Centralna Square in Chernivtsi
The core of Chernivtsi development during Austrian times was organized around Centralna ("Central”) Square, formerly also known as Ringplatz or Marktplatz.
Centralna Sq during the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
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).
Centralna (then Unirii) Square during the Romanian period (1918-1940)
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.
The square is full of green. Former Schwarzer Adler hotel hiding behind the trees
An important event in the history of the square (as well as of the hole city) development was the construction of the City Hall (1847) which became the administrative center dominating over the city. According to the ancient European tradition it was built in classic style with the use of Tuscan order on the main façade personifying and symbolizing the absolutism idea. The large horizontal body of the building is dominated by the high tower with the carillon symbolizing the monarch and the people subject to him. The municipal government used that clock to check the Vienna time (both figuratively and literary) which was lasting until 1862 when the city got the Magdeburg right thus initiating local self-government.
The City Hall of Chernivtsi
The balcony surrounding the tower provides excellent view on Chernivtsi and a wide panorama of Sadhora located behind the Prut River. Still, during those times the balcony was intended not for viewing the beauty of city parks but had an absolutely practical purpose serving as the fire watch point. The guard was observing the city days and nights and rang the bell if a fire started.
The City Hall of Chernivtsi, the tower with balconies
The City Hall neighbours are former Belle Vue (1865) and Three Crowns (1878) hotels followed by former Habsburg coffee-house (1898) (the latter two now allocate the Chernivtsi Branch of the National Bank of Ukraine).
Former Belle Vue hotel
The formation of the square was finalized by the construction of Bukowiner Sparkasse administration building in 1901 at the place of Russia hotel, which started the Art Noveau era of Chernivtsi architecture. Today the building allocates the Oblast Museum of Arts. The façade and inner scenes of the building are a synthesis of arts where architectural forms are supplemented with sculptures, figurative majolica panel, fresco paintings, stained-glass windows and metalwork. The picturesque dome lamp of the staircase with allegories of economic prospering was made by Mykola Ivasyuk, a Bukovynian artist.
Tiled fresco on former Bukowiner Sparkasse
Former Weiss hotel
The Square as seen from the City Hall front stairs
A closer look. Monument to Taras Shevchenko and the wall poster to Chernivtsi's 600th anniversary
Right-hand side of Centralna Square