There are not many universities in Ukraine, which are taken on tours, and the buildings themselves belong to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is just about the Chernivtsi National University named after Fedkovich.
The beauty and monumentality is impossible to convey even with the best camera, so you have to go here in person to hear the many interesting stories of this place.
How Chernivtsi University was born
The original purpose of this architectural complex was to be the residence of the Archbishops of Bukovyna and Dalmatia. These grandiose buildings were purpose-built to house the church, buildings for official receptions and their candle factory.
The architect of the future Chernovtsy University was then a young architect from the Czech Republic, Josef Glavka. He won the competition for construction among many projects, although at that time the young man did not yet have much practical experience.
The construction of the ensemble took almost 20 years and the result was a mixture of Gothic, Moorish building art, Romanesque and Byzantine culture.
There is a legend that bricks made on the spot were used for the construction. There is also a legend that hens’ eggs and decay products of livestock were mixed into the mortar. Cows and bulls were bred and slaughtered on the construction site.
And this is not the only legend of Chernovetsky University!
When the construction was over, an arboretum was laid out behind the university and a chic French-style garden was created. To this day, this garden is still kept in perfect order and there are many tourists taking breathtaking pictures.
Excursion to Chernovetsky University
I was on campus in 2016 and 2023. It is possible to enter here with a guided tour. The university has tour guides for such purposes. In 2023, due to martial law, only citizens of Ukraine were allowed in. When a group gathered at the gate, it was taken away and first taken to the church.
The Church of the Three Holy Hierarchs is one of the three buildings of the University of Chernovtsy. It has functioned since the very beginning of the diocese and was not closed even under Soviet rule. The Communists never dared to take down the crosses and turn the shrine into an archive or a warehouse, as they liked to do. Moreover, this building houses several departments where students study.
The church is very beautiful. The subdued light, the blue reflections of the sunlight streaming through the glass in the dome. It is cool and warm at the same time. The air is smoky with incense.
Here you can shoot with a camera and here is a guide’s room where you have to pay for the tour.
Then tourists are led through the garden to the main building. It is a massive building with stone benches in front of the entrance. Inside, in the front corridor, everything is stone and cold. There are several statues. One of them is called “Mama Austria.” There is a story that this statue had been standing in Chernovtsy for a long time and was lost during the revolution of 1917. It was found on the construction site during the Independence of Ukraine. The modern artists decided to make a copy at their own creative discretion, and the statue went on a tour of European cities for many years. After a while it came back and began to decorate the lobby of the university.
Еще в холле стоят мраморные колонны и приспособление для чистки ног (очень старый раритет).
A staircase leads to the second floor and tourists are led to a large hall. The church officials used to meet here. The halls are very large and were heated with special steam pipes. Today these are thoroughly restored rooms – the originals were destroyed in the arson of the university in 1944. The arson took place just at the moment of the Red Army’s entrance to Chernivtsi, and now neither the motives nor the executors are unknown.
They used to let tours on the balcony, but this time the door was closed.
We walked back and forth down the corridor and then back out into the big courtyard.
In the yard, among the garden and paths is a large space with pebbles. It is not just a decoration, but an ingenious drainage. Visitors and students are forbidden to walk on it. And only on the first and last academic day the freshmen and graduates can come out here – such a wonderful tradition at the Chernovtsy University.
There is also one building on campus that is a mystery to me. It’s a candle factory. It’s just not clear what’s there now and whether it works at all. Perhaps there is an academic building there, too…
How much does an excursion to Chernivtsi University cost
I paid 60 UAH per adult for the tour. So there is no time for a tour of the University of Chernivtsi. You need to come here and wait for a specialist.
Chernivtsi University Arboretum
I would also like to note that they did not let us into the university’s arboretum. Neither this time, nor in the last visit, tourists were not allowed there. They said it was connected with the war. And in the arboretum of the University of Chernovtsy there is a bust of Josef Glavka. The park itself is fenced with a stone wall 3 meters high.
In the old days there were many gardeners working here, and they were all required to have a higher education.
In addition to the wall, the isolation of the park from the outside world is provided by exotic and familiar to Bukovyna trees planted along the perimeter. There is also a spruce, the same age as the university. Behind the monument to Glavka was a well with mineral water.