Also called the Little Wien, this elegant town in Ukraine is right across the border from my own hometown. I’ve always been fascinated about its charm and well kept, multicultural backdrop. I love saying that Chernivtsi, even if it’s not a big city, has so many cultural identities – and that’s what makes it so special.
I’m very excited to share with you 6 of my favorite places in Chernivtsi, where I go back again and again. Here are 6 places that are by no means easy to ignore or forget:
1. Olha Kobylianska Street
Olha Kobylianska is a lovely, pedestrian street you cannot miss. Located right next to the Central Square and the Town Hall, the place is inviting you to walk and stare around. It was named after a Ukrainian writer and women’s rights activist who resided here and celebrated the region in her works.
Bordered by elegant houses, the romantic cobbled street is a popular attraction for travelers and certainly a favorite one for locals. Passing by, you will find a lot of great places: bookstores, museums, pubs, terraces and even a cinema. Don’t be surprised by the artists playing the saxophone, dancing and painting portraits — it’s just the street’s daily vibe. And what an animated, artsy and elegant vibe it has!
Nope, you’re not in Wien, or Prague — this is, indeed, a small town from Ukraine, a town which proves to us that there’s no need to be a fancy capital to have class, style and lots of fun places.
2. Chernivtsi National University
Founded in 1875 by Franz Josepfs, Chernivtsi National University will make your heart sing as soon as you set your eyes on it. Just picture it: a red brick building with gravel walkways and lots of green spots all around will immediately take you to an imaginary trip to an old English campus.
About 15000 students are intellectually enlightened in this beautiful complex. The university’s yard is crossed by a chic pebble path, guarded by a vigilant bodyguard, who won’t allow anyone to walk on it. The passage’s pebbles have played a special role for the past five hundred years: they help keep a proper level of moisture in the complex area, which helps preserve the red bricks. That’s why the high, imposing buildings still look as if they were built days ago.
Chernivtsi National University was recognized in 2005 by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site and inside you will find one of the largest libraries in the country and the first library in Bukovina. It’s called Krayova Library and carefully hosts numerous books and manuscripts written in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Russian, Ukrainian, Austrian, Yiddish and several other languages. The Scientific Library includes many fascinating departments.
This place is so captivating and delightful that it took me over an hour to explore its splendor. And guess what? I can’t wait to visit it again!
3. City Hall
This astonishing monument was built in the 19th century and became the market square’s precious decoration. Chernivtsi’s city hall is, undoubtedly, one of the most distinguished places in the town. Proudly crowning the market square, the City Hall’s 50-meter high clock tower features a beautiful observation deck, which will offer you incredible panoramic views over the entire town.
Back in 2004, a new tradition was born in Chernivtsi: at noon (12 o’clock sharp, to be more precise) a trumpeter wearing the national costume has played Marichka (a masterpiece composed by local artist Stepan Sabadash) on all the four sides of the world, just under the City Hall’s clock tower. Now imagine what the citizens and guests crowd had the chance to listen to that day.
Almost as lucky as they were, you and I are now able to enjoy this magnificent building and capture its beauty on our photo camera. Oh, and maybe take some selfies, why not? Say “City Hall!”