The most widespread version maintains that Chortkiv came into being in 1522 not far away from the castle of the nobleman Jerzy Czortkowski; hence the name of the city. However, sometimes people link this name with the pagan god Chornobog (Black God), with Chortova dolyna (Devil’s Valley), or even with the Cossack Chorny (Black) by name.
To all appearance the inhabitants were not satisfied with this name, and they were ready to name it Bohorodychne (Our Lady’s town). In the early 17 th century Chortkiv became the property of the nobleman S. Holski. He rebuilt and fortified the castle. However, his efforts proved useless during the Cossack war of 1648. Because of the fortress’s fatal location the Cossacks had no problem to take it. Having survived the stay of the Turkish troops, its being a Carmelite convent, and warehouses, in the 20 th century the fortress turned into ruins once and for all. In 1672, after the Buchach treaty was signed, Chortkiv was transferred to Turkey. Eleven years later Austria, and in the 19 th century Poland, came to take Turkey’s place. So it is no wonder that the city’s location close to the frontier told upon its architecture. It is worth spending some time to searching for and looking at the old villas located close to Zelena str.
In the early 20 th century the Jews made up one third of Chortkiv’s population; an important Hasidic center founded in 1860 by Saddik David Moshe Fridman (1838-1902) was operating in the town. The remains of the Main (1680 s) and New (arch. Hans Goldkremer) synagogues, and the saddik’s palace (now young technicians’ station, 45 T. Shevchenko St.) have been preserved to this day. Until the mid-20 th century Chortkiv remained a pilgrimage for the Jews from different parts of Europe.
The local town hall (S.Bandera St.) cannot but surprise one by its architecture, unusual for Ukraine. This style is characteristic of German fachwerk buildings (1926-1930) (arch. Yu. Kutsefsky and A. Drazhniovksy). On the small tower of the town hall there was installed a clock made by the “AOSTA” company of Bern, its top being decorated with a weathercock. A few steps aside in the direction of Stary Rynok Square (Old Market Sq.) there are located old administrative buildings. Part of the town hall and the square serves as a market-place as before. The Dominican Church of the Virgin and St. Stanislaw (2 T.ShevchenkoSt.lwas built in 1619 near the market square, beside a defensive monastery (1610). In the 19 th century professor V.Sas-Zubricki proposed to introduce neo-Gothic style for the rebuilding of the church. The work was carried out by arch. T.Taliovski. The combination of brick and sandstone in the construction of the church produces a pleasant impression. The sculptures of the saints were made by Ch. Stovp and D.Stankevych.
During World War I the military removed the church bells and melted them into cannons. In 1946, after disastrous times of the war, Soviet power made Dominican monks leave the church and the monastery. There they organized storage facilities. It was only in 1989 that the temple was revived.
The Assumption Church (1581-1584, Lomonosov St.) was built on money of the furrier D.Drachuk and shoemaker H.Zhuravel. In 1593, 1617, and 1640 it was destroyed by enemies. A unique three-aisled temple of a cottage type, with a gable roof, it is the only church of this type in Podolia.
The Ascension Church (1630, Zaliznvcha St.) is an excellent example of Ukrainian wooden architecture. First it was built without a single nail. Several times it was on fire during enemy assaults. The last great reconstruction of the temple took place in 1717. While the city belonged to the Polish State, the Ukrainian community took special care of the church. To get more detailed information pay a visit to Chortkiv Museum of Local Lore.