Chernivtsi - city guide: sightseeing, guided tours and trips to Bukovina

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Churches and Cathedrals

The St. Nicholas’ Church is the oldest in Chernivtsi and belongs to wooden temples of Bukovina of a house type. It was built by Mayor of Chernivtsi boyar Stroyesku in 1748. The church is modest and small with one shingle-roofed hall, as it was built in times when Christians were not allowed to build great temples on the land that belonged to the Porte. The building had been restored several times, and after a fire in 1992 completely renewed. At that time it was transferred to the community of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Exaltation of the Cross is located on the former square of the Holy Cross. This is the first stone temple of Chernivtsi centre, which with its high spire has become architectural dominant of the city for a long time. Its construction started in 1787 by the order of Austrian emperor Josef II, who had visited Chernivtsi a year earlier. The emperor himself defined the place for a new stone temple and did not spare money for construction. The building of the church started at once, but it lasted too long – for 27 years! It was unlucky all the time: first, the tower collapsed twice because of miscalculations of the architects, and then it was on fire.

The Church of the Holy Cross is built in the Jesuit style, which determines the pictorial art, sculpture, applied arts of the temple. It has also incorporated a lot of baroque motives. The murals on the walls and the ceiling are filled with stylized floral motives, which symbolize the eternal tree, the tree of life. One can be impressed by the seven Gothic Revival altars, and the organ, which yet in the 70-s of the XIX century has received two medals, in Vienna and in Paris, as the best European organ by the timbre. On the side wall of the holy place the oldest in Western Ukraine sundial has preserved, which still shows Vienna time today.

The need for constructing the new and more spacious temple has emerged among Chernivtsi Roman Catholics yet in the middle of the XIX century. However, only in 1894, due to the intercession of the missionaries of the Jesuit Order, the monastery complex with a stylish church was built, which was consecrated in the honour of the Blessed Heart of the Lord Jesus. The project of the temple was developed by Professor Josef Leitzner – the director of Chernivtsi School of crafts. The church was built as the best gothic temples of the Central-Eastern Europe: it had slender Gothic Revival forms, sophisticated interior, colourful stained glasses. Due to its unusual look for orthodox land, the temple of the Heart of Jesus at once has become one of the architectural zests of Bukovina capital. During the Soviet age the building of the Jesuit church was first transferred by the authorities to the Orthodox Church, but later here was allocated the State archive of Chernivtsi region. Currently the cult edifice has been returned to the religious community of the city.

The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is the main Orthodox church of Bukovina. The first stone into the foundation of the Cathedral was laid on June 1844. The construction was conducted under the supervision of county engineer A. Marin and Vienna architect A. Rholl, and in 1860 the facade of the temple was rebuilt by the project of Josef Hlavka. After 20 years from the having began of works the bishop Yevhen Hakman consecrated the Cathedral. However, the interior decor works were conducted up until the end of the century. This way, still in 1892-1896 the group of artists from Vienna painted the walls. Built in the style of Italian Renaissance, the temple impresses with its majestic beauty. They say that one of the projects of Saint-Petersburg St. Isaac Cathedral, presented to the bishop Y. Hakman during his pilgrimage to Trinity-Sergius Lavra, was taken as a basis. The dominant of the architectural composition of the cathedral is the monumental dome, 46 meters high. Apart from it, the church is crowned by two more domes, and also by two bell towers at the top of both sides of the facade.

There are several orthodox relics preserved in the Cathedral: the tabernacle with the pieces of the hallows of the Saint Great Martyr Varvara, Saint Great Martyr Panteleimon, reverend Job, the Father Superior of Pochayiv; the carry-out oaken cross with the part of the Life-giving Tree, consecrated in the temple of Christ Resurrection in Jerusalem. In March 2006 near the cathedral the monument to the first metropolitan of Bukovina Yevhen Hakman was erected.


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