Chernivtsi Attractions: Kobylyanska Street

Chernivtsi attractions map: area B

GPS: 48°17'29.1''N, 25°56'8.1''E

 

Kobylyanska Street is considered to be a showroom of European architectural styles. Legends about its purity exist till now. One says it was not only swept with brooms but washed with soap every day.

The earliest mention about Kobylyanska Street refers to the last decade of the eighteenth century. It was one of the city exits to the South of the present-day Molodiya Village. As the city developed in the southern direction, no wonder that at the end of the 80-es years of the eighteenth century, the construction began.

The present-day Kobylyanska Street, as a separate street which was called Panska Street, is first mentioned in 1793, though no pans (Sirs) lived there at that time yet. “Panska” – this name sounds a little weird. Why Panska? Obviously, it was the attempt of the local Austrians to multiply Viennese names in some way because one of the old streets of Vien is сalled Panska, though it is not remarkable at all.

 

It is also confirmed by the fact that other streets of Chernivtsi had such a Viennese touch. For example, the present-day Cheljuskintsiv Street was named – Maria Tereza Street. Ukrainska Street, a part of which was first called Lowerpanska and later Josef Street (in honor of Austrian Emperor), is situated a little bit lower.

Obviously, the Austrians wanted to create a Viennese corner for themselves in future, where the very names would remind them the old part of the Empire Capital. Kobylyanska Street was built up with one-storey, more seldom two-storey houses at first. There were no three-storey houses at that time. Their construction began only at the end of the 19-th century. The dates which show when the buildings were built still remain on some of them. One can see it’s the end of the 19-th – the beginning of the 20-th centuries.

It can be approximately defined when the building was built by its architecture style.

The most visited part of Panska Street was its beginning at first because it is closer to Tsentralna Square. It happened because Tsentralna Square was considered to be a city in the city and it was the Chernivtsy citizens’ favorite place for strolls. Obviously, the part of Panska Street adjoined to the square also served as a place for a stroll. Some cafes appeared there. For example, the present-day restaurant “Dnister” is a rather old café. It was called “Vien” or “Viener Cafe” at first. Later it was known as a European café called “Europe”. This name stuck especially in the Romanian period of time when the old Austrian names were changed for some new ones.

 

Panska Street is also famous due to the fact that when Petrivsky Fair started, a tradition appeared: on the opening day of the fair the city flag was carried out of the City Hall, the orchestra was playing and a large crowd of people gathered. The orchestra were the firemen. Then the secretary of the City Hall, accompanied by the orchestra bore that very flag along Panska Street, and crowds of people walked after them.

Panska Street was built up gradually and the old photos show that up the street, where now more or less new houses stand, there were one-storied buildings. They were standing far from each other and there were wooden fences between them. There were gardens behind them and almost no buildings. Between Kobylyanska and Ukrainska streets there was a kind of park recreational zone. It is known that some park attractions were organized in those areas. Beer was sold too and Chernivtsi citizens and guests liked to visit such places, especially in summer.

 

And at the place of house number 23 there used to be a fire brigade. There is even the firemen emblem between the second floor windows above the entrance. A square where the fire carts stood in the courtyard still remained. There were no cars at that time. Barrels with water were brought by the specially equipped carts pulled by horses. At the beginning of the 20-th century special facilities for firefighters were established in Lesya Ukrainka Street. They still remain there.

 

Cobbles, with which the whole street was paved at the beginning of the 20-th century, were of great importance. They were one of the first in the city. And the sidewalks were made of large stone slabs. This kind of pavement is preserved before the National History Museum. It is strong and can serve for more than one century if looked carefully. That is probably the reason why this street became pedestrian – there was no dust! Another reason is that there were many cafes. By the way, cafe “Vien” was extremely popular among respectable people. Some very important institutions of not only commercial nature, like bank branches and Bukovina Religious Foundation Directorate were also situated in Panska Street. Its building was constructed in 1878. Now a local history museum is situated there.

 

Bukovina Religious Foundation was the richest organization in our region, an institution which owned about one fourth part of the best lands and forests in the Carpathians, mostly in the southern Bukovina and partially in the western.  The Foundation led a very brisk timber trade in large scale throughout Europe. And it gave huge profits. Such famous buildings as the Cathedral, the church of St. Paraskeva and finally – Residence of Bukovyna metropolitan bishops – the most beautiful and impressive building in Chernivtsi, were built for that money.

 

There were also some important public buildings, which appeared at the beginning of the 20-th century in Panska Street. These are People’s Houses first of all: Polish National House, where the musical schoool is situated nowadays. Recently, however, a part of this building belongs to Mitskevych Polish Society. Poles bought this house at the beginning of the 20-th century and rebuilt it during 1904-1905. A very beautiful hall was built and then used for their social needs.

A little bit further on the opposite side of the street German community, having bought a good plot of land, had built a very imposing German National Home in 1909-1910. It was built in the ancient German Gothic style. There were many halls, including a large theatre hall, which was sometimes used as a concert hall, sometimes as a cinema. German community built this building for their own money without using the state treasury support.

 

 

The street was called Panska for some time (Strada Domnyaske) and about in 1922 it was officially renamed into Yanku Flondora Street. In the autumn of 1944 this street was finally renamed into Olga Kobylyanska Street. Then the museum of the writer and the theatre named after her were opened. The great Ukrainian writer and community activist was honored in this way. We have long been accustomed to this name of a beautiful pedestrian street, which is loved by all Chernivtsi citizens. If the central square is the heart of our city, then Kobylyanska Street is its artery.