Vinnitsa is a city and administrative center of Vinnitsa oblast of west-central Ukraine. It lies along the Yuzhny (Southern) Bug River. Short and mild winters and long hot summers are typical for the city. Average temperature in January is 5,8 degrees C below zero, in July - 20,3 degrees C above zero.
The name of the city derives from the old Slavic word “vno” which means “gift”. There are some more versions explaining the name of the town: “vinitsa” – a brewery and Vinichka – a river. These lands were inhabited in ancient time. Settlements of Scythian and ancient Russian epochs are found on the territory of the city.
Vinnitsa population is about 371,000 (2012).
The phone code is +380 432; the postal code is 21000.
In the 9th century, the Ulich and Tivert tribes settled there, they were a part of the Kievan Rus. Later this area was passed to Galitsky-Volynsky principality. The Golden Horde ruled there over 100 years.
After victory of the Lithuanian prince Olgerd’s army in 1362 over Tatars, the area was ruled by Lithuanian principality. Prince Olgerd’s nephews Fyodor and Konstantin Koryatovich constructed towns-fortresses in these lands. They constructed a fortress on the bank of the river Bug which was called “Old Vinnitsa”. The first record of Vinnitsa refers to 1396. In 1431, the castle was burnt by Tatars.
In 1558, a new castle was built. The citizens had to repel Tatars’ attacks which happened every year. In 1569, the town became a part of Poland. In the early 17th century, fortifications and a church complex “Mury” were constructed. In 1649, Vinitsa was included into Ukraine. In 1667, Vinitsa again became a part of Poland.
After Poland was divided for the second time (1793) all these territories were passed to Russia and formed Podolskaya gubernia. In 1860, the population of Vinnitsa was about 10,000. In 1870, a railway Kiev-Balta-Odessa was constructed near the town and it promoted development of Vinnitsa, connection with Kiev, Odessa, Moscow, St.Petersburg improved greatly.
Vinnitsa became 3 times larger for the last 40 years of the 19th century, it took the first place in commodity circulation in Podolskaya gubernia. Since 1914, Vinnitsa is the administrative center of Podolskaya gubernia. During the Civil War, power in the town changed a lot of times. Since 1932, the town is the center of Vinnitsa oblast.
On July 19th, 1941, German army occupied Vinnitsa. On March 20th, 1944, it was set free. During the war the population of the city decreased to 27,000. By the end of 1948, almost all the industry in Vinnitsa was restored, later other industries were developed: food, light, chemical, machine-building and metal-working.
Present Vinnitsa, as the center of a major agricultural region, produces fertilizers and has food-processing industries in addition to electronics, agricultural equipment, light engineering, clothing and footwear industries.
Vinnitsa has teacher-training and medical institutes, several theaters and a philharmonic society.
Museum-Estate of Pirogov. National Museum-Estate of N. Pirogov is located in a picturesque park on the shore of the lake (south-western outskirts of the city). Prominent surgeon bought the estate in 1859. He lived and worked there until his death in 1881.
Museum and memorial cabinet of the father of military field surgery are open in the manor house. You can also see a pharmacy-museum with the interiors of reception and operating rooms. Church-mausoleum with the embalmed body of Pirogov is located nearby. Address: Vinnitsa, Pirogov Str., 155. Opening hours: 10:00-17:00, day off - Monday.
Local History Museum. Vinnitsa Regional Museum is housed in the former Jesuit monastery - part of the historical-architectural complex “Mura.” The collection consists of 200 thousand exhibits. You can see unique exhibits related to the Scythian and Sarmatian periods, large numismatic and ethnographic collections. The museum also has a skeleton of a mammoth found in the region. Address: Vinnitsa, Sobornaya Str., 19. Opening hours: 10:00-18:00, day off - Monday.
Museum of Kotsubynsky. Literary-Memorial Museum of M. Kotsyubinsky is open in the house where the writer was born and lived until 33 years. In 1926, at the initiative of the writer’s brother, restoration was carried out and museum was opened. Exhibits consistently reveal the writer’s career and his public activities. Address: Vinnitsa, I. Bevza Str., 15. Opening hours: 10:00-17.00, day off - Wednesday.
Light and music fountain. It is one of the biggest light and music fountains in Europe. The fountain was opened in 2011 on the waterfront opposite the island of Kemp (Festival), next to the “Roshen” factory. Water and light music show takes place every evening. Address: Vinnitsa, Roshen Embankment. Opening hours: 12:00-22:00.
Water Tower. The original brick tower with clock, standing in the pedestrian area, is considered to be the hallmark of Vinnitsa. The tower was built as a basis for urban water supply (mistakenly thought to be fire-tower). Since 1993, the tower houses a museum of the memory of soldiers killed during combat operations in Afghanistan in 1979-1989. Address: Vinnitsa, Kozitsky Str., 20. Opening hours: 10:00-17:30, day off - Monday.
Church of the Virgin Mary. The church was built in an unusual style of Tuscan Baroque. The church was closed by Soviet authorities, first in 1931, and then, after a revival during the Second World War, it was closed again in 1961. Today the church belongs to the Catholic community of the city. Address: Vinnitsa, Sobornaya Str., 12.
Cathedral of the Transfiguration. The cathedral was built in the 18th century. In 1832, it was transferred to the Orthodox clergy and consecrated as an Orthodox church. Prior to 1991, the building was used as a hall of organ music. Today it belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate. Address: Vinnitsa, Sobornaya Str., 21.
St Nicholas Church. The wooden church of St. Nicholas with a bell tower standing on the impressive stone foundation is one of the best examples of Podolia wooden folk architecture school. In Soviet times, the building housed a museum. In 1970 the church was restored. Address: Vinnitsa, Mayakovsky Str., 6.
Other places of interest of Vinnitsa:
- The Arch in Gorky park is another symbol of the city;
- Estate-palace of the Grokholskys, 18th century (Michurin Str., 32);
- Hotel “Savoy” building, 1912 (Kozitsky Str., 36);
- Gymnasium for girls, 1910, now school #2;
- Professional school, 1890, now the building of University of trade and economics (Sobornaya Str., 87);
- Jerusalemka - the old Jewish quarter not far from the current center of the city;
- Ruins of “Werwolf” - Hitler’s headquarters (8 km from the city near Strizhavka village).