August 1, 2013

0777 UKRAINE (Chernivtsi Oblast) - Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans (UNESCO WHS)

At first glance, this building - erected by Austrians for the Orthodox Christians (mainly Romanians, but also Ukrainians and Ruthenians), after the designs of a Czech architect (Josef Hlávka), who combined the Byzantine and Moorish styles, but added several Stars of David on the clock tower - seems to be an oddity. For who knows the history of the city it is not so. Located on the upper course of the River Prut, Chernivtsi (Cernăuţi in Romanian) was part of Principality of Moldavia even since its establishment as a sovereign state in 1359 until 1774, when Habsburgs annexed the northern part of Moldavia and named it Buchenland (Bukovina).    

In 1782, the Bishop seat was moved from Rădăuţi to Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), where was built in haste a residence. In 1790 part of the building collapsed and the rest was demolished, so the bishop was obliged to move in rented rooms. Between 1864 and 1882 was erected a new building (the one from the postcard), actually an complex which included not only the bishop's palace, but also a monastery, administrative offices, meeting halls (the Synodal Hall, the Red Hall, and the Green Hall), a library (the Blue Hall), a choir school, a museum of church art, a seminary building with a church (dedicated to the Three Holy Hierarchs) and a chapel (dedicated to the Saint John the New of Suceava).

It is said that Eugenie Hacman (1793-1873), bishop of Bukovina, afterwards archbishop of Czernowitz and metropolitan of Bukovina and Dalmatia, was good friend with chief rabbi Lazar Igel, and the Jewish community contributed substantially to the construction of the complex. That is why the clock tower is decorated with Stars of David, as I wrote before. At the time of the annexation of Bukovina by Austrian Empire, in this region "most residents belonged to the Romanian people (rumänischer Volksstamm)", but due to the recently Russo-Turkish War it was depopulated, so the Vienna authorities encouraged the immigration of the Germans, Slovaks, Hungarians, Poles and Russians.

On the other hand, after 12 years of military administration, in 1786  Bukovina was incorporated in Galicia, so that Ukrainians, Ruthenians and Jews were able to establish in region, encouraged by economic and religious freedom. As a result, the Romanians percentage dropped from 85.33% (1774) to 34.1% (1910), while that of the Ukrainians increased from 10.66% (1774) to 38.4% (1910), and of the Jews from 0.7% (1774) to 12.8% (1910). In Chernivtsi, the Jews percentage was much higher, reaching 32.8% (1910). Following these changes, Bukovina became in public consciousness a "Switzerland" of Eastern Europe, the provincial capital, Chernivtsi, gaining the flattering title of "Little Vienna". In this context, the presence of Stars of David on such a building is no longer strange.

In 1918, after the Austria-Hungary's collapse, Bukovina became part of Romania, the country formed in 1859 by the union of the principalities of Moldavia (that included Bukovina until 1774) and Wallachia. Bukovina's union with Romania was ratified even in the Synodal Hall of this complex. In 1940, as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the northern half of this region (therefore also Chernivtsi) was annexed by Soviets. Between 1941 and 1944 it became again part of Romania, then being ocupied and annexed one more time by Soviet Union.

The Residence was looted and damaged during WWII. When the region came under Soviet control, the theological faculty was closed down, and the buildings had been used for storage, many of the murals being painted over. When the buildings began to be restored in 1955, they were transferred to the town's university, and some of the original features was restored. Since 1991 Bukovina become part of Ukraine, as successor state of the former USSR, and extensive restoration was carried out from 2004 onwards, resulting eventually in the ensemble being inscribed by UNESCO in its list of World Heritage Sites in 2011.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of a series of two, issued on June 2, 2013, and depicting the  works of Yuliya Zadorozhnaya and Eugene Belobraghin - contestants of the Ukrainian children and youth creativity contest Equal opportunities - through the eyes of children, organized by the UNICEF fund in the year 2007.The second stamp, depicting English Oak / Quercus robur (2,00 UAH), is part of a large definitive stamps series about leaf and fruits, about which I wrote here.

Chernivtsi - Wikipedia
Bucovina istorică (Evoluţie geopolitică şi demografică), studiu de Prof dr Traian Valentin Poncea - Portalul basarabenilor din România
Bucovina. Trecut, prezent şi perspective - Official website of University "Ştefan cel Mare" from Suceava

Sender: Nika / nika_bp  (postcrossing) UA-698704
Sent from Kiev (City of Kiev / Ukraine) on 25.07.2013

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