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The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary (former Dominican Church)
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary (former Dominican Church)
Flag of Ternopil
Coat of arms of Ternopil
Coat of arms
Ternopil is located in Ukraine
Location within Ukraine
Country  Ukraine
Oblast Ternopil Oblast
Municipality Ternopil City
 • Mayor Serhiy Nadal (All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda")[1]
 • Total 72 km2 (27.8 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 218,641
 • Density 3,831/km2 (9,920/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+3)
Area code(s) +380 352

Ternopil (Ukrainian: Тернопіль, translit. Ternopil’, Polish & German: Tarnopol, Russian: Тернополь, translit. Ternopol’, Yiddish: טערנאָפּיל‎) is a city in western Ukraine, located on the banks of the Seret River. Until 1944 it was known mostly as Tarnopol, while Ruthenian (Ukrainian) name was not widely mentioned although existed.[2] Ternopil is one of the major cities of Western Ukraine and the historical region of Galicia. It is served by Ternopil Airport.

In 2013 its population was around 217,000.


  • Administrative status 1
  • History 2
    • 20th Century 2.1
    • Invasion of Poland 2.2
    • Jewish Ternopil 2.3
  • Climate 3
  • Education 4
  • Gallery 5
  • Notable residents 6
  • International relations 7
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 7.1
  • See also 8
  • References and notes 9
  • External links 10

Administrative status

The city is the administrative center of the Ternopil Oblast (region), as well as of the surrounding Ternopil Raion (district) within the oblast. However, Ternopil is a city of regional significance, thus being subject directly to the oblast authorities rather than to the raion administration which is housed in the city as well.


The Ternopil Castle rebuilt in the 19th century as a palace
Exaltation of Cross Church, the first city's church
Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

The city was founded in 1540 by Polish commander and Hetman Jan Amor Tarnowski[2] as a military stronghold and a castle (oppidum[2]). On 15 April 1540[2] the King of Poland Sigismund I[2] in Cracow handed to the Crown Hetman permission to establish settlement Tarnopolie[2] in the vicinity of abandoned place of Sopilche (Sopilcze).[2] In 1544 the Ternopil Castle was constructed and repelled its first Tatar attacks. On 20 January 1548 Ternopil was granted German Law by king of Poland Sigismund I the Old who allowed the city to hold annually three fairs and weekly trades on Mondays,[2] yet the Magdeburg city rights Ternopil received two years later from Jan Tarnowski regulating duties of the city's residents.[2] In 1548 the King of Poland also gave permission to created a pond near the Ternopil suburb of Kutkovets.[2] In 1549 the city managed to survive Tatar siege by efforts of the duchess Eudokia Chortoryiska[2] (see Chortoryisky). Since the death of Crown Hetman in 1561, Ternopil became property of his son Jan Krzysztof Tarnowski[2] who died childless in 1567. Since 1567 the city was owned by the daughter of Crown Hetman Zofia Tarnowska who was married to Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski.[2] In 1570 after her death while giving a birth, Ternopil was passed to the Ostrogski family.[2] In 1575 it was plundered by the Tatars. In 1623 the city passed to the Zamoyski family. In 1589 Ternopil was visited by the Austrian diplomat Erich Lassota von Steblau who also mentioned the city's castle.[2]

In the 17th century the town was almost wiped from the face of the Earth in the Khmelnytsky Uprising which drove out or killed most of its Jewish residents. Ternopil was almost completely destroyed by Turkish forces of Ibrahim Shishman Pasha in 1675 and rebuilt by Aleksander Koniecpolski but did not recover its previous glory until it passed to Marie Casimire, the wife of king John III Sobieski in 1690. The city was later sacked for the last time by Tatars in 1694, and twice by Russians in the course of the Great Northern War in 1710 and the War of the Polish Succession in 1733. In 1747 Józef Potocki invited the Dominicanes and founded the beautiful late-baroque Dominican Church (today the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary of the Ternopil-Zboriv eparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church). The city was thrice looted during the confederation of Bar (1768–1772), by the confederates themselves, by the king's army and by Russians. In 1770 it was further devastated by an outbreak of smallpox.

In 1772, after the first partition of Poland, the city came under Austrian rule. In 1809 the city came under Russian rule, which created Ternopol krai there. In 1815 the city (then with 11,000 residents) returned to the Austrian rule in accordance with the Congress of Vienna. In 1820 Jesuits expelled from Polatsk by the Russians established a gymnasium in Tarnopol. In 1843 the last city's owner Jerzy Michal of Turkul sold the city to its residents for 175,000 florins.[2] In 1870 a rail line connected Ternopil with Lviv, accelerating the city's growth. At that time Tarnopol had a population of about 25,000.

Austrian postal card in Polish version cancelled in 1880
A ship "Heroy Tantsorow" on the Ternopil Lake

20th Century

The region was part of Habsburg Galicia and was an ethnic mix of mainly Roman Catholic Poles, Greek Catholic Ruthenians, and Jews. Intermarriage between Poles and Ruthenians was common. In 1908 in the city was consecrated a big parish Church with its main tower reaching 62 m (203 ft).[2] In 1954 the church was blown up by Communist authorities and its place was built the city's central supermarket.[2] During World War I the city passed from German and Austrian forces to Russia several times. In 1917 the city and its castle was burnt down by fleeing Russian forces.[2] After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the city was proclaimed part of the West Ukrainian People's Republic on 11 November 1918. After Polish forces captured Lwów during the Polish-Ukrainian War, Ternopol became the country's temporary capital (22 November to 30 December 1918).[3] After the act of union between Western-Ukrainian Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic (UPR), Ternopol formally passed under the UPR's control. On 15 July 1919 the city was captured[3] by Polish forces. In 1920 the exiled Ukrainian government of Symon Petlura accepted Polish control of Ternopol and of the entire area after receiving the assurance of Józef Piłsudski, the Lithuanian born Field Marshal of the Polish Army, that there would be no peace with the Russians without creating a Ukrainian state. In July and August 1920 the Red Army captured Ternopol in the course of the Polish-Soviet War. The city then served as the capital of the Galician Soviet Socialist Republic. Although the Poles and their Ukrainian allies badly defeated the Russians on the battle field and the Russians had offered to cede Ukraine and Belarus, Polish politicians in Warsaw refused to honor Piłsudski's promise. By the terms of the Riga treaty, the Soviets and Poles effectively partitioned Ukraine. For the next 19 years, the ethnically mixed Ternopol area remained in Polish control.

From 1922 to September 1939, Tarnopol served as the capital of the Roman Paladiychuk and Yaroslav Stetsko, the future leader of OUN.

Invasion of Poland

At the onset of World War II, the [4]

In 2 July 1941 the city was occupied by the Nazi Germans who led the Jewish pogrom,[4] and continued exterminating the population by creating the [4] Many Ukrainians were sent as forced labour to Germany. In the years 1942–1943 the Polish Armia Krajowa was active opposing Nazi rule and defending ethnic Poles from violence from Ukrainian Nationalists. During the Soviet release in March and April 1944, the city was encircled. In March 1944 the city was declared a fortified place (Gates to the Reich) by Adolf Hitler,[2] to be defended until the last round was shot.[2] The stiff German resistance caused extensive use of heavy artillery by the Red Army on March 7–8,[2] resulting in the complete destruction of the city and killing of nearly all German occupants (55 survivors out of 4,500). Unlike many other occasions, where the Germans had practised a scorched earth policy during their withdrawal from territories of the Soviet Union, the devastation was caused directly by the hostilities.[5] Finally Ternopol was liberated by Red Army in 15 April 1944. After the liberation, 85% of the city's living quarters were destroyed.[2] Due to heavy destruction, the regional seat was moved to Chortkiv.[2]

Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, the ethnic Polish population of the Ternopol region was forcibly deported to former German territory near Wrocław (Breslau) as part of Soviet ethnic cleansing of modern-day Ukraine. After World War II Ternopol was rebuilt in typically Soviet style. Only a few buildings were reconstructed.

Euromaidan in Ternopil

Since 1991 Ternopil has been a part of independent Ukraine, along with other cities of western Ukraine. Ternopil has become an important center of Ukrainian national revival.

Jewish Ternopil

Polish Jews settled in Ternopil beginning at its founding and soon formed a majority of the population. During the 16th and 17th centuries there were 300 Jewish families in the city. The Great Synagogue of Ternopil was built in Gothic Survival style between 1622 and 1628.[6] Among the towns destroyed by Bohdan Khmelnytsky during his march from Zolochiv through Galicia was Tarnopol, the large Jewish population of which carried on an extensive trade. Shortly afterward, however, when the Cossacks had been subdued by John III of Poland, the town began to prosper anew, and its Jewish population exceeded all previous figures. It may be noted that Hasidism at this time dominated the community, which opposed any introduction of Western culture. During the troubled times in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the city was stormed (1770) by the adherents of the Confederacy of Bar, who massacred many of its inhabitants, especially the Jews.

After the second partition of Poland, Ternopil came under Austrian domination. Nevertheless, Joseph Perl was able to continue his efforts to improve the condition of the Jews, which he had begun under the Russian rule. In 1813 he established a Jewish school which had as its chief object the instruction of Jewish youth in German as well as in Hebrew and in various other subjects. Controversy between the traditional Hasidim and the modernising Maskilim which this school caused, resulted four years later in a victory for the latter, whereupon the institution received official recognition and was placed under communal control. Starting in 1863, the school policy was gradually modified by Polish influences, and very little attention was given to instruction in German. The Tempel für Geregelten Gottesdienst, opened by Perl in 1819, also caused dissensions within the community, and its rabbi, Samuel Judah Löb Rapoport, was forced to withdraw. This dispute also was eventually settled in favour of the Maskilim. As of 1905, the Jewish community numbered 14,000 in a total population of 30,415. Jews took control of the active import/export trade with Russia conducted through the border city of Pidvolochysk.

In 1941, soon after the [4] with 500 victims murdered on the grounds of the Ternopil's Christian cemetery by local inhabitants using weapons borrowed from the German army.[7] According to interviews conducted by a Roman Catholic priest, Father Patrick Desbois, some of the victims were decapitated.[7] In September 1941, the Germans announced the creation of the Tarnopol Ghetto for Jews still remaining in the city. In the winter of 1941/42, mortality in the ghetto escalated to such a degree that the Judenrat was forced to bury the dead in a common grave. Between August 1942 to June 1943 there were 5 "selections" that depleted the Jewish population of the ghetto by sending the Jews to Belzec extermination camp. A few hundred Jews from Tarnopol and its vicinity attempted to survive by hiding within the town limits. Many were denounced to the Germans, including some 200 people shortly before the Soviets liberated the area. A number of Jews survived by hiding with the Poles.[8] A monument in memory of the Holocaust victims was built at Petrikovsky Yar in 1996.[9]

On September 19, 2012 the monument was desecrated, in what seems to be an anti-Semitic act.[9]


Ternopil has a moderate continental climate with cold winters and warm summers.
Climate data for Ternopil (1949–2011)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.2
Average high °C (°F) −1.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.4
Average low °C (°F) −7.3
Record low °C (°F) −31.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 33.0
Average precipitation days 19.5 18.2 16.3 11.3 11.0 11.4 9.6 8.1 10.0 10.1 15.2 19.4 160.1
Average relative humidity (%) 85.8 84.3 78.6 67.7 67.1 71.6 73.6 73.0 75.8 79.6 86.2 87.0 77.5


Universities include:


Notable residents

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Ternopil is twinned with:

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ (Ukrainian) Мер Тернополя продає побачення з собою, Ukrayinska Pravda (28 December 2011)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Snitovsky, O. Five centuries of Ternopil. The city of Hetman Jan and mason Leontiy. Ukrinform. 28 August 2015
  3. ^ a b The Jewish and German population accepted the new Ukrainian state, but the Poles started the military campaign against the Ukrainian authority. [...]. On November 11, 1918 following bloody fighting, the Polish forces captured Lwów. The government of the WUPR moved to Ternopol and from the end of December the Council and the Government of the WUPR were located in Ivano-Frankivsk.
    (Ukrainian) West Ukrainian People's Republic in the "Dovidnyk z istoriï Ukraïny" (A hand-book on the History of Ukraine), 3-Volumes, Kyiv, 1993–1999, ISBN 5-7707-5190-8 (t. 1), ISBN 5-7707-8552-7 (t. 2), ISBN 966-504-237-8 (t. 3).
  4. ^ a b c d
  5. ^ Karl-Heinz Frieser (Ed.); Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg – Volume 8: Die Ostfront 1943/44 – Der Krieg im Osten und an den Nebenfronten; Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt München 2007; ISBN 978-3-421-06235-2
  6. ^ Sergey R. Kravtsov, "Gothic Survival in Synagogue Architecture of Ruthenia, Podolia and Volhynia in the 17th–18th Centuries," Architectura. Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Baukunst/ Journal of the History of Architecture, vol. 1 (2005), 70.
  7. ^ a b Talking with the willing executioners
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^ Yaroslav Padokh, Chubaty, Mykola in the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  12. ^Новини-Тернополя/news/153824
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

External links

  • Volodymyr Kubijovyč, Roman Mykolaievych, Ternopil in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, article was updated in 2012
  • (Ukrainian) Ternopil City Council
  • (Ukrainian)(English) Ternopil photos
  • Ternopil City Sights
  • Website about Ternopil
  • Historical footage of war damages at Ternopil (1917),
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