Bukovinian Metropolitan’s Residence (Chernivtsi University)
This peculiar building charms with its wonderful beauty and majesty. It is the main treasure of Chernivtsi and the pride of the local residents. The unique complex, in which different architectural styles are harmoniously combined, serves as a real decoration of the capital of Bukovina and leaves an indelible trace in the soul of everyone who is lucky enough to see it.
Residence of the Metropolitans owes its origin to the Bishop Yevhen Hakman, who in the 19th century persuaded the Austrian monarch Franz I in the necessity of an adequate building for the Bukovinian priests. A young Czech architect, Josef Hlavka, was charged with designing the building, and construction was carried out by the proven masters of the time. Each brick was carefully tested before it was laid in the wall of the building, and organic materials (like eggs) were added to the grout in order to make it stronger.
This exceptional architectural masterpiece, whose construction took 18 years, absorbed elements of Romance and Byzantine styles, and is also flavored with Mauritanian, Gothic, and Bukovinian motifs. The building’s weight was balanced by many elegant decorative details. All this created a surprisingly beautiful and harmonious ensemble.
The Metropolitan’s Residence complex consists of three buildings, built around a spacious park and protected by massive gates. The first building is the chapel. To the right is the Seminary building, where until today remains the Church of Three Hierarchs; its acoustics are the best in Ukraine. The Monastery building with deacon’s school rounds out the trio.
Many wonder, by the way, why the deacon tower’s cupola is decorated with the Star of David. Jewish organizations in Chernivtsi helped the Orthodox community to collect the money needed to constructthe Metropolitan's Residence, and the friendly relationship between the two confessions was immortalized in this way.
The interiors of the Residence are as impressive as its exterior. The most luxurious are the halls of the main Metropolitan building. The Marble Hall, decorated with different sorts of marble, was considered to be the most beautiful in Europe at its time. Draped with thin Chinese silk, decorated with huge Venetian mirrors, and trimmed with carved wood, the Red Hall is certainly no less inferior!
Today, several faculties of the Chernivtsi National University occupy the buildings of the Metropolitan's Residence. Nearby is the comfortable University Park, whose architecture and landscape have been preserved almost intact.