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Ivano-Frankivsk

Ivano-Frankivsk is a picturesque city located between the. Bystrytsia-Nadvimianska and Bystrytsia-Solotvynska rivers. It was first mentioned in 1437. However, the official date of its foundation is considered 1662, when A. Potocki named it in honor of his son Stanislaw, and granted it Magdeburg right. Fortifications of wood were raised at that time. In 1679-1682 they were reconstructed under the supervision of architect K. Benoe. A. Potocki died in 1691 and the city passed to his son Josef. The intersection of trade routes attracted craftsmen and merchants. As a result an influential Armenian settlement appeared in the city. In 1769 most of the Armenians left the city for Hungary. In 1772 Stanislaw, as well as the rest of Galicia, became part of the Austrian Empire. In 1801, because of the owners’debts, the city was nationalized. In 1868 there was a major conflagration, which started at the estate of Mr. G.Lotringer (34 T.Shevchenko St.). After reconsturction the city acquired a new architectural appearance. With time Stanislaw turned into an important economic and cultural center. In the early 20 th century it was the capital of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic for several months. Its present-day name the city obtained in 1962. Many inhabitants of Western Ukraine like to use the shortened name “Frankivsk.” Some people use exclusively the old name -Stanislaw. In 1950 the local Communists were about to realize the initiative of Moscow, renaming it Stalinsk of Sub-Carpathian Land. On April 15, 1990, long before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian national flag was hoisted over the town hall Ivano-Frankivsk is an important transit center for traveling to the mountain localities of the Sub-Carpathian regions.

Ivan Franko, whose name was given to the city, became ac¬quainted with Stanislaw in 1880, when he was at the casemate of the town hall, be¬ing deported from Kolomyia to the village of Nahuevychi. Later the poet visited the city more than once, which is evinced by numerous me¬morial plaques on the facades of buildings.

Before setting out for a trip it is worth sightseeing round the city’s old section. Most of the memorials are situated near Rynok (Market) Square, M. Hrushevsky St., Nezalezhnist (Independence) and T.Shevchenko streets.

Railway remains the most convenient kind of transport to come to Frankivsk. The pleasant atmosphere reigning in the city enables you to immerse yourself into the “Austrian” times nostalgic for many Galicians. The railway station is an important architectural monument. The construction of the main building and platform coincided in time with the building of the railway in 1866. As a matter of fact the branch line Lviv – Frankivsk – Chernivtsi is third in Ukraine as regards its age. Of special interest are the moldings of the platform with Moresque elements, which create a laconic and at the same time exquisite style of modernist Renaissance. On January 13, 1897, the platform was lit with electric lamps made by  “Siemens and Galke” company. The vault of the vestibule is 20 meters high.

The town hall is a notable architectural structure .The present-day structure is surrounded mostly by buildings raised in the 19 th century. It was executed in constructivist style and has an original top. It was built in place of the first and second town halls. The basements of the previous town halls were used as dungeons for Hutsulian “Robin Hoods”- the opryshky. Oleksa Dovbush (opryshky leader) historico-memorial museum is situated nearby (1 I.Mazepa St., tel.: 25729). At the corner of the present-day building there is a memorial plaque attesting that Vasyl Bayurak, one of the opryshky leaders, was executed in the square on April 25,1754. During the execution the convict asked to fulfill his last wish: to let him play Hutsulian pipe, thereby demonstrating contempt for his executioners.

The present-day building of the town hall is the highest in the city (49.5 m.). It is occupied by Museum of Local Lore. Recently a trumpeter began to play a fine tune at noon on its tower. Beside the Market stands the imposing four-storied building of Stanislaw railway board of directors. Today the building belongs to Medical University. Across the street there are two towers of the former Jesuitic church. The construction of the baroque temple (architects S.Potocki, H.Dalke) began in 1720, but from 1752 through 1763 it was fundamentally reconstructed. After 1774, when the Jesuitic order was liquidated, it was reconstructed again several times. In 1849 the church was handed over to the Greek-Catholic community.

Today, on entering the Church of the Resurrection, you will find yourself in the atmosphere of pro-Byzantine interior with a beautiful iconostasis and wonderful mural paintings executed by Yu. Makarevych, A. Manastyrsky, and M.Sosenko.

The history of the Jesuitic Collegium, added to the church, began in 1715, when the Jesuitic priest T.Zalensky settled in the city. One year later he opened an educational institution in Stanislaw. Today it is the building of Medical University. In 1744, with the financial support of Potocki, the building was reconstructed in compliance with Baroque taste. From 1 784 until the outbreak of WW I it was a German gymnasium, and later, a Polish secondary school. In 2001 the sculptural composition “The Virgin in Rotunda” was erected in front of the building (sculptor S.Toporkova, architect O.Kozak).

The parochial Roman Catholic Church the city’s oldest structure executed in baroque with some elements of Renaissance. From 1669 a branch of Krakow academy was attached to the church. In 1680 Andriy Potocki brought there the relics of St. Vincent from Rome. A. Potocki perished in 1683 in a battle against the Turks near Vienna. According to his will his body, but his heart, was buried in Stanislaw. Today the remains of Andriy Potocki and his son Stanislaw are lying in the Roman Catholic Church. Their altar was decorated by masters of Thomas Gudder and Conrad Kuchenreiter’s studio. In 1877 paintings by Erasmus-Rudolf Fabian appeared in the church. In Soviet time the temple was “re-profiled,” and it was only after 2000 that the church was restored and the ruined bell tower (first version 1774) was built anew. From 1980 it has been occupied by Art Museum. Which has an interesting collection of sacral and classic paintings by Western Ukrainian artists.

The Armenian Church is an example of late baroque. It is the remains of Armenian presence in the city. Apart from aforementioned trade and handicrafts the Armenians often came out as mediators in redeeming Ukrainian prisoners-of-war from Turkish captivity. Among well-known figures of the Armenian community mention should be made of S. Baronch, J.Teodorovych, and bishop l.lsakovych whose epitaph is in the Armenian Cathedral in Lviv. A wonder- working icon of the Virgin was kept in the Church for a long time. Before the Second World War it was transferred to Gdansk in Poland. The interior of the temple is decorated with sculptures by M. Poleyovsky, and mural paintings by Ya. Soletsky. In Soviet time the church was converted into an atheism museum. Today it is the Intercession Cathedral of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

Before World War II the city of Stanislaw had a large Jewish community. There were more than thirty Jewish chapels in the city. Today one synagogue remained in the center of town0. The temple was built in 1899 after the design of the Viennese architect V.Stiasny. During laying its foundation a stone was dug out with a Cyrillic inscription testifying that previously the Church of the Resurrection had stood in this place.

After difficult life of the post-war years, in 1993 the synagogue was returned to believers. Before the synagogue there was erected a memorial sign in memory of tragic events that took place in the city, when in 1943 the Nazis burst into the local theater, arrested many citizens, and shot part of them. The rabbi stays at the synagogue daily from 10.00 to 13.00. Morning service is celebrated on Saturday at 10 o’clock.

Not far away from the Market there is A. Mickiewicz Square with the monument to the poet (1898, sculptor T.BIotsky). The bronze figure of the poet is the second version; the first one, made of white marble, was damaged during the Second World War.

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