Chernivtsi city, Ukraine

The capital city of Chernovtsy oblast.

Chernivtsi - Overview

Chernivtsi is one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine. It is located in the southwest of the country, about 40 km north of the border with Romania. The capital of Chernivtsi Oblast, it is also the center of the historical region of Bukovina and is known for its architectural ensembles.

The population of Chernivtsi is about 265,000 (2020), 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


History of Chernivtsi

Foundation of Chernivtsi

There were settlements on the territory of Chernivtsi already in the Neolithic period (about 7 thousand years ago). Slavic monuments of the 2nd-5th centuries were discovered in the vicinity of Chernivtsi.

In the 12th century, the Galician prince Yaroslav Osmomysl presumably founded a fortified settlement on the left bank of the Prut River, on the territory of today’s Chernivtsi. This fortress with a trade and craft settlement was called Chern or Chorny town (literally “black town”), apparently because of its dark wooden walls.

In 1259, the fortress was destroyed on demand of the Mongolian general Boroldai. The remaining defensive ramparts continued to be used for defense. In the 17th century, several bastions were added to them, one of which still exists.

Due to frequent floods on the low left bank of the Prut River, a new town was built on the high right bank. In the middle of the 14th century, after the collapse of the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia, Chernivtsi was incorporated in Poland. In 1359, it became part of the Principality of Moldavia, a Polish fief.

More historical facts…

Chernivtsi in the 15th-18th centuries

The earliest written mention of Chernivtsi is recorded in a charter of trade privileges, which the Moldovan lord Alexander I (1375-1432) issued to Lviv merchants on October 8, 1408. That’s why the first Saturday in October is celebrated as the Chernivtsi City Day. The town was located at the crossroads from northwestern Europe to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire. In 1457, Chernivtsi became the center for holding fairs and the administrative center for the entire region.

However, 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. In the winter of 1709-1710, after the defeat of the Swedish army of Charles XII near Poltava, in pursuit of the Swedish army and parts of Mazepa’s Cossacks who joined the Swedes, Russian troops entered Chernivtsi for the first time.

Later, the Russians again entered it during the Russian-Turkish war of 1735-1739. In 1762, the town had about 200 wooden houses and 1,200 residents. As a result of the Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774, Chernivtsi was again occupied by Russian troops. In 1775, Maria Theresa, the ruler of the Habsburg dominions, taking advantage of the defeat of the Turks in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774, annexed Bukovina together with Chernivtsi in the Habsburg Monarchy. Chernivtsi became the military and administrative center of Bukovina.

The transition from the Turkish-Balkan to the Western European sphere of influence had a positive effect on population growth. In 1779, Chernivtsi had about 3,200 residents. The population grew due to the influx of Germans (employees, teachers, merchants), as well as Ukrainians and Poles from Galicia, Jews, Romanians and Ukrainians from Bukovina.

Chernivtsi in the 19th - early 20th centuries

In the 19th century, the growth of Chernivtsi was rapid. In 1816, its population was 5,416 people, in 1880 - 45,600, in 1890 - 54,171. The construction of the Chernivtsi - Lviv railway (1866) contributed to the development of the city. In 1875, the Chernivtsi University was established. In 1895, a power plant was built, in 1897, an electric tram was put into operation, in 1895-1912 - water supply and sewerage.

At this time, a large number of architectural monuments of today’s Chernivtsi were built: the City Hall (1848), the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1844-1864), the Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Orthodox Metropolitans (1864-1882), the Armenian church (1869-1875), the Jesuit church (1893-1894), the drama theater (1904-1905), the railway station (1906-1909), and others.

Chernivtsi began to resemble Western European cities and even received the nickname “little Vienna”, although only the central part of the city looked like this. In 1912, the population of Chernivtsi was about 87 thousand people. Until 1918, the city was officially called Czernowitz.

During the First World War, Chernivtsi was occupied by Russian troops three times. On November 3, 1918, in connection with the beginning of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, thousands of people gathered in Chernivtsi for a national assembly, at which a resolution was adopted on the entry of Northern Bukovina, inhabited mainly by Ukrainians, into the West Ukrainian People’s Republic, which was proclaimed in Lviv. On November 6, a representative of the Austro-Hungarian Empire handed over power to the Ukrainian Committee.

On November 11, 1918, after the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Entente countries, Chernivtsi was occupied by Romanian troops. On November 28, 1918, the Romanian General Congress of Bukovina proclaimed the reunification of the entire territory of Bukovina within Romania.

Under the Romanian rule, Chernivtsi remained the administrative center of Bukovina and the center of Ukrainian life in Bukovina. Chernivtsi became a major economic center. In 1936, more than 200 large and small enterprises worked here. In 1939, its population was about 110 thousand people.

During the interwar period, a lot of new residential and public buildings were built. There were changes in the architectural style of the city. Prior to this period, elements of classicism were a characteristic feature of the urban development of Chernivtsi. In the 1930s, it was replaced by constructivism.

Chernivtsi during and after the Second World War

In June 1940, according to the Nazi-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, after an ultimatum, Chernivtsi and all of Northern Bukovina were annexed from Romania by the Soviet Union and became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. On August 7, 1940, Chernivtsi Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR was formed. There were significant changes in the ethnic composition of the population. The Germans were resettled to Germany, some of the Romanians moved to Romania.

On July 5, 1941, after the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union, the city was occupied by the Romanian troops, who fought on the side of Germany, and administratively became part of Romania again. The Germans, with the help of the Romanian police, killed or deported most of the Jewish population. On March 29, 1944, Chernivtsi was captured by the Red Army practically without a fight. Architecturally, the city was almost not damaged during the war.

In the post-war years, the industrialization of Chernivtsi began; a machine-building plant, a fat-and-oil plant, a meat-packing plant, a sugar plant, and other enterprises of the machine-building, instrument-making, chemical, and food industries were opened in the city. The population more than doubled. Chernivtsi was a large railway junction and had an airport. In 1989, about 256 thousand people lived in this city.

However, the local flavor almost completely disappeared, and all new buildings were faceless examples of Soviet urban planning. Fortunately, the old part of Chernivtsi wasn’t touched and retained its beauty. From the moment Ukraine gained independence, the old spirit of a European city and the unique urban atmosphere of a multi-ethnic city began to be restored in Chernivtsi.

Architecture of Chernivtsi

Summer in Chernivtsi

Summer in Chernivtsi

Author: Tommy Henrich

Beautiful architecture of Chernivtsi

Beautiful architecture of Chernivtsi

Author: Vladimir Zenko

Picturesque old buildings in Chernivtsi

Picturesque old buildings in Chernivtsi

Author: Dmitriy Bukhanko


Chernivtsi - Features

Chernivtsi is located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, on the border between the Carpathians and the East European Plain, on the banks of the Prut River. The distance to Kyiv by road is about 530 km, to Lviv - 280 km. The City Day of Chernivtsi is celebrated on the first Saturday in October.

The climate in this city 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. Winter usually begins in late November and ends in early March; summer begins in late May and ends in early September.

Chernivtsi is considered a “green city”, a significant territory of which is occupied by parks and gardens, some of which are landmarks of landscape art. The city is actually located in the center of the Chernivtsi Regional Landscape Park.

According to the 2001 All-Ukrainian Population Census, the ethnic composition of the population of Chernivtsi was as follows: Ukrainians - 79.9%, Russians - 11.3%, Romanians - 4.5%, Moldovans - 1.6%, Poles - 0.6%, Belarusians - 0.4%.

The main industries in the city’s industry are food, light, mechanical engineering and woodworking. The most attractive for small businesses are trade and services, restaurants and tourism. There are railway and bus stations in Chernivtsi; the international airport “Chernivtsi” offers regular flights to Kyiv. Trolleybuses are the main public transport in the city.

Over the centuries, Chernivtsi has developed as a city with a unique architecture of different styles, rich cultural heritage and a tolerant atmosphere. A tour of the old town of the Austrian period will provide an opportunity to get acquainted with the architectural ensembles of the 19th - early 20th centuries.

Chernivtsi is one of the few cities in Ukraine, which is rightfully considered the pearl of architecture. In the historical part of the capital of Bukovina, there are 602 architectural monuments, 17 of which are of national importance.

The architectural gem of Chernivtsi is rightfully considered the ensemble of the former Residence of the Metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia. On June 28, 2011, it was included in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites. Today, it houses Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University. Opened back in 1875, it is one of the best universities in Ukraine.

Interesting out-of-town excursions can be carried out from Chernivtsi. Not very far from the city you can find such famous medieval fortresses of Ukraine as the Khotyn fortress (60 km) and the Kamenets-Podolsk fortress (90 km).

Chernivtsi is one of the most underestimated cities in Ukraine by tourists. Although in terms of architecture and a wide selection of interesting establishments, it is not inferior to the popular Lviv. There are about 20 hotels and over 300 restaurants, bars, cafes, and pizzerias in Chernivtsi.

Main Attractions of Chernivtsi

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans (1864-1882) - a unique architectural ensemble, which is the most picturesque landmark of Chernivtsi, an architectural monument of national importance resembling a medieval castle.

The architectural ensemble was designed by the renowned Czech scientist and architect Josef Hlavka in the spirit of eclecticism, with a predominance of elements of the Byzantine and Romanesque styles. Excursions are conducted in Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, German, English, and French. Kotsyubynskoho Street, 2. Here you can also find such interesting places as the Museum of Ethnography and Ancient History, the Chernivtsi Arboretum, and Yuriy Fedkovych Park, a park-monument of landscape art.

Tsentral’na (Central) Square - the heart of Chernivtsi, which owes its birth to Archduke of Austria Joseph II. In 1786, during a visit to Chernivtsi, he proposed to create a spacious square on the then southern outskirts of the town, where there would be a market. The square acquired a European look after the construction of the town hall here in the 1840s, which secured it the status of the center of Chernivtsi. You can find the Tourist Information Center of the Chernivtsi City Council here.

The Chernivtsi Town Hall was built in the style of late classicism with a tower about 50 meters high. Exactly at noon, from the balcony of the tower, a trumpet player dressed in a Bukovinian folk costume performs the melody of the song of the Ukrainian composer Stepan Sabadash “Marichka”, a musical symbol of Bukovina.

In 1900-1901, next to the town hall, an imposing three-storey building of the directorate of the Bukovina savings bank was erected, one of the most exquisite monuments of Art Nouveau in Central-Eastern Europe. Today, it houses the Chernivtsi Art Museum. In total, this museum has more than 12,000 exhibits. Most of them represent the art of Bukovina of the 17th-20th centuries, mainly works of folk and decorative-applied art (embroidery, weaving, in particular carpet weaving, artistic processing of wood, metal, leather, ceramics, painted Easter eggs).

Kobylyans’koi Street - the only pedestrian street in Chernivtsi. It starts from Tsentral’na Square and is built up with buildings constructed in various architectural styles. You can find a number of different shops, cafes, and restaurants here. The street is named after Olha Kobylianska, a Ukrainian modernist writer and feminist.

Chernivtsi Regional Local Lore Museum - the largest museum in Bukovina with almost 90 thousand exhibits including a numismatic collection, a collection of cold arms and firearms, archeological finds, a collection of Bukovinian icons of the 16th century, paintings, and much more. The museum occupies a two-story building on Kobylyans’koi Street near the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. Kobylyans’koi Street, 28.

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1844-1864) - one of the main Orthodox churches in Chernivtsi, built in the style of late classicism with elements of the Italian Renaissance. The dominant feature of the architectural composition of the cathedral is a monumental 46 m high dome. In addition to it, the church is crowned by two domes, as well as two bell towers. Holovna St, 85.

Pictures of Chernivtsi

In the central part of Chernivtsi

In the central part of Chernivtsi

Author: Alex Sniga

Tsentralna (Central) Square in Chernivtsi

Tsentralna (Central) Square in Chernivtsi

Author: Vladimir Zenko

Chernivtsi Railway Station

Chernivtsi Railway Station

Author: Viktor Matveyshyn


Armenian Church (1869-1875). The church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was built for the Armenian community of Chernivtsi. Located near the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, this architectural masterpiece combines the traditions of the Armenian people with the Gothic, Byzantine, Romanesque styles. The church has incredible acoustics, so from the very beginning it was used as a concert hall, where concerts of church singing were held. Today, it houses a hall for organ and chamber music, where you can enjoy classical music. Ukrains’ka Street, 28.

Teatral’na (Theatrical) Square - one of the favorite places for recreation of residents and guests of Chernivtsi, which is known for its green spaces and harmoniously designed architectural ensemble of buildings around. The transformation of this part of Chernivtsi into a stylish European square was due to the construction of a new city theater in 1904-1905. It was designed by the famous architecture studio “Fellner and Helmer”, which also designed the buildings of the Vienna and Odesa Operas.

Catholic Church of the Assumption Heart of Jesus (1891-1894) - one of the most original architectural monuments in Chernivtsi built in the style of Bukovynian neo-Gothic. Shevchenka Street, 2A.

Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (1914-1939). This cathedral was built in Chernivtsi in the Romanian period of its history. The connection with Romanian religious architecture is indicated by the original “twisted” domes of the church. It was constructed on the model of one of the masterpieces of Romanian medieval architecture - the Orthodox Assumption Cathedral of the Bishops in the Romanian town of Curtea de Arges (the final resting place of the Romanian kings). Ruska Street, 35.

Park of Culture and Rest named after Taras Shevchenko. This park, laid out in 1830, was originally called “Volksgarten”, which means “People’s Garden” in German. Previously, there was a forest in this place, so it was decided to simply replace some of the wild-growing plants with decorative ones.

In total, 35 thousand trees and shrubs were brought here from other parts of Europe. The total area of the park is about 17 hectares with paths for cyclists, a pond, various attractions, and the Summer Theater. Here you can also find the Chernivtsi University Botanical Garden - one of the oldest botanical gardens in Ukraine (1877). Sadova Street, 1A.

Museum of Folk Architecture - an architectural and landscape complex in the open air, on the territory of which there are monuments of folk architecture and everyday life of the mid-19th and first half of the 20th centuries. This is a great place where you can see exhibits from the traditional culture of Ukrainians: various tools, embroidery, clothes, books, photos. Different events are often held here: handicraft shows, exhibitions, celebrations. Svitlovods’ka Street, 2.

Landscape Reserve Tsetsyno. Mount Tsetsyno is located on the western outskirts of the city. Although it is not too high, about 538 meters, it offers an excellent view of Chernivtsi. In the Middle Ages, the Moldavian fortress of Tsetsyno stood at the top of this mountain. Here you can also go skiing, horseback riding and quad biking, or just take a walk in the landscape reserve.

Chernivtsi city, Ukraine photos

Sights of Chernivtsi

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans (Chernivtsi National University)

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans (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


Churches in Chernivtsi

Church of St. Paraskeva in Chernivtsi

Church of St. Paraskeva in Chernivtsi

Author: Volodymyr Ivanov

Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Chernivtsi

Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Chernivtsi

Author: Dmitriy Bukhanko


The questions of our visitors

Margie asks: Do you know what time the train runs from Chernivtsi to Lviv on saturdays in May? Is there a bus service between Lviv and Chernivtsi? Thank you.
Expert's answer:
The timetable of trains for May is not available at the moment. As of April 2019, there are two trains going from Lviv to Chernivtsi on Saturday (departure at 03:37 pm and 08:25 pm). Most probably they will be the same in May. You should check the following timetable where you can also book tickets. There are regular buses of different companies running from Lviv to Chernivtsi (first, second). In general, going by train is better, a couple of hours faster and safer.
Margie asks: Would you recommend a few days in Chernivtsi for a solo traveller? Is the ride by train or by bus more scenic? Thanks.
Expert's answer:
Chernivtsi, as a city with a unique preserved architecture of different styles and rich cultural heritage, is definitely worth a visit. The former Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the main attractions of the city and Ukraine in general. There are regular trains running from Kyiv to Chernivtsi.
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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