Vinnytsia (260 km. away from Kyiv) is the capital of the Ukrainian ethnographic region of Ponyzzia. In the past part of the frontier between Kyivan State and Dyke Pole (Wild Field) passed through this land. There are several explanations of the origin of the city’s name. Some of them connect it with wine-making, others, with the word “vino” (dowry). First written reference to Vinnytsia dates from 1363, when Prince F. Koriatovych started building a fortress. Because of its location the city suffered from enemy assaults more than once. During one of them, in 1580, the Tatars burnt down the wooden castle situated on Kempa Island. When Vinnytsia became the administrative center of Braclaw province, the building of a stone fortress began. In 1640 the city was granted Magdeburg rights. From 1672 through 1699 it was under the Turkish rule. After the First Partition of Rzeczpospolita it passed to the Russian Empire. The development of the city became dynamic in the late 19 th century, when railway communication came into being. In the middle of May 1920 Vinnytsia was the residence of ataman S.Petliura and, actually, the capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. In the 20 th century Vinnytsia experienced Civil War, the establishment of Soviet power, Stalinist repressions and German occupation, but remained an important economic and administrative center of Ukraine. Today the monuments to Communist leaders are queerly combined with monuments to their victims in Vinnytsia streets.
Historical monuments in Vinnytsia are comparative few. Most of them are located at the intersection of Soborna and M.Kozytsky streets, near the city’s old section known as”Mury,”and located on the right bank of the Southern Bug River. The activities of the architect Grigoriy Artynov had the most profound effect on the architectural appearance of the city of the early 20 th century. Many structures ordered by wealthy citizens were built after his projects.
The baroque Roman-Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary (12 Soborna St.). which was built by the churchwarden L. Kalynowski in 1745, belongs to the most interesting architectural monuments of the city. On the opposite side of the street there is the complex of the former Dominican church and monastery (23 Soborna St.). From 1758 the noble family of Grokholskies took charge of its reconstruction. Fragments of murals of the 18 th century have survived in the interior to this day. In 1831 Russian power, in revenge for the Polish uprisings, confiscated the monastery and converted it into an Orthodox church. In Soviet times it functioned as a concert hall, and in the 1990 s it was returned to the Church. The construction of the Jesuit monastery (19Soborna St.). which had been designed as a defensive structure, started in 1610. Initially it was linked with the Dominican monastery with a high stone wall, jointly forming a single defensive system. In 1907 a number of monastic cells were transformed into a gymnasium. Today it is the Art Museum and Museum of Local Lore (1 Muzevna St., ).
Today “Ukraina” Hotel, (36 Kozytsky St.) played an important role in the history of the city. It was the headquarters of the government of the UPR headed by Symon Petliura until the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Ye. Edelstein seized the city. In contrast to the Petliura government, which financed the development of museums and education in Ukraine, the Bolsheviks arrested members of the city council and imposed a fine of 75 thousand rubles on the local “bourgeois.”
Vinnytsia’s other places of interest are situated in the outskirts of the city. The Church of St. Nicholas (1746) with a bell tower of the 19 th century (6V.MavakovskvSt.) is one of the best sacral memorials of the Podolian architectural school. For the last time it was restored in 1970. Today it is a branch of Vinnytsia Museum of Local Lore.