Main Births etc
Former names before 1944: Tarnopol, Tarnopil
Ukrainian: Тернопіль/Ternopil|
Polish: Tarnopol
Russian: Тернополь
—  City  —
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary (former Dominican Church)


Coat of arms

Ternopil is located in Ukraine
Location within Ukraine
Coordinates: 49°34′N 25°36′E / 49.567, 25.6Coordinates: 49°34′N 25°36′E / 49.567, 25.6
Country  Ukraine
Oblast Ternopil Oblast
Municipality Ternopil City
 • Mayor Serhiy Nadal (All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda")[1]
 • Total 72 km2 (27.8 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 218,641
 • Density 3,831/km2 (9,920/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+3)
Area code(s) +380 352

Ternopil (Ukrainian: Тернопіль| Ternopil’, Polish and German: Tarnopol, Russian: Тернополь, Ternopol’ Yiddish: טערנאָפּיל) is a city in western Ukraine, located on the banks of the Seret River. Until 1944, it was known mostly as Tarnopol, and its Ruthenian (Ukrainian) name was rarely used.[2] Ternopil is one of the major cities of Western Ukraine and the historical regions of Galicia and Podolia. It is served by Ternopil Airport. In 2013 its population was around 217,000.

Administrative status[]

The city is the administrative center of the Ternopil Oblast (region), as well as of the surrounding Ternopil Raion (district) within the oblast. However, Ternopil is a city of regional significance, thus being subject directly to the oblast authorities rather than to the raion administration which is housed in the city as well.


Historical affiliations

Kingdom of Poland 1540–1569
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1772
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria 1772–1804
Austrian Empire 1804–1809
Russian Empire 1809–1815
Austrian Empire 1815–1867
Austria-Hungary 1867-1918
West Ukrainian People's Republic 1918-1919
Ukrainian People's Republic 1919-1920
Poland Poland 1920-1939
 Soviet Union 1939–1941
 Nazi Germany 1941–1944
 Soviet Union 1944–1991
 Ukraine 1991–present

The Ternopil Castle rebuilt in the 19th century as a palace

City's first church, Exaltation of Cross Church

The city was founded in 1540 by Polish commander and Hetman Jan Amor Tarnowski[2] as a military stronghold and a castle (oppidum[2]). On 15 April 1540[2] the King of Poland Sigismund I[2] in Cracow handed to the Crown Hetman permission to establish settlement Tarnopolie[2] in the vicinity of the abandoned place of Sopilche (Sopilcze).[2] In 1544 the Ternopil Castle was constructed and repelled its first Tatar attacks. On 20 January 1548 Ternopil was granted German Law by king of Poland Sigismund I the Old who allowed the city to hold three fairs annually and weekly trades on Mondays,[2] with the Magdeburg city rights Ternopil received two years later from Jan Tarnowski regulating duties of the city's residents.[2] In 1548 the King of Poland also gave permission to create a pond near the Ternopil suburb of Kutkovets.[2] In 1549 the city managed to survive a Tatar siege by efforts of the duchess Eudokia Chortoryiska[2] (see Chortoryisky). Since the death of the Crown Hetman in 1561, Ternopil became the property of his son Jan Krzysztof Tarnowski[2] who died childless in 1567. Since 1567 the city was owned by the daughter of Crown Hetman Zofia Tarnowska who was married to Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski.[2] In 1570 after her death while giving a birth, Ternopil was passed to the Ostrogski family.[2] In 1575 it was plundered by the Tatars. In 1623 the city passed to the Zamoyski family. In 1589 Ternopil was visited by the Austrian diplomat Erich Lassota von Steblau who also mentioned the city's castle.[2]

In the 17th century the town was almost wiped from the face of the Earth in the Khmelnytsky Uprising which drove out or killed most of its Jewish residents. Ternopil was almost completely destroyed by Turkish forces of Ibrahim Shishman Pasha in 1675 and rebuilt by Aleksander Koniecpolski but did not recover its previous glory until it passed to Marie Casimire, the wife of king John III Sobieski in 1690. The city was later sacked for the last time by Tatars in 1694, and twice by Russians in the course of the Great Northern War in 1710 and the War of the Polish Succession in 1733. In 1747 Józef Potocki invited the Dominicanes and founded the beautiful late-baroque Dominican Church (today the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary of the Ternopil-Zboriv eparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church). The city was thrice looted during the Confederation of Bar (1768–1772) signed in Bar, Ukraine, by the confederates themselves, by the king's army and by Russians. In 1770 it was further devastated by an outbreak of smallpox.

Tarnopol Voivodeship

In 1772, after the first partition of Poland, the city came under Austrian rule. In 1809 the city came under Russian rule, which created Ternopol krai there. In 1815 the city (then with 11,000 residents) returned to Austrian rule in accordance with the Congress of Vienna. In 1820 Jesuits expelled from Polatsk by the Russians established a gymnasium in Tarnopol. In 1843 the last city's owner Jerzy Michal of Turkul sold the city to its residents for 175,000 florins.[2] In 1870 a rail line connected Ternopil with Lviv, accelerating the city's growth. At that time Tarnopol had a population of about 25,000.

Austrian postal card in Polish version cancelled in 1880

A ship "Heroy Tantsorow" on the Ternopil Lake

20th Century[]

The region was part of Habsburg Galicia and was an ethnic mix of mainly Roman Catholic Poles, Greek Catholic Ruthenians, and Jews. Intermarriage between Poles and Ruthenians was common. Church of St. Mary of the Perpetual Assistance was consecrated in 1908 with its main tower reaching 62 m (203 ft).[2] In 1954 the church was blown up by Communist authorities and in its place was built the city's central supermarket.[2] During World War I the city passed from German and Austrian forces to Russia several times. In 1917 the city and its castle were burnt down by fleeing Russian forces.[2] After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the city was proclaimed as part of the West Ukrainian People's Republic on 11 November 1918. After Polish forces captured Lwów during the Polish-Ukrainian War, Tarnopol became the country's temporary capital (22 November to 30 December 1918).[3] After the act of union between the West Ukrainian Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic (UPR), Ternopol formally passed under the UPR's control. On 15 July 1919 the city was captured[3] by Polish forces. In 1920 the exiled Ukrainian government of Symon Petlura accepted Polish control of Tarnopol and of the entire area after receiving the assurance of Józef Piłsudski, the Lithuanian born Field Marshal of the Polish Army, that there would be no peace with the Russians without creating a Ukrainian state. In July and August 1920 the Red Army captured Tarnopol in the course of the Polish-Soviet War. The city then served as the capital of the Galician Soviet Socialist Republic. Although the Poles and their Ukrainian allies badly defeated the Russians on the battle field and the Russians had offered to cede Ukraine and Belarus, Polish politicians in Warsaw refused to honor Piłsudski's promise. By the terms of the Riga treaty, the Soviets and Poles effectively partitioned Ukraine. For the next 19 years, the ethnically mixed Ternopol area remained in Polish control.

From 1922 to September 1939, Tarnopol served as the capital of the Tarnopol Voivodeship that consisted of 17 powiats. According to the Polish census of 1931, individuals speaking Ukrainian/Ruthenian accounted for 46% of the Tarnopol Voivodeship, while Polish speaking population consisted of 49%.[4] The city itself consisted of 77.7% Poles, 14.0% Jewish and 8.05% Ukrainian/Ruthenian population. After World War II, Apolinary Hartglas reported that Edward Szturm de Sztrem, the pre-war chairman of the Polish census statistical office, admitted that the census returns, particularly those from the south-east, had been altered at the executive level.[5] Another account stated that he admitted "that officials had been directed to undercount minorities, especially those in the eastern provinces".[6]

Invasion of Poland[]

At the onset of World War II, the Soviet invasion of Poland began on September 17, 1939. The Red Army entered eastern Poland in furtherance of the secretive Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and contrary to the Soviet-Polish non-aggression treaty. Tarnopol was captured, renamed Ternopol, and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Soviets made it their first priority to decimate Polish intelligentsia and destroy Polish culture. Ukrainian nationalist leaders were imprisoned. Mass arrests, torture and executions of Ukrainians and Poles followed. The Soviets also carried out mass deportations of the "enemies of the working class" to Kazakhstan. In practice, this translated into members of the former state administration, police, border service, land and business owners.[7]

On 2 July 1941 the city was occupied by the Nazi Germans who led the Jewish pogrom,[7] and continued exterminating the population by creating the Tarnopol Ghetto. Thousands of Jews were murdered at the Belzec extermination camp.[7] Many Ukrainians were sent as forced labour to Germany. In the years 1942–1943 the Polish Armia Krajowa was active opposing Nazi rule and defending ethnic Poles from violence from Ukrainian Nationalists. During the Soviet offensive in March and April 1944, the city was encircled. In March 1944 the city was declared a fortified place (Gates to the Reich) by Adolf Hitler,[2] to be defended until the last round was shot.[2] The stiff German resistance caused extensive use of heavy artillery by the Red Army on March 7–8,[2] resulting in the complete destruction of the city and killing of nearly all German occupants (55 survivors out of 4,500). Unlike many other occasions, where the Germans had practised a scorched earth policy during their withdrawal from territories of the Soviet Union, the devastation was caused directly by the hostilities.[8] Finally Ternopol was liberated by the Red Army on 15 April 1944. After the liberation, 85% of the city's living quarters were destroyed.[2] Due to heavy destruction, the regional seat was moved to Chortkiv.[2]

Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, the ethnic Polish population of the Ternopol region was forcibly deported to former German territory near Wrocław (Breslau) as part of Soviet ethnic cleansing of modern-day Ukraine. After World War II Ternopol was rebuilt in typically Soviet style. Only a few buildings were reconstructed.

Euromaidan in Ternopil

Since 1991 Ternopil has been a part of independent Ukraine, along with other cities of western Ukraine. Ternopil has become an important center of Ukrainian national revival.

Jewish Ternopil[]

Polish Jews settled in Ternopil beginning at its founding and soon formed a majority of the population. During the 16th and 17th centuries there were 300 Jewish families in the city. The Great Synagogue of Ternopil was built in Gothic Survival style between 1622 and 1628.[9] Among the towns destroyed by Bohdan Khmelnytsky during his march from Zolochiv through Galicia was Tarnopol, the large Jewish population of which carried on an extensive trade. Shortly afterward, however, when the Cossacks had been subdued by John III of Poland, the town began to prosper anew, and its Jewish population exceeded all previous figures. It may be noted that Hasidism at this time dominated the community, which opposed any introduction of Western culture. During the troubled times in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the city was stormed (1770) by the adherents of the Confederacy of Bar, who massacred many of its inhabitants, especially the Jews.

After the first partition of Poland, Ternopil came under Austrian domination. Nevertheless, Joseph Perl was able to continue his efforts to improve the condition of the Jews, which he had begun under the Russian rule. In 1813 he established a Jewish school which had as its chief object the instruction of Jewish youth in German as well as in Hebrew and in various other subjects. Controversy between the traditional Hasidim and the modernising Maskilim which this school caused, resulted four years later in a victory for the latter, whereupon the institution received official recognition and was placed under communal control. Starting in 1863, the school policy was gradually modified by Polish influences, and very little attention was given to instruction in German. The Tempel für Geregelten Gottesdienst, opened by Perl in 1819, also caused dissensions within the community, and its rabbi, Samuel Judah Löb Rapoport, was forced to withdraw. This dispute also was eventually settled in favour of the Maskilim. As of 1905, the Jewish community numbered 14,000 in a total population of 30,415. Jews took control of the active import/export trade with Russia conducted through the border city of Pidvolochysk.

Tarnopol Synagogue prior to destruction during World War II

In 1941, soon after the German attack on the Soviet positions in eastern Poland, 2,000 Jews were killed in a pogrom,[7] with 500 victims murdered on the grounds of Ternopil's Christian cemetery by local inhabitants using weapons borrowed from the German army.[10] According to interviews conducted by a Roman Catholic priest, Father Patrick Desbois, some of the victims were decapitated.[10] In September 1941, the Germans announced the creation of the Tarnopol Ghetto for Jews still remaining in the city. In the winter of 1941/42, mortality in the ghetto escalated to such a degree that the Judenrat was forced to bury the dead in a common grave. Between August 1942 to June 1943 there were 5 "selections" that depleted the Jewish population of the ghetto by sending the Jews to Belzec extermination camp. A few hundred Jews from Tarnopol and its vicinity attempted to survive by hiding within the town limits. Many were denounced to the Germans, including some 200 people shortly before the Soviets liberated the area. A number of Jews survived by hiding with the Poles.[11]

A monument in memory of the Holocaust victims was built at Petrikovsky Yar in 1996.[12] On September 19, 2012 the monument was desecrated, in what seems to be an anti-Semitic act.[12]


Ternopil has a moderate continental climate with cold winters and warm summers.

Climate data for Ternopil (1949–2011)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.2
Average high °C (°F) −1.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.4
Average low °C (°F) −7.3
Record low °C (°F) −31.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 33.0
Avg. precipitation days 19.5 18.2 16.3 11.3 11.0 11.4 9.6 8.1 10.0 10.1 15.2 19.4 160.1
humidity 85.8 84.3 78.6 67.7 67.1 71.6 73.6 73.0 75.8 79.6 86.2 87.0 77.5


Universities include:

  • Ternopil National Economic University
  • Ternopil Ivan Pul'uj National Technical University
  • Ternopil National Pedagogical University
  • Ternopil State Medical University

On 31 December 2013, the 11th Artillery Brigade, descendant of artillery units that had been based in the city since 1949, was disbanded.[14]


Notable residents[]

  • Mykola Chubatyi[15] a historian of Ukrainian Church and Ukrainian law, actively participated in the Ukrainian resistance against Polonization in West Ukraine, founder of Shevchenko Scientific Society in the United States
  • Joseph Perl,[2] Jewish writer
  • Aleksander Brückner,[2] Polish academician, Slavist
  • Kazimierz Michałowski,[2] Polish archaeologist, Egyptologist, art historian
  • Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz, Polish philosopher and logician
  • Mike Mazurki, American professional athlete[16] and actor with 6'5" in height
  • Rudolf Pöch, Austrian anthropologist pioneering in cinematography and audio engineering
  • Jan Tarnowski, Polish nobleman, founder of Ternopil (as Tarnopol)
  • Casimir Zeglen, Polish-American engineer, founder of commercial bulletproof vest in 1890s

International relations[]

Twin towns – Sister cities[]

Ternopil is twinned with:

See also[]

  • Ternopil Regional Art Museum

References and notes[]

  1. ^ (Ukrainian) Мер Тернополя продає побачення з собою, Ukrayinska Pravda (28 December 2011)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Snitovsky, O. Five centuries of Ternopil. The city of Hetman Jan and mason Leontiy. Ukrinform. 28 August 2015
  3. ^ a b The Jewish and German population accepted the new Ukrainian state, but the Poles started the military campaign against the Ukrainian authority. [...]. On November 11, 1918 following bloody fighting, the Polish forces captured Lwów. The government of the WUPR moved to Ternopol and from the end of December the Council and the Government of the WUPR were located in Ivano-Frankivsk.
    (Ukrainian) West Ukrainian People's Republic in the "Dovidnyk z istoriï Ukraïny" (A hand-book on the History of Ukraine), 3-Volumes, Kyiv, 1993–1999, ISBN 5-7707-5190-8 (t. 1), ISBN 5-7707-8552-7 (t. 2), ISBN 966-504-237-8 (t. 3).
  4. ^ "Główny Urząd Statystyczny Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, drugi powszechny spis ludności z dn. 9.XII 1931 r. - Mieszkania i gospodarstwa dome ludność, Wojewodztwo Tarnopolskie" (in pl) (PDF, direct download, table: page 30). Central Statistical office of the Polish Republic. 1938. 
  5. ^ Joseph Marcus (1983). Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919-1939. Walter de Gruyter. p. 17. ISBN 978-90-279-3239-6. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Richard Blanke (1993). Orphans of Versailles: The Germans in Western Poland, 1918-1939. University Press of Kentucky. p. 95. ISBN 0-8131-3041-7. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Robert Kuwałek, Eugeniusz Riadczenko, Adam Dylewski, Justyna Filochowska, Michał Czajka (2015). "Tarnopol" (in Polish). Historia - Społeczność żydowska przed 1989. Virtual Shtetl (Wirtualny Sztetl). pp. 3–4 of 5.,historia/?action=view&page=2. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Karl-Heinz Frieser (Ed.); Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg – Volume 8: Die Ostfront 1943/44 – Der Krieg im Osten und an den Nebenfronten; Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt München 2007; ISBN 978-3-421-06235-2
  9. ^ Sergey R. Kravtsov, "Gothic Survival in Synagogue Architecture of Ruthenia, Podolia and Volhynia in the 17th–18th Centuries," Architectura. Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Baukunst/ Journal of the History of Architecture, vol. 1 (2005), 70.
  10. ^ a b Talking with the willing executioners
  11. ^ "Tarnopol Historical Background". Yad Vashem. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in ru). Евроазиатский Еврейский Конгресс. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Ternopil, Ukraine Climate Data". Climatebase. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Влада Тернополя наполягає на відновленні військових частин на Західній Україні" (in Ukrainian). Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. 16 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Yaroslav Padokh,Chubaty, Mykola in the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  16. ^ wrestler, football and basketball
  17. ^ Hodara, Susan (October 26, 2008). "Communities; Cities Find Sisters Abroad". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  18. ^ "Elbląg – Podstrony / Miasta partnerskie" (in Polish). Elbląski Dziennik Internetowy. Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. // Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  19. ^ "Elbląg – Miasta partnerskie" (in Polish). Elblą,65. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  20. ^ "Radom – Miasta partnerskie [Radom – Partnership cities]" (in Polish). Miasto Radom [City of Radom]. Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. //,miasta-partnerskie.html. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  21. ^ "Radom – miasta partnerskie" (in Polish). Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  22. ^ "Miasta Partnerskie". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Batumi – Twin Towns & Sister Cities". Batumi City Hall. Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. // Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  • A. Bresler, Joseph Perl, Warsaw, 1879, passim;
  • Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1839, iii. 606;
  • This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.
  • J. H. Gurland, Le-Ḳarot ha-Gezerot, p. 22, Odessa, 1892;
  • Meyers Konversations-Lexikon
  • Orgelbrandt, in Encyklopedja Powszechna, xiv. 409;

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