History of Chernivtsy

Chernivtsy municipal arms Chernivtsy (up to 1944 Chernovitsi) is located on coast of the river Prut and is the regional centre, that bordered on Moldova and Romania, Ivano-Frankovsk, Ternopol, Khmelnitskiy regions of Ukraine.

Settlements in territory of Chernivtsy arose already in a neolith. In city suburbs archeologists have found out settlements of Tripolye cultures, bronze and iron centuries, and also slavic monuments of the beginning of our era (II-V centuries). In IX-XI centuries there were settlements of white Croat and Tivertsy tribes.

The basis in XII century of the strengthened settlement on the place of Chernivtsy, on the left coast of the Prut, historians connect with a name Galits prince Yaroslav Osmomysla. It was the fortress with trading-craft settlement and was called Chern (or the Black city), probably, because of black wooden walls. In 1259 on request of Tatar Burunday the fortress was destroyed.

Owing to frequent high waters on low left coast of the Prut, the new city was constructed on high right coast.
When the Galitsk-Volynsk princedom broke down in the middle of XIV century, Chernivtsy passed to Hungary to short time, and then to Poland. Since 1359 they were a part of the Moldavian princedom as a boundary city with Poland through which there passed a trading way from Lviv to Suceava. Moldavian head Alexander Dobruy in reading and writing which was given out to Lviv merchants on October 8, 1408, already named it Chernivtsy. And since then this date is marked as official day of the city. At that time it stood at a crossroads of roads from northwest Europe to the Balkans and to Turkey. Since 1457, the city became the centre of fairs holding and an administrative centre of all regions.

In days of Stephan the Great Chernivtsy already was a city. Therefore, they were called in the document of 1490. During the Moldavian period they received self-management on the basis of Magdebourg the rights and as «a free city» directly submitted to voivode. When Moldova.

When Moldova got in Turkish yoke and the sultan transformed the grasped country into the obedient vassal, the city head became that feudal lords, who brought to the sultan the greatest bribe. Because of it feudal lords were continuous conflicting, and even took part in real fights.

In 1509 the Polish hetman Kamyanetsky completely burnt Chernivtsy. In 1537 the city was ruined by armies of Polish king. During wars between Poland and Turkey (1595-1620) Chernivtsy repeatedly passed from hands to hands. In 1650 and 1653 Cossacks of Khmelnitsky visited Chernivtsy. The city was devastated during wars of Moldova with Poland (1497, 1509, 1688), Turks (1476 and 1714) and Tatars (1626, 1646, 1650, 1672).

In winter 1709-1710, after defeat of Swedish army of Charles XII near Poltava Russian armies occupied Chernivtsy for the first time, pursuing the Swedish army and parts of the Cossacks of Mazepa who adjoined Swedes. Again, in 1739 during Russian-Turkish war. After those huge devastations by 1762, there were hardly 200 wooden houses and 1200 inhabitants in Chernivtsy.

Till 1774 the city was under the power of the Moldavian princedom which was the vassal of Turkey and played a considerable role on important trading way from Europe and Byzantium. After the next Russian-Turkish war 1768-1774 Chernivtsy in third time were occupied by Russian armies, and then passed to the power of Austria. Austrian Empress Maria Tereziya, having used defeat of Turks in Russian-Turkish war (1768-1774), in 1775 included Bukovina together with Chernivtsy in Gabsburg Empire. The city became the centre of Bukovina: in the beginning of military authorities (1774-1786), and then in 1786-1849 the centre of civil management of Bukovinsky district which was a part of Galichina, in 1849 -an independent territory of Bukovina. In 1864 Chernivtsy found full local government.

Since 1775 the population of Chernivtsy constantly grew, getting more and more mixed national structure. Except Ukrainians and Romanian, Poles, Germans and Jews lodge there.

(Till 1918 German language on which Jews spoke, prevailed; together with Germans they made half of population of the city). When in 1778 duke Charles fon Entsenderg became the head of military authorities of Chernivtsy, the city started to blossom by efforts of handicraftsmen involved there, merchants, industrialists who promoted trade and manufacture development. During XIX century the Austrian administration of a city promoted education development: by 1869, 6 schools worked already, grammar schools, teacher's seminary, specialised schools were created. In 1875 the university with three faculties was founded. At schools the training were in German, but gradually there were national schools with the Ukrainian language of training.

On the boundary of XIX - XX centuries on Bukovina talented writers, artists, musicians (M.Ivasyuk, R.Kayndl, E.Maksimovich, O.Kobylyanskaya, J.Fedkovich, etc.) created. Chernivtsy became the cultural centre, which was well-known in Europe. From the middle of XIX to the beginning of XX century the set of architectural monuments were constructed: a town hall (1848), post office (1855), Armenian church (1875), Jewish synagogue (1877), Drama theatre (1905), Court (1906), premise of railway station (1908).

The city economy developed steadily: in 1866 the railway Chernivtsy-Lvivs was under construction, brewery, a steam mill, distillery, furniture factory, Chamber of commerce, trading stock exchange, power station, a tram, plumbing and sanitary were created. In 1895 in Chernivtsy there were over 2500 workers, and in 1910 there were 2140 handicraftsmen and 1400 dealers in the city.

Till 1914 Chernivtsy was the important Ukrainian publishing centre. There from the middle of XIX century some publishing houses worked, there was variety of daily and monthlies magazines and newspapers, Ukrainian textbooks, dictionaries etc. were printed.

After signing in November 1918 of an armistice between Germany and countries of Antanta, Chernivtsy were occupied by Romanian armies, on November 28, the Romanian General Congress of Bukovina proclaimed joining of Bukovina with Chernivtsy to Romania. Contrary to prosecutions from the authorities Chernivtsy remained the centre of nationalization in Bukovina.

In 1940 the city was occupied by Red army and was a part of USSR. In the beginning of Great Patriotic War, German and Romanian armies enter there. Chernivtsy came back in the structure of Romania, but in 1944 Soviet army released the city.

After the Second World War in Chernivtsy there was extreme changes of national structure of population. According to all-Ukrainian population censuses of 2001 in the city population there were present the following ethnic groups: Ukrainians - 79,9 %, Russian - 11,3 %, Byelorussians - 0,4 %, Poles - 0,6 %, Moldavians - 1,6 %, Romanians - 4,5 %.

For comparison: during the Austrian period there was such distribution of national groups in Chernivtsy: Jews - 33 %, Carpatho-Russians - 19 %, Germans - 17 %, Romanians - 15 %, Poles-15 %. In Romanian period on census of 1930 there were accordingly: Jews - 29 %, Romanians - 26 % , Germans - 23 %, Carpatho-Russians - 11 %, Poles - 7 %).

After the Second World War in Chernivtsy there was extreme changes of national structure of population. According to all-Ukrainian population censuses of 2001 in the city population there were present the following ethnic groups: Ukrainians - 79,9 %, Russian - 11,3 %, Byelorussians - 0,4 %, Poles - 0,6 %, Moldavians - 1,6 %, Romanians - 4,5 %.
For comparison: during the Austrian period there was such distribution of national groups in Chernivtsy: Jews-33 %, Carpatho-Russians - 19 %, Germans - 17 %, Romanians - 15 %, Poles-15 %. In Romanian period on census of 1930 there were accordingly: Jews - 29 %, Romanians - 26 % Germans - 23 %, Carpatho-Russians - 11 %, Poles - 7 %).

It is extremely important to mention one of the main city trait: different nationalities, creed, political views never prevented citizens of Chernivtsy to live in piece and mutual understanding.

Real estimation of international relations in an ancient city were the words of modern German publicist George Gayntsena: it was "the ship of pleasures with the Ukrainian command, German officers and Jewish passengers onboard which constantly headed between the West and East under the Austrian flag. Hardly you will invent something more freakish and fragile for central-east Europe of first half of ХХ century, than the company of Ukrainian, German and Jew on one ship under tolerance sails! Chernivtsy is a city where Sunday began with Schubert, ended with duel. This city - is on half-roads between Kiev and Bucharest, between Krakow and Odessa - was the private capital of Europe where best coloratura sopranos sang, and firmans argued on Charles Krause, where sidewalks swept with bouquets of roses and bookshops were more than coffee houses... It was the city where dogs were named as Olympic gods and hens pecked out Gelderline poets from the land".

After Chernivtsy was in the structure of Ukraine vigorous industrialisation of region began, the machine-building and chemical enterprises, network of large instrument-making factories were created. The city population considerably increased, for a professional training science and education actively developed. In 1970 in Chernivtsy there were 50 secondary schools, 8 technical schools, 8 specialized technical schools, musical, pedagogical, medical schools, 3 higher educational establishments.

Now in Chernivtsy about 70 000 workers are engaged and about 60 % of an industrial output of the region is concentrated in the city. The leading branches are: the light, food, electronic and chemical industry, mechanical engineering and metal working, woodworking industry.

Architecture masterpieces in the city are - theatre, Justice palace, the Cathedral, hotels "Paris", "Bell view" ("the perfect view"), Chamber of trade and crafts, Management of Bukovinsky savings bank (now the Art museum). The variety of architectural styles are presented: Romance, Gothic, Byzantian, classicism, eclecticism, modernist style, neoclassics, Mauritian, baroque, pseudo-baroque, Florentine and others.

Under the editorship of: V.A. Kovalenin

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