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Austria’s arrival to Bukovyna and its emperor's decision to make Chernivtsi the capital of the Empire's new province defined its promotion as a European city. The city Charter was adopted and administrative, economic and sanitary organizational measures were taken. Broad rights and benefits were granted to those who built stone houses which was a prerequisite for fast economic development and replacement of the wooden city by the stone one.
The core of historical Austrian development was formed round Ringplatz (today’s Centralna Square) from which Holovna, Ratushna, Lileyna, Bozhnitsy, Poshtova and Panska streets spread to different parts of the city like sunbeams.
Now let's make a tour through some of the streets and squares forming the unique personality of Chernivtsi.
The radial-beam principle of street location presuming arrangement of squares was accepted. In the mid XIX century Centralna square was built up with one and two-storey houses. The building of the former Paris hotel still exists (which is now a store at the corner of Holovna and Ruska streets).
House No.7 where Chernivtsi Trade and Economics Institute is now located was built in the second half of the XIX century and is also known as former Under the Black Eagle ("Unter dem Schwarzen Adler”) hotel. At the corner of I.Franko and M.Eminescu streets there was one-storey building of Russia hotel.
It’s hard to believe but two centuries ago this place was a dense forest. In 1800 the municipal government even had to issue an edict to organize wolf hunting to keep the city safe. But a hundred years thereafter those former outskirts were already proudly bearing the name of Elizabeth square featuring multi-storey buildings.
The architectural ensemble of Teatralna ("Theater”) Square with its granite slopes towards the center is one of the most exciting and beautiful Chernivtsi places. A decoration of the square and its key building is Olha Kobylyanska Music and Drama Theater built in 1903-1905 by architects H.Helmer and F.Fellner. The theater is a harmonic combination of neo-baroque and Art Nouveau styles.
Soborna (Eng. "Cathedral”, formerly Austrian and Soviet in different times) Square was named so due to the Descent of the Holy Spirit Cathedral located in its lower part where the Square joins Holovna St.
Opposite to the Cathedral there is a tiny public garden which is the beginning of the city's largest square. Sometimes it was an empty place where two-week crowded fairs with music and various entertainment were arranged every year. Folk actors and musicians performed on temporary wooden stages under the open sky.
Filarmonska ("Philharmonic”) square is cosy and flirty. It’s not surprising that it changed its name so often enjoying the collection of Rudolfplatz, Dacia or Victory Square former names. However, the oldest city residents prefer naming it Mehlplatz ("Flour square”). Bread flour was widely traded here in the first half of the XIX century but then this land plot was taken under detention and occupied by a gunpowder depot, food supply depot (1777), brickyard, military quarters (1787) and a prison (1787). No doubt, the new neighbourhood made the square a gloomy place.
It penetrates the city area like a beam from Centralna square, passing by jolly musicians near the Wedding Palace to make a small stop next to the Holy Spirit Cathedral, and then continuing its rush on to German National House. Like most other streets personifying their cities, Kobylyanska St is not too long (600 m) and pedestrianized. Every tourist will find it wonderful for walking, having a tasty lunch, buying a gift or just a city souvenir.
It won’t be unusual if a Chernivtsi guide starts introducing the city from its old part, the crossing of Holovna and P.Sahaydachniy streets. It was once Fountain square named so for a natural spring which was flowing out here.
The Austrian administration erected its first building, the so-called General’s House, in 1780 at the corner of today’s Holovna, Shkilna and Sholem Aleichem Streets. It neighbours on the austere Roman-Catholic Cathedral of Holy Cross Erection (1787). The high spire of this catholic temple was used as a fire watch point for a long time...
This artery is very pleasant thanks to its quietness and winning location. It provides access to Filarmonska Sq on the right and Teatralna Sq on the left. Universytetska St has several luxury stores. Former Temple synagogue is located in its beginning. Also the street features historical Buildings 1 and 2 of the Chernivtsi National University, Sorbonne Club and the monument to Yuriy Fedkovych, an outstanding Ukrainian writer.