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Chernivtsi (Чернівці), Ukraine

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Theater Square, Chernivtsi, UkraineTheater Square, Chernivtsi, Ukraine
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Chernivtsi (Ukrainian: Чернівці, German: Czernowitz, Polish: Czerniowce, Romanian: Cernăuţi, Russian: Черновцы, Yiddish: טשערנאוויץ) is a city in southwestern Ukraine. It covers 153 sq km (59.1 sq mi) and has a population of 250,000 people (2011 estimate). The city is 248 m (814 ft) above sea level.

Chernivtsi is located on the River Prut, which flows into the Danube. It is within the region of Bukovina, which today is divided between Ukraine and Romania. It is today one of the cultural centers of western Ukraine, along with Lviv. It also plays an important role as an educational center for the country.

Chernivtsi University Building, today a World Heritage SiteChernivtsi University Building, today a World Heritage Site
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The Chernivtsi area has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. Ancient cultures that appeared here included the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture and the Corded Ware culture. Their artifacts have been uncovered and studied by archaeologists.

Chernivtsi is believed to date back to a fortified settlement established in the 12th century, during the time of the Principality of Halych. The fortress may have been destroyed by the Mongols when they swept through Europe in 1259. Parts of it remained, and in the 17th century, were augmented with a few more bastions, one of which is still standing today.

Cathedral and Statue of Gakmanu, the Metropolitan of ChernivtsiCathedral and Statue of Gakmanu, the Metropolitan of Chernivtsi
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The earliest mention of Chernivtsi appeared in 1408, in a document by Alexander the Good. At that time, the city was an administrative center under the Principality of Moldavia. Then in 1775, Moldavia was annexed by the Austrian Empire, and Chernivtsi became the capital of the Bukovina region.

When Romania and Ukraine pushed for independence, the Bukovina region was torn between them. Chernivtsi became part of the Bukovina region in the Ukraine. It was occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War until 1944, when the Red Army ousted them from Chernivtsi, and added it to the Ukrainian SSR. In 1991, Chernivtsi became part of the independent Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Chernivtsi is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. It has well-preserved and restored historic buildings in a number of styles including Vienna Secession, Neo-Classical, Baroque and late-Gothic, as well as traditional Moldavian and Hungarian architectural styles.

Pedestrianized street in ChernivtsiPedestrianized street in Chernivtsi
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Visiting Chernivtsi

You can fly to Chernivtsi from Kiev, Athens, Istanbul and Naples. There are also trains to Chernivtsi from within Ukraine as well as from Romania.

Sights & Attractions in Chernivtsi

  1. Chernivtsi Drama Theater
    Historic building built in 1905
  2. Chernivtsi Synagogue
    Synagogue in the Moorish Revival style, badly damaged by fire during the Second World War in 1941 and since then restored.
  3. Chernivtsi University
    Formerly the residence of the Metropolitans of Bukovina, the building of the Chernivtsi University is today a World Heritage Site.
  4. Regional Museum of Fine Arts
    Museum exhibiting fine arts by Ukrainian artists. It is housed in the former savings bank builting completed in 1906.

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