at which the need to join one country or another was discussed (the choice between Romania and the Ukrainian People’s Republic).

November 6, 1918, Ukrainians took power in Chernivtsi, but, on November 11, after signing a truce between Germany and the Entente countries, Chernivtsi was occupied by the Romanian troops. November 28, 1918, the Romanian General Congress of Bukovina proclaimed the reunification of the entire territory of Bukovina as part of Romania.

Under the Romanian authorities, Chernivtsi remained the administrative center of Bukovina. The town continued to be the center of Ukrainian life in Bukovina. At the end of the Romanian period, Chernivtsi became a major economic center. In 1936, there were 155 large and 61 small enterprises here. In the interwar period, a lot of residential and public buildings were built.

In 1940, Bukovina was divided into the Northern, which became part of the USSR, and the Southern, which remained under control of Romania. Chernivtsi was occupied by the Red Army and became part of the Ukrainian SSR. July 5, 1941, the city was occupied by the Romanian troops who fought on the side of Germany and again became part of Romania.

During the occupation, a Jewish ghetto was established in the city. Mass shootings of Jews and opponents of the occupation regime were carried out on the banks of the Prut River. Thanks to the efforts of the mayor of Chernivtsi Traian Popovich, over 20,000 Chernivtsi Jews were able to avoid deportation and murder. March 29, 1944, Chernivtsi almost without a fight was again occupied by the Red Army.

After joining the USSR, a course to industrialize the region was taken, machine-building and chemical enterprises were established. A network of large instrument-making plants was created, mainly of defensive purposes. The population of Chernivtsi increased significantly, the city became a major railway junction.

Thanks to the fact that Chernivtsi grew at the expense of new districts, the old part of the city was not affected by new buildings and therefore preserved its untouched beauty and integrity. Since Ukraine had become independent in 1991, Chernivtsi was repeatedly recognized as the most comfortable city for living in the country.

Chernivtsi streets

Chernivtsi city street

Chernivtsi city street

Author: Tommy Henrich

Chernivtsi architecture

Chernivtsi architecture

Author: Vladimir Zenko

Chernivtsi architecture

Chernivtsi architecture

Author: Dmitriy Bukhanko


Chernivtsi features

Chernivtsi is located in the foothills of the Carpathians, on the border between the Carpathians and the East European Plain, 523 km south-west of Kyiv by roads. The city stands on the terraces of the valley of the Prut River, at an altitude of 100-250 meters above sea level.

The climate in Chernivtsi is moderately continental with mild winters and warm summers. The average temperature in January is minus 2.9 degrees Celsius, in July - plus 19.8 degrees Celsius.

The famous Ukrainian writer and essayist Ivan Franko graduated the local university in 1891. It is Chernivtsi where the Soviet singers D. Gnatyuk and S. Rotaru started their careers.

Throughout the centuries, Chernivtsi was formed as a city with a unique variegated architecture, rich cultural heritage and a tolerant atmosphere. Tours of the old town of the Austrian period provide an opportunity to get acquainted with the architectural ensemble of the 19th - early 20th centuries. In total, in the historical part of the capital of Bukovina, there are more than 600 monuments of architecture, 25 of which are of national importance.

The architectural jewel of Chernivtsi is the ensemble of the former Residence of Metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia, which, on June 28, 2011, was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

From Chernivtsi you can go on interesting country excursions. Not far from the city there are two of the seven wonders of Ukraine: Khotyn (70 km) and Kamianets-Podilskyi (100 km) fortresses, as well as the town of Yaremche (130 km) - the pearl of the Ukrainian Carpathian.

In Chernivtsi, there are railway and bus stations, the local airport offers flights to Kyiv. Trolleybuses are the main public transport. There are about 20 hotels. Almost all hotels provide catering services in their own restaurants, car parking, etc. In the city there are over 300 restaurants, bars, cafes, and pizzerias.

The City Day of Chernivtsi is celebrated on the first Saturday of October.

Chernivtsi places of interest

Churches

St. Nicholas Church (1607). This wooden church is the oldest building in the city built in the typical Bukovina (so-called khatna) style. 1-y Sahaidachnoho Lane, 2.

Armenian Church (1869-1875). The church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was built for the Armenian community of Chernivtsi. The architecture of the Armenian church combines features of Romanesque, Byzantine and Gothic styles. Since 1992, an acoustic hall of the church has been used for concerts of classical and chamber music. The organ of the church was made by the Czech firm “Rieger-Kloss”. Ukrains’ka St, 28.

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1844-1864). The cathedral was built on the model of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg (Russia) in the neo-Renaissance style. Holovna St, 85.

St. Nicholas Cathedral (“Drunken Church”) (1914-1939). The church was built on the model of the Assumption Cathedral in the Romanian city of Courta de Arges. Because of its original twisted domes, the church is also called “drunken church”. Ruska Street, 35. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00.

Reverend Basilica of the Exaltation of the Cross (1787-1814). The Roman-Catholic Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was built by the personal order of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II. In Soviet times, it was one of the few active Catholic churches on the territory of the USSR, thanks to which the interiors were completely preserved. Holovna St, 20.

Church of St. Paraskeva (1844-1862). The first Orthodox stone church in Chernivtsi. Zan’kovets’koi Street, 24.

Church of the Assumption Heart of Jesus (1891-1894). This church is a great example of Bukovynian neo-Gothic. Bakhrushyna Street, 2.

Chernivtsi pictures

Busy street in Chernivtsi

Busy street in Chernivtsi

Author: Alex Sniga

On the central square in Chernivtsi

On the central square in Chernivtsi

Author: Vladimir Zenko

Chernivtsi Railway Station

Chernivtsi Railway Station

Author: Viktor Matveyshyn


Museums

Chernivtsi Regional Museum of Local Lore. The museum occupies a two-story building on a pedestrian street (Kobylyans’koi Street) near the cathedral. The exposition includes rare examples of Slavic literature, a numismatic collection, an exhibition of arms of the 18th-19th centuries, icons of the 16th-18th centuries, paintings made by Bukovinian artists. Kobylyans’koi Street, 28. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00. Day off: Wednesday.

Museum of Folk Architecture. One of the few museums of folk architecture and life in Ukraine. On the territory of the museum there are two exposition zones with wooden houses and farm buildings. In the reconstructed interiors you can see household items, tools, national clothes, etc. Svitlovods’ka Street, 2. Opening hours: 10:00-17:00 (16:00 - in winter). Day off: Monday.

Museum of Art. The museum exhibits rare paintings made by Bukovinian artists from the Turkish times to our days (the 18th-20th centuries). On the ground floor you can find a souvenir shop and a literary cafe. Tsentral’na Square, 10. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00. Day off: Monday.

Architectural monuments

Residence of Metropolitans (University) (1864-1882). The ensemble of the former residence of the Orthodox metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia is the main architectural attraction of Chernivtsi. This complex of buildings was built in the style of eclecticism with the predominance of elements of Byzantine and Romanesque styles. Today, it houses Chernivtsi National University. Kotsyubyns’koho Street, 2. Opening hours: 09:00-17:00.

Hotel Bristol (1905-1906). Built in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this hotel became one of the most chic places in the city. It is a four-story building in the style of secession with a stylized tower, the architectural dominant of Teatral’na Square.

House-Ship. The building in its shape resembles a ship. The narrowing facade resembles the nose of the ship, the open area on the second floor is a deck, the tower above the roof is a mast or a pipe. According to the legend, the house was built by a local businessman for his brother, a sailor, who was called to return home after many years of wandering in the distant seas. Holovna Street, 25.

Chernivtsi Town Hall (1847). Every day a trumpeter in the Bukovina folk costume climbs to the top of the 50-meter clock tower and, at exactly 12:00 local time, the melody from the song “Marichka”, a musical symbol of Bukovina, is performed from the balcony. By prior agreement with the Tourist Information Center of Chernivtsi, you can climb to the observation deck, which offers a wonderful panorama of the city and its surroundings (groups of up to 5 people). Tsentral’na Square, 1.

Chernivtsi Railway Station (1909). It is an impressive building constructed in the Art Nouveau style. The main element of the decor is a portal with a stained-glass window made of steel, symbolizing the gates of the city. Haharina Street.

Ukrainian People’s House (1899). This building has been serving as a hotbed of national culture for more than a century. The Ukrainian community in Chernivtsi has always been one of the largest. At the end of the 19th century, it was the second largest after the Jewish community. Ukrains’ka St, 31.

Chernivtsi places of interest

Chernivtsi National University

Chernivtsi National University

Author: Volodymyr Ivanov

Armenian Church in Chernivtsi

Armenian Church in Chernivtsi

Author: Alex Sniga

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Chernivtsi

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Chernivtsi

Author: Alex Sniga


Other sights

Chernivtsi University Botanical Garden. One of the oldest botanical gardens in Ukraine (1877). The collection of the garden has more than 920 plants from several continents. Fed’kovycha Street, 11. Opening hours: 8:30-17:00. Days off: Saturday, Sunday.

Chernivtsi Music and Drama Theater. The beautiful building of the theater was constructed in 1905. The facade is decorated with sculptural compositions based on ancient Greek mythology, in the side niches you can see marble busts of outstanding figures of world and Ukrainian culture. At the top there is a statue of Melpomene. The interiors are made in the neo-baroque style Teatral’na Square, 1.

Puppet Theater (Colonel’s House). One of the first stone residential buildings in Chernivtsi (1782). At the end of the 19th century, it housed the officers’ casino. Today, it is Chernivtsi Regional Puppet Theater. Holovna Street, 22.

Chernivtsi Regional Philharmonic Society. The Society for the Development of Musical Culture in Bukovina was established in 1862, and, 15 years later, a building with a concert hall was specially built for it. In 1940, the Chernivtsi Regional Philharmonic Society was founded in this building. Chaikovs’koho Street, 10,

Tsentral’na Square. This square has been the heart of Chernivtsi for almost two centuries. The idea of creating the square belonged to the Austrian Emperor Joseph II. In 1786, during a visit to Chernivtsi, he proposed the creation of a spacious square on the southern outskirts of the town, at the place where the market was located.

Turkish Square. This cozy square is a historical area and a relatively new attraction of Chernivtsi. In the 17th century, the Turkish community was living in this district. The square is especially beautiful in the evening illumination.

Landscape Reserve Tsetsyno. Tsetsyno Mountain located on the western outskirts of Chernivtsi is the highest point of the Chernivtsi Upland (378 m). In the Middle Ages, the Moldavian fortress of Tsetsyno stood at the top of the mountain. Today, this territory is a landscape park with oaks, holly maples, sycamores, hornbeams and other rare plants, as well as animals: roe deer, wild boars, foxes, martens, squirrels, caresses, ermines.

Best hotels in Chernivtsi

Hotel “Andinna”. It is a new modern hotel located not far from the center of Chernivtsi. There is a SPA-center with Turkish and Finnish sauna, pool, gym, and massage room. 14 comfortable rooms with all the amenities, Wi-Fi, fridge, air conditioning. The cafe of the hotel features dishes of Ukrainian and European cuisine. Lybavska Street, 22A. Contact phone: +380 372 52 56 28.

Hotel “Georg Palace”. This hotel, opened in 2010, is located in the central area of the city near Chernivtsi University. Smoking is prohibited in the hotel, there are special places for smokers. 30 comfortable spacious rooms with all the amenities, Wi-Fi, excursions, restaurant (European and Bukovina cuisine). Ivana Bohuna Street, 24. Contact phone: + 380 372 57 61 16.

More Hotels…

Hotel “Magnat Lux” - a modern two-storey hotel located in close proximity to most of the city’s historical sights. 11 comfortable rooms with all the amenities, bar. Andriya Sheptyts’koho Street, 6. Contact phone: +380 372 58 32 12.

Mini-Hotel “Knaus”. Private apartments located in a cozy courtyard in the center of Chernivtsi. 3 comfortable apartments. The restaurant “Knaus” in the Bavarian style - traditional German cuisine, a great selection of beer. Holovna Street, 26. Contact phones: +380 372 51 02 55, +380 372 57 58 51.

Hotel “Bukovyna”. It is a large modern building located in the center of Chernivtsi near the botanical garden and the stadium. SPA-center with Finnish steam room and Turkish bath, pool, jacuzzi, gym. 150 rooms of different categories, Wi-Fi, restaurant, bar. Holovna Street, 141. Contact phone: +380 372 58 56 25.

Hotel “Premium”. This new modern hotel is located in the central part of Chernivtsi. 30 rooms of three categories with Wi-Fi, air conditioning. There is a restaurant featuring dishes of European, Eastern and Ukrainian cuisine. Holovna Street, 124B. Contact phone: +380 372 52 88 99.

Chernivtsi city, Ukraine photos

Chernivtsi churches

Church of St. Paraskeva in Chernivtsi

Church of St. Paraskeva in Chernivtsi

Author: Volodymyr Ivanov

St. Nicholas Cathedral ('Drunken Church') in Chernivtsi

St. Nicholas Cathedral ('Drunken Church') in Chernivtsi

Author: Dmitriy Bukhanko


Walk the streets of Chernivtsi yourself - Cathedral of the Holy Spirit


The questions of our visitors

Aizic asks: How do I travel by train from Vienna, Austria to Chernivtsy, Ukraine. How many kilometers is it? How many hours traveling time? What is the price of a ticket?
Expert's answer:
There is no direct train from Vienna to Chernivtsy. The first train will take you from Vienna to Lvov city of Ukraine (departure from Vienna at 12:28, arrival to Lvov at 10:31; the train is regular and runs every 3rd, 6th days of the week). From Lvov you should take a train to Chernivtsy (daily train, departure at 21:30, arrival at 8:43). I am not sure about the latest costs of the tickets, all I can say is that the most expensive part of the trip will be the ticket from Vienna to Lvov (I think you can get the price at Vienna railway station). The total distance is about 1,100 km one way.

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