Chernivtsi chĭrnĭft´sē [key], Ger. Czernowitz, Romanian Cernauţi, Rus. Chernovtsy, city (1989 pop. 257,000), capital of Chernivtsi region, SW Ukraine, on the Prut River and in the Carpathian foothills. It is a rail junction and the economic, cultural, and scientific center of the region of Bukovina. Industries, which include woodworking and food processing, are powered by a nearby hydroeletric station. One of Ukraine's oldest towns, Chernivtsi was part of Kievan Rus. It passed to Austria in 1775 and in 1849 became the capital of Bukovina. During the 19th and early 20th cent., the city was a center of a Ukrainian nationalist movement. With the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918, Chernivtsi was transferred to Romania, which held it until the USSR seized N Bukovina in 1940. The city has a university (est. 1875), a 13th-century fortified castle, a 17th-century wooden church, and a 19th-century Orthodox Eastern cathedral.
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