Main Births etc
—  City  —
The square in front of the Chernivtsi Theatre.


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): "Little Vienna"[1][2]
Map of Ukraine (blue) with Chernivtsi highlighted (red).
The Chernivtsi City Municipality (center) on the map of Chernivtsi Oblast.

Chernivtsi is located in Ukraine
Location in Ukraine

Chernivtsi is located in Chernivtsi Oblast
Location in Chernivtsi Oblast
Coordinates: 48°18′0″N 25°56′0″E / 48.3, 25.933333Coordinates: 48°18′0″N 25°56′0″E / 48.3, 25.933333
Country  Ukraine
Oblast Chernivtsi
Rayon Chernivtsi
First mentioned 1408
City rights 14th century
 • Mayor Mykola Fedoruk
 • Total 153 km2 (59 sq mi)
Elevation 248 m (814 ft)
Population (2001 census[3])
 • Total 240,600
 • Density 1,625/km2 (4,210/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 58000
Area code(s) +380 372
Sister cities Salt Lake City, Konin, Suceava, Nazareth Illit, Saskatoon, Klagenfurt, Podolsk

Chernivtsi (Ukrainian: Чернівці|; German: Czernowitz; Polish: Czerniowce; Romanian: Cernăuți; Russian: Черновцы; Yiddish: טשערנאוויץ; see also other names) is the administrative center of Chernivtsi Oblast (province) in southwestern Ukraine. The city is situated on the upper course of the River Prut, a tributary of the Danube, in the northern part of the historic region of Bukovina, which is currently divided between Romania and Ukraine. At the time of the 2001 Ukrainian Census, the population of the city was 240,600.[3]

Together with the city of Lviv, Chernivtsi is viewed at present to be a cultural center of western Ukraine. The city is also considered one of modern Ukraine's greatest cultural and educational centers. Historically, as a cultural and architectural center, Chernivtsi was even dubbed "Little Vienna,"[1][2] "Jerusalem upon the Prut", or the "European Alexandria." Chernivtsi is currently twinned with seven other cities around the world. The city is also a major point of railway and highway crossings in the region, and houses an international airport.


Aside from Ukrainian, Chernivtsi is also known by many different foreign names, which were used during times of rule by different countries throughout the city's history, or by the respective population groups at the time: Romanian: Cernăuți; German: Czernowitz; Yiddish: טשערנאוויץ, translit. Tshernovits; Polish: Czerniowce; Hungarian: Csernovic, Russian: Черновцы́, translit. Chernovtsy (until 1944: Чернови́цы, translit. Chernovitsy). In the times of Halych-Volyn Principality the city's name was Chern.


Chernivtsi is located in the historic region of Bukovina, which is currently shared between Romania (south) and Ukraine (north). The city lies 248 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by forests and fields. The River Prut runs through the city's landscape.


Chernivtsi continues to hold a prominent position among other cities in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The city's ancient beginnings and significant history add to its charm and attraction for those interested in the Bukovina.

The city's coat of arms from 1918–1940.

Archeological evidence discovered in the area surrounding Chernivtsi indicates that a local population inhabited it since the neolithic era. Later settlements included those of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture,[4] the Corded Ware culture; artifacts from the Bronze and Iron Ages were also found in the city.

A fortified settlement located on the left (north-eastern) shore of Prut dates back to the time of the Principality of Halych and is thought to have been built by Grand Prince Yaroslav Osmomysl.[5] Legendary accounts refer to this fortress-city as Chern’, or Black city; it is said to owe its name to the black color of the city walls, built from dark oak layered with local black-colored soil.[6] This early stronghold was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Europe by the Burundai in 1259. However, the remaining ramparts of the fortress were still used for defense purposes; in the 17th century they were augmented with several bastions, one of which is still extant.

Map of the United States of Greater Austria, proposed in 1906, shows the city at the border of the areas inhabited by Romanians and Ukrainians.

Following the destruction of the fortress, later settlements in the area centered on the right (south-western) shore of the Prut River, at a more strategically advantageous, elevated location. In 1325, when Kingdom of Poland seized control of Galicia, and came into contact with the early Vlach (Romanian) feodal formations, a fort was mentioned under the name Ţeţina; it was defending the ford and crossing point on the Prut River. It was part of a group of three fortifications, the other two being the fortress of Hotin on the Dniester to the east, and a fort on the Kolachin River, a upriver tributary of Prut.

Between 1359 and 1775, the city and its surroundings were part of the Principality of Moldavia; the city being the administrative center of the homonymous ţinut (county).[7] The name Cernăuţi/Chernivtsi is first attested in a document by Alexander the Good on October 8, 1408.[8] In Ottoman sources, the city was mentioned as "Çernovi".

In 1775, around 1/10 of the territory of Moldavia was annexed by the Austrian Empire; this region became known as Bukovina. The city became the region's capital, which in 1849 was raised in status and became known as the Duchy of Bukovina, a crownland of the Austrian Empire. The city received Magdeburg rights.[9] The city began to flourish in 1778 when Knight Karl von Enzenberg was appointed the chief of the Military Administration. He invited many merchants, craftsmen and entrepreneurs to help develop trade and other businesses. Saint Peter's Fairs (July 1–15) had given a new vibrant impulse to the market development from 1786.

During the 19th and early 20th century, Chernivtsi became a center of both Romanian and Ukrainian national movements. It was also the site of the first Yiddish language conference in 1908, coordinated by Nathan Birnbaum. When Austria-Hungary dissolved in 1918, the city and its surrounding area became a part of the Kingdom of Romania.[10] In 1930, the city reached a population of 112,400; 26.8% Jews, 23.2% Romanians, 20.8% Germans, 18.6% Ukrainians, the remainder Poles and others. It was one of the five university centers of the inter-war Romania.

In 1940, the Red Army occupied the area; the area around the city became known as Chernivtsi Oblast, and was allotted to the Ukrainian SSR by the Soviet Union.[10] The city's large Romanian intelligentsia found refuge in Romania; while the Bukovina Germans were repatriated according to a Soviet-Nazi agreement. This prompted Romania to switch from an ally of France and Britain to one of the Nazi Germany; in July 1941, Romanian Army re-took the city as part of the Axis attack on the Soviet Union during World War II. In August 1941, Romanian military dictator Ion Antonescu ordered the creation of a ghetto in the lowland part of the city, where 50,000 Bukovina Jews were crammed; two thirds of which would be deported to Transnistria in October 1941 and partly in early 1942, where the majority perished. Romanian mayor of the city Traian Popovici managed to persuade Antonescu to raise the number of Jews exempted from deportation from 200 to 20,000.

In 1944, when Axis forces were driven out by the Red Army, the city was re-incorporated in the Ukrainian SSR. Over the following years, most of the Jews left for Israel; the city was an important node in the Berihah network. Bukovina Poles were also repatriated by the Soviets after World War II. The city became a predominantly Ukrainian one.

Since 1991, Chernitvtsi has been a part of the independent Ukraine. In May 1999, Romania opened a consulate general in the city. Contemporary Chernivtsi is an important regional center, which is situated on the picturesque banks of Prut River and occupies an area of about 150 square kilometres (58 sq mi).

Government and subdivisions[]

Chernivtsi City Hall.

Chernivtsi is the administrative center of the Chernivtsi Oblast (province) and the city itself has own government within the oblast under direct subordination to oblast.

The territory of Chernivtsi is divided into 3 administrative city raions (districts):

No. Name in Ukrainian Population
1 Pershotravnevy Raion Першотравневий район 69,370
2 Sadhora Raion Садгірський район 28,227
3 Shevchenko Raion[11] Шевченківський район 139,094

The mayor of Chernivtsi is Mykola Fedoruk, who has held the position since 1994.[6]


Ethnic divisions in modern Bukovina.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1775 2,300
1794 5,000 +117.4%
1832 11,000 +120.0%
1869 34,000 +209.1%
1890 54,200 +59.4%
1910 87,100 +60.7%
1930 112,400 +29.0%
1941 78,800 −29.9%
1970 187,000 +137.3%
1984 238,000 +27.3%
1989 295,000 +23.9%
2001 236,700 −19.8%
2005 242,300 +2.4%

According to the latest All-Ukrainian population census in 2001, the population of Chernivtsi was approximately 236,700 people of 65 nationalities.[12] Among them, 189,000 (79.8%) are Ukrainians; 26,700 (11.3%) Russians; 10,500 (4.4%) Romanians; 3,800 (1.6%) Moldavians; 1,400 (0.6%) Polish; 1,300 (0.6%) Jews; 2,900 (1.2%) other nationalities.[6]

Based on the last available Soviet data, the population of the city, as of January 1, 1989, was approximately 295,000 residents. Among these, there are some 172,000 Ukrainians, 46,000 Russians, 16,000 Romanians, 13,000 Moldavians, 7,000 Poles and others.

Historically, the city was very multinational. From 1870 to the Second World War, Jews were the biggest population group of Chernivtsi. In 1930, according to the Romanian census, the population of the city was 26.8% Jewish, 23.2% Romanians, 20.8% Germans, 18.6% Ukrainians, and 1.5% Russians.

The Romanian population in Chernivtsi started decreasing rapidly after 1950. Many Romanians fled to Romania or were deported to Siberia (where most of them died), and the remaining Romanian population quickly became a minority and assimilated with the majority.[13] Nowadays, the Romanian minority in Chernivtsi is still decreasing as a result of cultural assimilation and emigration to Romania.

Chernivtsi once had a Jewish community of over 50,000, less than a third of whom survived World War II. Romanian lawyer and reserve officer Theodor Criveanu, as well as the then city mayor Traian Popovici, supported by General Vasile Ionescu saved 19,689 Jewish people. Initially, Governor of Bukovina Calotescu allowed only 190 Jewish people to stay, but Traian Popovici, after an incredible effort, obtained from the then dictator of Romania Marshal Ion Antonescu an allowance of 20,000.[14] After World War II, the city was a key node in the Berihah net, which helped Jews to emigrate to the then Mandate Palestine from the difficult conditions after the War. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the majority of the remaining Jewish population emigrated to Israel and the United States. A famous member of this latter emigration is the American actress Mila Kunis.[15]

In Chernivtsi lived Ukrainians, Romanians, Poles, Ruthenians, Jews, Roms and Germans. Their Culture and Prosperity, experienced the town during its affiliation to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy as the capital of the crown land Bukovina. By the murder of the Jews and the resettlement and expulsion of the whole ethnic groups, above all of the Germans and the Romanians, this tradition got lost after the Second World War to a great extent. The population group dominating today are the Ukrainians.

The mixing of the city by many population groups becomes recognizable in accompanying or following population statistics below. Thus Romanians and Ukrainians did the majority of the population, however, the Yiddish-speaking or German-speaking Jews removed the Romanians from 1870 as the biggest population group of the town. From 1880 the Romanians were removed from the Ukrainians also as a second largest population group.

Jews in Chernivtsi
according to Austrian-Hungarian Census[16]
Year total pop. Jews Share
1857 ca. 22,000 4.678 21.6 %
1869 ca. 34,000 9.552 28.2 %
1880 ca. 46,000 14.449 31.7 %
1890 ca. 54,000 17.359 32.0 %
1900 ca. 68,000 21.587 31.9 %
1910 ca. 87,000 28.613 32.8 %

Chernivtsi (City) Chernivtsi (Suburbs)
Year Romanians Ukrainians Romanians Ukrainians
1860 9,177 4,133 20,068 6,645
1870 5,999 5,831 28,315 35,011
1880 6,431 8,232 8,887 23,051
1890 7,624 10,385 11,433 34,067
1900 9,400 13,030 13,252 25,476
1910 13,440 15,254 18,060 22,351


Many well-known historical figures were born in the city, including actress Mila Kunis, poets and writers Paul Celan, musician and essayist Roman Vlad and Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, the former Speaker of the Parliament Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the Vienna Secession artist Oskar Laske. Many other famous people lived and worked in the city, such as Ukrainian national poet Ivan Franko, the first President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk, Romanian national poet Mihai Eminescu, Yiddish actress Sidi Tal, novelist Aharon Appelfeld, Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi, Aron Pumnul, Ciprian Porumbescu, Ion Nistor, Gala Galaction, economist and political theorist Joseph Schumpeter, jurist and sociologist of law Eugen Ehrlich, Nikolai Vavilov, Abraham Goldfaden, Ruth Wisse, and Avigdor Arikha.


The Neo-baroque Chernivtsi Railway Station, constructed during the Austro-Hungarian period.

The front façade of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chernivtsi University, the former residence of the Metropolitans of Bukovina.

There are many places which attract citizens of Chernivtsi and the visitors: Drama Theatre, Regional Philharmonic Society, Organ and Chamber Music Hall, puppet-theatre, Museum of Local Lore, History and Economy, Museum of Fine Arts, Bukovynian Diaspora Museum, Museum of Folk Architecture and Way of Life, memorial museums of writers, 5 cinemas, 41 libraries, the Central Palace of Culture, 17 clubs, 4 music schools, fine arts school, 2 recreational parks.

The city of Chernivtsi has a lot of architecturally important buildings. Many historic buildings have been preserved, especially within the city's center. However, after years of disrepair and neglect, the buildings are in need of major restoration.

As Chernivsti was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was closely related to the empire's culture, including architecture. Main architectural styles present within the city include Vienna Secession and Neoclassicism, Baroque, late Gothic architecture, and fragments of traditional Moldavian and Hungarian architecture, Byzantine architecture as well as Cubism.[17] The city is sometimes dubbed Little Vienna, because its architecture is reminiscent of the Austro-Hungarian capital Vienna.[1][2]

The main architectural attractions of the city include: the Chernivtsi Drama Theater (1905); the Chernivtsi UniversityUNESCO World Heritage Site (1882); the Regional Museum of Fine Arts — the former savings bank (1900); the Regional Council — former Palace of Justice (1906); and the Chernivtsi Palace of Culture — former Jewish National House (1908); among many others. The magnificent Moorish Revival Czernowitz Synagogue‎ was heavily damaged by fire in 1941, the walls were used to create the "Chernivtsi" movie theater.

The Czech architect Josef Hlavka designed, in 1864—1882, the buildings that currently house the Chernivtsi State University. They were originally the residence of the Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans. The Romanesque and Byzantine architecture is embellished with motifs of Ukrainian folk art; for example, the tile roof patterns duplicate the geometric designs of traditional Ukrainian embroidery.


The most popular kinds of sports in Chernivtsi include arching, judo, field hockey, karate, power-lifting and orienteering.[18] Chernivtsi's baseball, hockey, and football clubs (FC Bukovyna Chernivtsi) are participants of the Ukrainian national championships.

Chernivtsi has a large number of sports establishments and facilities, including 5 stadiums, 186 sports grounds, 2 tennis courts, 11 football fields, 5 skating rinks, 21 shooting galleries, 3 swimming pools, 69 gyms, 62 gyms with special training equipment and an international motorcycle racing track.[18]

Over 7,950 inhabitants are members of sport clubs within the city, and more than 50,000 people participate in various sport activities.[18] Currently, 8 sportsmen from the city are the members of national teams and 12 are members of national youth teams.[18] 3 athletes from Chernivtsi were prize-winners in various world tournaments, 2 were winners of European and 42 of national championships in 2002.[18]

Chernivtsi has been host to the Ukrainian Sidecarcross Grand Prix a number of times,[19] most recently in June 2010.[20]

Sister cities[]

Chernivtsi has seven sister cities/towns, as follows:

See also[]

  • List of people from Chernivtsi
  • Jewish cemetery in Chernivtsi


  1. ^ a b c "Bukovyna Week in Austria". Den. Zhytariuk, Natalia. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bukovina. The beech tree land". Ukraine Cognita. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  3. ^ a b About number and composition population of CHERNIVTSI REGION by data All-Ukrainian Population Census '2001
  4. ^ "Trypillya — a culture that was contemporaneous with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia". Welcome to Ukraine. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  5. ^ "City of Chernivtsi – History". The Komkon Site. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  6. ^ a b c "History". Chernivtsi City Official Site. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  7. ^ (Romanian) Cetatea Ţeţina – Cernăuţi, Astra, 3 (13), 1998
  8. ^ (Romanian)Cernăuţi-600 de ani de atestare documentară internă, Astra, 4 (54), 2008, p.3
  9. ^ "Chernivtsi". Ukrainian heraldy. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  10. ^ a b "Bukovina". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  11. ^ The raion was formerly named Lenin Raion. The raion was renamed in accordance with the Rivne Oblast Council's decision.[1]
  12. ^ "City of Chernivtsi, Chernivetska Oblast". Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. December 5 2001. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  13. ^ For more information, see the Russification article.
  14. ^ "Righteous Among the Nations Ceremony from Romania Tomorrow". Yad Vashem. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  15. ^ Міла Куніс зіграє у трилері "Чорний лебідь", (August 13, 2009) (Ukrainian)
  16. ^ Ergebnisse der Volkszählungen der K. K. Statistischen Central-Kommission u.a., in: Anson Rabinbach: The Migration of Galician Jews to Vienna. Austrian History Yearbook, Volume XI, Berghahn Books/Rice University Press, Houston 1975, S. 46/47 (Table III)
  17. ^ "Sport & Tourism II". Chernivtsi City Official Site. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "Sport & Tourism". Chernivtsi City Official Site. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  19. ^ VENUES USED IN GP 1971–2005 The John Davy Pages, accessed: 2 November 2009
  20. ^ FIM Sidecarcross World Championship – 2010 Calendar FIM website, accessed: 30 October 2009

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Look up Chernivtsi in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Chernivtsi. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.