Chernivtsi chĭrnĭft´sē [key], Ger. Czernowitz, Romanian Cernauţi, Rus. Chernovtsy, city (1989 pop. 257,000), capital of Chernivtsi region, SW Ukraine, on the Prut River and in the Carpathian foothills. It is a rail junction and the economic, cultural, and scientific center of the region of Bukovina . Industries, which include woodworking and food processing, are powered by a nearby hydroeletric station. One of Ukraine's oldest towns, Chernivtsi was part of Kievan Rus . It passed to Austria in 1775 and in 1849 became the capital of Bukovina. During the 19th and early 20th cent., the city was a center of a Ukrainian nationalist movement. With the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918, Chernivtsi was transferred to Romania, which held it until the USSR seized N Bukovina in 1940. The city has a university (est. 1875), a 13th-century fortified castle, a 17th-century wooden church, and a 19th-century Orthodox Eastern cathedral.

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