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Theatre Square

At the end of the XVIII century, at the place where now Teatralna square is situated, there were the outskirts of the city, after which a dense forest began. There were situated the military purveyance storages later, which were demolished at the beginning of the XX century, when the active construction started at the square. In the middle of the XIX century, the grain was traded at the square. Later the grain trade was relocated to another place, and instead of that, the fish traders took a fancy to the square, which is why it has obtained the name of Fish square – Fischplatz. At the end of XIX century this square was officially named after the monarchic person – after the name of Elizabeth. Until the end of XX century, in spite of the pompous name, Elisabethplatz remained average market square, which the townsmen visited except for buying food. The reincarnation of this small-town and market square into the spectacular and stylish European square has occurred due to constructing of the new city theatre in 1904-1905 here.

The building of the music and drama theatre is one of the most renowned architecture memorials, which adorns the city for more than hundred years. Chernivtsi theatre is the creation of the famous Vienna firm of Fellner and Helmer, known in Europe with construction of 43 theatres, among which are Vienna and Odessa theatres. He was erected for some 14 months, and by its beauty did not concede to the best theatres of Europe. About this embodiment of artistic ambitions of Chernivtsi citizens the Austrian publicist G. Heinzen spoke well: Chernivtsi theatre is a dream made of velvet and gold, projected by Vienna architects Helmer and Fellner. And still they were invited to work in Chernivtsi only after the theatres in Vienna and Odessa were constructed by their projects. Chernivtsi theatre is a monument to Chernivtsi townsmen, who are acquainted with culture, and who most of all were afraid to gain a reputation of a province and aspired not to concede to the respected metropole of Vienna in anything.

The first stone into the foundation of the future theatre was laid on August 1, 1904, and yet on October 3, 1905 its official opening took place. The theatre is constructed in the style of Vienna secession with prevailing of Renaissance style elements. The facade of the edifice is adorned with arch portal with two pairs of columns on the sides and the sculptural composition with Apollo with a lute surrounded by the characters of antique dramas. The bas-relief medallions of William Shakespeare and Richard Wagner are installed above the windows of the facade in the surrounding of muses. In the tympanums above the windows of sidewalls, the marble busts of the prominent personalities of world culture are located. The interior decor is performed in baroque style with combination of white and golden tones, which endows it with elegance. The foyer and the hall for spectators are luxuriantly decorated with carving and neo-baroque sculptures. Once the monument of Schiller stood in front of the theatre, nowadays in this place the bronze Olha Kobylyanska sits, after whom is the theatre named today.

In 1908 on the right side from the theatre the sophisticated four-stories building in the style of modern with additions of baroque and Renaissance has emerged, where the Jewish people’s house has been situated – JudischesHaus. The building has two facades: one faces Steinberg street, the other one – Teatralna square. On the facade which faces Teatralna square, the architectural and art image has been created: the four atlantes carry the two upper floors, droned with composition of four columns and arch. In this shape one can see the freely interpreted depiction of the Jewish sacred arc of the Testament.

The appearance of the Jewish house has complemented the picture of variety of the national life of Austrian Chernivtsi, represented at that time by the people’s houses of Ukrainian, Romanian, Polish and German communities. The JudischesHaus has been taken away from the Jewish community of the city, when the state flags started changing on the city hall. The Jewish public organizations have returned to their people’s house only at the beginning of the 90-s, in the independent Ukraine. They were located on the first floor, the rest of the rooms of the Jewish house are occupied by the city palace of culture. Recently a museum of history and culture of the Jews of Bukovina has been opened here, where the period of existence of the Jewish community from the end of the XVIII to the middle of the XX century is represented chronologically. The expositions of the museum contain original books, documents, postcards, authentic household items, objects of religion and other interesting showpieces.

On the left side from the theatre along the whole square the majestic four-storied building of the former Trade and crafts chamber is located, where now the Medical University resides. It has emerged in 1909, this way narrowing the Teatralna square for no less than third. The chamber was built in the style of Vienna secession, by which it has made a decent company for other modern buildings of Teatralna square. About its former purpose testifies the attic on the facade, in the centre of which are located the sculptures of antique gods – patrons of trade and crafts Mercury and Gaia. They hold the cornucopias in their hands on the facade above the windows of the second floor the enamel shields are located with the depiction of the symbols of crafts.

Behind the former Trade and crafts chamber the building of regional administration was constructed in 1904-1906, as the Palace of justice: at that time here were operating the regional court and chamber of advocates. The author of the project – Vienna architect Franz Skovron – has stylized the Renaissance Florentine palace of the XV century in the general image of the building, but reinterpreted in the spirit of modern. In the revetment of the exterior walls of the building the red and green glazed bricks were used, the facade is decorated with varicoloured majolica insertions with flowers and inscriptions in Latin “lex” – the law. The regional administration is guarded by two majestic lions, which calmly sit at the sides of the main entrance to the building. Each of them holds with is paws a cartouche in front of itself. Which is why this stone building is also called “the house with the lions”.

In year 2000 the “Alley of stars” – masters of arts of Bukovina, was founded at Teatralna square. During the opening of the Alley, 31 star were “lighted”. During 7 years there appeared 9 names, and in 2008 – 4 more stars. Here are gathered dozens of glorious names of singers and musicians, who started their ascending to the big stage in Chernivtsi. There are personalities among them who are well known both in Ukraine and in the whole Europe.


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