Chernivtsi (Ukrainian: Чернівці) is a city in Western Ukraine.


Chernivtsi like every city in the region has long and complicated history. The fortress existed here before 13th century and was destroyed by Mongol invasion, later the settlement was part of Poland, Moldavia and Austria-Hungary (Chernivtsi was the capital of one of the regions - Bukovina, this was the time of greatest development). In 20th century Chernivtsi belonged to Romania, USSR and, since 1991, independent Ukraine.

The city was always very multinational. Groups of Jews, Ukrainians, Romanians, Germans, Poles, Roma, etc. mixed here. In 1930 Jews were 27% of the population, today it's 1.2%. During WWII Chernivtsi was captured by both sides. During the rule of Romanian military dictator Ion Antonescu (Romania was part of Axis forces at that time) around 50,000 Bukovinian Jews were put in the Ghetto built in the city and later moved to concentration camps. Romanian city mayor Traian Popovici and army officers were able to save 20,000 Chernivtsi Jews.


Ukrainian is nowadays the only official language in all of Ukraine (apart from Crimea) and it is also spoken by most of its population (about 70 percent speak it as their first language). Western Ukraine is also the part of Ukraine in which Ukrainian is indeed the strongest language in everyday life.

However, most people you will come across inside Chernivtsi will also speak Russian. If you leave to the surrounding villages, this situation may change. Everyone understands Russian, but some may respond in Ukrainian, a language they feel more comfortable with. Ukrainian is only partially intelligible with Russian.

If you speak Polish or Slovak you may try it as well since these languages are relatively similar to Ukrainian. There is also a Polish minority in Chernivtsi.

As the entire Bukovina used to belong to Romania prior to WWII a large Romanian population in Northern Bukovina (about 20 percent!) still speaks Romanian. This is true mostly for the areas near the Romanian border, rather than the regional capital. As with other Romanian speakers they can also understand Italian and some other Romance languages to a certain extent. English and German are the two most common foreign languages in Ukraine (except Russian) although you should not expect finding many speakers of these languages around. Some Jews in Chernivtsi may speak Yiddish which is intelligible with German and there are some elderly native German speakers.

Get in

By plane

By train

By bus

Get around

The city centre is small and you can manage it all by foot.


Town hall
Former synagogue, now a cinema

The old town is mainly of Baroque style. Most of Chernivtsi's attractions are located within the historical centre. Some of the centre is a pedestrian zone.

Sacred places



Chernivtsi National University


Day tours







There is a good Sushi bar near the theatre.







Post offices

Go next

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