Chernivtsi is a city in western Ukraine, situated on the upper course of the River Prut. Chernivtsi is the administrative center of Chernivtsi Oblast (province) – the northern, Ukrainian part of the historical region of Bukovina. Administratively, Chernivtsi is a city of oblast significance. At the time of the 2001 Ukrainian Census, the population of the city was 240,600. Current population: 266,366 (2015 est.)
Chernivtsi is currently viewed as one of Western Ukraine's main cultural centers. The city is also considered one of Ukraine's important educational and architectural sites. Historically a cosmopolitan community, Chernivtsi was once dubbed "Little Vienna" and "Jerusalem upon the Prut". Chernivtsi is currently twinned with seven other cities around the world. The city is a major regional rail and road transportation hub, also housing an international airport.
Archeological evidence discovered in the area surrounding Chernivtsi indicates that a population inhabited it since the Neolithic era. Later settlements included those of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, the Corded Ware culture; artifacts from the Bronze and Iron Ages were also found in the city.
A fortified settlement located on the left (north-eastern) shore of the Prut dates back to the time of the Principality of Halych and is thought to have been built by Grand Prince Yaroslav Osmomysl. Legendary accounts refer to this fortress-city as Chern', or Black city; it is said to owe its name to the black color of the city walls, built from dark oak layered with local black-colored soil. This early stronghold was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Europe by Boroldai in 1259. However, the remaining ramparts of the fortress were still used for defense purposes; in the 17th century they were augmented with several bastions, one of which is still extant.
Following the destruction of the fortress, later settlements in the area centered on the right (south-western) shore of the Prut River, at a more strategically advantageous, elevated location. In 1325, when Kingdom of Poland seized control of Galicia, and came into contact with the early Vlach (Romanian) feudal formations, a fort was mentioned under the name Țețina; it was defending the ford and crossing point on the Prut River. It was part of a group of three fortifications, the other two being the fortress of Hotin on the Dniester to the east, and a fort on the Kolachin River, an upriver tributary of Prut.
Between 1359 and 1775, the city and its surroundings were part of the Principality of Moldavia, one of the historic provinces of Romania; the city being the administrative center of the homonymous ţinut (county). The name Cernăuţi/Chernivtsi is first attested in a document by Alexandru cel Bun (Alexander the Good) on 8 October 1408. In Ottoman sources, the city was mentioned as "Çernovi", a phonetic transliteration of a Latin cognomen meaning new castle see French Castelnau or Welsh Carno.
Chernivtsi is located in the historic region of Bukovina, which is currently shared between Romania (south) and Ukraine (north). The city lies 248 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by forests and fields. The River Prut runs through the city's landscape.
The most popular kinds of sports in Chernivtsi include archery, judo, field hockey, karate, power-lifting and orienteering. Chernivtsi's baseball, hockey, and football clubs (FC Bukovyna Chernivtsi) are participants of the Ukrainian national championships.
Chernivtsi has a large number of sports establishments and facilities, including 5 stadiums, 186 sports grounds, 2 tennis courts, 11 football fields, 5 skating rinks, 21 shooting galleries, 3 swimming pools, 69 gyms, 62 gyms with special training equipment and an international motorcycle racing track.
Over 7,950 inhabitants are members of sport clubs within the city, and more than 50,000 people participate in various sport activities. Currently, 8 sportsmen from the city are the members of national teams and 12 are members of national youth teams. 3 athletes from Chernivtsi were prize-winners in various world tournaments, 2 were winners of European and 42 of national championships in 2002.
Chernivtsi has been host to the Sidecross World Championship a number of times, most recently in June 2010.