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Chernivtsi travel guide

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans

   The Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans in Chernivtsi, Ukraine was built between the years 1864 - 1882 . In 2011 Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans was inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage List.
 This unique architectural ensemble has come to light thanks to the efforts of Bishop Yevgen Hakman. The project was made by a well-known Czech scientist, architect, academic Josef Hlavka. He designed over 150 buildings in Prague and Vienna. However the best of Josef Hlavka creations was Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans in Czernovtsi .The building was constructed in the Moorish-Byzantine style.

 The construction of the complex began with the laying of a cornerstone of the chapel of John of Suceava in 1864. This was the largest construction project of Bukovina, and one of the largest in the history of Austria-Hungary. 1 million 750 thousand guilds were allocated for construction.

 Architect Josef Hlavka was 29 years old (1860) when he won the tender for construction of Residence of Metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia. Construction work began four years later in 1864. Before take up the construction of complex architect has carefully studied the cultural traditions of Bukovina. During the preparatory work two brick factories and a ceramic factory was build and even opened a construction school for the training of skilled bricklayers and builders.
 Pre-arranged expeditions searched for building stone around Chernivtsi. Shipping stone from abroad would lead to a significant increase in the cost of the project and each batch of bricks could be delivered during 3-4 weeks - it was very long to wait. Have been explored large quarries in eight villages of Bukovina. During the geological works workers of Josef Hlavka discovered valuable deposits of alabaster, marble and coral stone used in construction.

 Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans was building during 18 years as the work was carried out only in dry weather. The norm for bricklayers was low - only 100 bricks a day. However requirements for quality was very high - measured by the linear dimensions of each brick then it was weighed and tapped for the detection of internal defects - cracks or voids. Defective bricks were put aside and used for water runoff system in the park.

 Finishing work was carried out by Czech artist Karel Svoboda, Viennese artist Karl Jobst and Johann Klein, Bukovina artists - Epaminandos Buchevsky and Eugene Primakov. Artistic stone carving led by Josef Hlavka.

 The complex of palaces of the residence consists of three monumental buildings. The main building, the seminary and Seminary Church. The residence of Metropolitan with spacious apartment where he worked and rested, and with luxurious halls, where he had an audience with distinguished guests, were situated in the main building. The Chapel of John of Suceava, from which the construction of the Residence began, in the corner of the left wing of the building.

From the Entrance Gates to Palace of Metropolitans there is an alley covered with shingle under which there is a ground. Along the edges of the alley planted acacia. This original drainage system was invented by Joseph Hlavka. In wet weather excess of moisture quickly goes under shingle and there remains a long time. In the summer in hot dry weather shingle is moved specially. Thus supported approximately a constant level of moisture ensuring the reliability of bricks.

 Among the rooms of the main building the Synodal Hall impress with its beauty and greatness. It is one of the most beautiful halls in Europe. It was decorated with a marble and furnished with columns. The wooden ceiling was decorated with ornaments leaned on these columns. The impression of an unearthly greatness was created by corridors with marble mosaic floors and painted ceilings in the form of a dome

 Unfortunately, the Synodal Hall was damaged by fire in 1944. Not only the interior of the Hall, but also the Library, containing unique old books and archives, were affected in the fire. The current view of the Marble Hall is only a copy, which was created by restorers. The fire did not destroy the courtroom of the Holy Synod. Its interior is preserved in its original form. The walls of the Red Hall are decorated with Chinese silk, the wooden ceiling is decorated with ornaments and the floor is covered with parquet made of red beech, oak and green linden. There are huge Venetian mirrors on one of the walls. They were created by ancient technology. The mirrors were coated with five layers of silver. With these antique mirrors connected a legend. It is believed that the woman looked at any of them become younger as much as she likes. The man looking at his reflection will receive a free pardon of family betrayal.

 There were two religious schools, to the left of the entrance to the Residence, in the present 4th building of the University. One of them was a seminary, which was established in Chernivtsi in 1828. The seminary was on the second floor of the building and on the first floor was the Greek Orthodox Theological Faculty of Chernivtsi University, which was just opened. The seminary building, which was constructed like a horseshoe, surrounds the church of the Three Saints on three sides. The foundation stone of the temple was laid by Bishop Evgen Hakman in April 1867.

 In the building, to the right of the main entrance, were the Cantors’ school, museum and factory of candles. The roof of a historic building, like of all Residence, covered with ornamental tiles, just like Bukovina folk patterns. There is a clock tower with the dome, which is decorated with stars of David, in the middle of the building above the main entrance. In this manner, the memory of the benefits, given by European community of city, was immortalized.