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Philharmonic Square

One of the oldest squares of the city centre, which flourished at the Austrian age, is Philharmonic square. The history of this square reaches the end of XVIII century, when the market was situated here, where mostly the flour was traded. From here comes its first name – Flour, or Mehlplatz in German. Apart from the marketplace, at that time here were situated the military storages and regional prison, which was demolished in the middle of the XIX century, when the square was being overbuilt with residential two-storied stone houses. The square started gaining the decent view, that is why it was liked by Chernivtsi music lovers, who cherished a dream about the own concert space. In 1880, after building the house of Musical society here, the square was renamed in the honour of crown prince Rudolph – Rudolfsplatz. By the way, the crown prince himself has visited Chernivtsi somewhat later, in June 1887.

The main building of the architectural ensemble of the square, which has determined the modern name of the square, is the former building of the Musical society – the current regional philharmonics. Yet in 1862, the townsmen have created the “Association for assistance of musical art”. The city authorities have also complied with the requests of music admirers – on June 21, 1873 Chernivtsi magistrate has approved the allocation of a land plot for construction for the Musical society in the eastern part of the then Flour square. On January 29, 1876 a ceremonial laying of the cornerstone in the foundation of the future building took place here, and in November 1877 on the now Philharmonic square a house of Musical society has been solemnly opened.

For decorating the interiors of the building of Musical society, professor painter Karl Jobst from Vienna was invited, who at that time painted the seminary church of the Three Hierarchs in the Metropolitan residence. Bukovinian ethnographer and litterateur L.A. Staufe-Simiginowicz described the impressions caused by the work of the tassel of Vienna painter in the following way: “To everyone who enters the hall of the Society now, smiles the most wonderful painting; each feels spiritually raised by watching the creation of the genial master. On the marvellous gorgeous ceiling, in the decoration of wreaths, the emblems of music are presented, the stained-glass windows, the paintings on the columns, in the garlands of flowers – the names the most prominent composers”.

In the premises of the philharmonics in different times the celebrities who were on tour or worked in Chernivtsi, were giving performances, which is testified by the commemorative plaques of the facade. One of them contains the bust of the prominent Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko, who repeatedly gave concerts with a great triumph here. In different times here performed the golden voice of Ukraine Solomiya Krushelnytska, the pianist Artur Rubinshtein, the singer with the European name of the 1930-s, the native of Bukovina Josef Shmidt, the owners of the incomparable voices Enrico Caruso and Paul Morgans, the French violinist Jacques Thibaud, and others. The famous Jewish artist Sidi Tal worked in Chernivtsi regional philharmonics; here started their ascension to the big stage the People’s artists of Ukraine Sophia Rotaru, Nazariy Yaremchuk, Vasyl Zinkevych, Pavlo Dvorsky and other famous singers.

At the turn of centuries, during the “golden” decades of modernism, new buildings have risen around the square, which have made up decent vicinity for the building of the Musical society. Due to them Rudolfsplatz has obtained a truly European look. During 1905-1906 at the southern side of the square at the expense of local townsmen Josef Landau and Max Meisner the luxurious four-storied house with a corner oriel tower has emerged – the “Bristol” hotel, which has become the architectural dominant of the square and the whole adjacent block. The city legends tell that in its rooms the most expensive Chernivtsi courtesans have accepted their guests. On the ground floor of the hotel a restaurant was situated, where the guests satisfied with life squandered their money. From those times the sumptuous secession inscription “Hotel Bristol” at the top of the facade, and the roof of red tiles there have been preserved. Nowadays, a dormitory of Chernivtsi medical university is situated here.

The Philharmonics square has obtained its modern look as a result of reconstruction in 2004-2005. After removing the Indoor market, which has emerged on the square in the 1930’s, a spacious area with a musical fountain, which is being illuminated at night, has been established in the form of amphitheatre. Near the former “Bristol” hotel, a small park with a stylish metal water pump of the Austrian time has been laid out.


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