Theater Square

Teatralnaya Square

The Theater Square with its charming architectural ensemble is one of the most beautiful in Chernivtsi, and earlier it was reckoned among the best small squares in Europe. Today, looking at this elegant and graceful square, it is hard to believe that, in the late 18th century, it was unremarkable city outskirts merging with the dense forest. Half a century later, small market square was formed. First, people sold corn here, and then - fish. It was even called Fish Square for a long time.

In the late 19th century, it was renamed into Elisabethplatz in honor of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth, the wife of the Imperator Joseph I. Although it got a reputable name, for some time, the square remained a typical marketplace where the townsmen came for foodstuffs. Things changed in 1905, when the building of the Music and Drama Theater was raised here. It rendered the square its modern name and new status and became its key construction.

The magnificent Theater building remains the Theater Square's main adornment for more than a hundred years already and is one of the Bukovina capital's trademarks. Chernivtsi owe this amazing architectural monument that was built over the period of just two years to talented architects from the famous Viennese Fellner and Helmer Company, who built more than forty luxurious theaters throughout Europe, including the famous Odessa Opera House.

Built in the popular at that time style of the Viennese art nouveau, the Chernivtsi Music and Drama Theater is not inferior in its beauty to the best theaters of the Old World. Its facade is decorated with the sculptural composition based on Greek mythology, and the marble busts of world cultural figures - Goethe, Beethoven, Wagner, Shakespeare, etc. - are installed in the walls' niches. Theater's interior strikes with abundance of velvet and gold leaf, which is perfectly preserved to our days. Another remarkable feature of the Chernivtsi Theatre is its unique acoustics.

Upon its origin the theater was named after the German poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller. Then the Music and Drama Theater was renamed after the famous Ukrainian writer, born in Chernivtsi - Olha Kobylyanska. Today her monument stands in front of the theater.

Following the city theater, other original buildings started to appear on the square and in the upshot formed its inimitable look. The true gem of the Theater Square is the amazingly beautiful four-story building of the Jewish People's House combining art nouveau with elements of Baroque and Renaissance. It arrests attention with unusual facade: four Atlantes hold the two upper stories, decorated with pillars and arches, on their shoulders.

Opposite to the Jewish People's House, no less attractive building of the former Chamber of Trade and Crafts stands. Its premises are now occupied by the Bukovina Medical University. Today, the figures of the the fertility Goddess Demeter and the patron of trade and crafts God Hermes, who hold a cornucopia in their hands, remind of the building's initial purpose.

The most controversial building on the Theater Square, whose architecture notably contrasts with other buildings, is the former Romanian People's House, which was turned into the Officers' House in the Soviet times. Built in the constructivist style, the monumental house seemed to overshadow the chamber theater with its giant size. To return the status of the Theatre Square's dominant building to the Music and Drama Theater, it was "raised" - the ground level of the square was artificially reduced by two meters and a two-tier park was laid out here.

In the early 21st century, the Star Alley appeared on the square. The symbolic stars immortalize the names of the famous masters of art - artists and musicians who made Bukovina famous in Ukraine and worldwide.

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