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Chernivtsi University, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, or commonly known as Chernivtsi National University, is well regarded today as a leading Ukrainian institution of higher education. While the university boasts premier academia and research in its 16 colleges, a significant part of the institution’s allure is owed to its rich history (“History of the University”). Over the period of over 150 years, the university has borne witness to numerous regime changes, and as a result, the university has been restructured many times. Since its establishment, the university has been home to world-renowned European scientists and researchers, including economist J. Schumpeter, lawyer G. Gross, historian R. Kaindl, Slavic scholars O. Kaluzhnatskyi and S. Smal'-Stots'kyi, and composer and writer S. Vorobkevych (“History of the University”).

The university was founded in 1875 by a royal decree by Franz Josef, then Emperor of Austro-Hungary (Zhukovsky). The university was originally named as “Franz-Josefs Universitat'' until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918 (Zhukovsky). During this time, the school operated with German as the primary language of instruction and conducted additional instruction on Ukrainian and Romanian literature (“Chernivtsi University”). After 1918, the university’s hometown of Northern Bukovina was annexed by the Romanian Empire, and the University was renamed “Universitatea Regele Carol i din Cernăuţi.” Until 1940, the university was largely Romanized, with Romanian now acting as the primary language of instruction (Zhukovsky).

In 1940, the university was once again restructured after the annexation of Northern Buknovia by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and renamed “Chernivtsi State University”. At this time, the primary language of instruction was changed to Ukrainian and the school expanded rapidly. By the 1970s, the university had upwards of 10,000 students and the science departments were strongly developed (“Chernivtsi University”). In 1989, the university was renamed for the last time to honor a great Ukrainian scholar of the mid-19th century and native of Buknovia, Yuriy Fedkovych. The university was awarded National status in 2000, and so it remains known as “Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University” until today (Bilous, 2019).

Visiting Chernivtsi National University is akin to witnessing a scene straight out of a movie. The beautiful campus is home to marvelous architecture built with Byzantine and Roman styles (“About Chernivtsi”). In fact, the university’s location at the Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans complex was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2011 (UNESCO). Each building in the Residence is covered with intricate tiling reflecting traditional Buknovian folk style (“About Chernivtsi”). Chernivtsi National University is a hidden gem in an alluring country, and its rich history is waiting to be explored by all travelers who have the opportunity to visit!


“About Chernivtsi.” Bukovina State Medical University,

Bilous, Marusia. 2019.

“Chernivtsi National University - Ukrainian Harvard.” Itinari, August, 2019.

“Chernivtsi University.” Wikipedia,

“History of the University.” Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University,

Zhukovsky. “Chernivtsi University.” Encyclopedia of Ukraine,

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