Vinnytsia is a city in west-central Ukraine, located on the banks of the Southern Bug.
It is the administrative center of Vinnytsia Oblast and the largest city in the historic region of Podillia. Administratively, it is incorporated as a town of oblast significance. It also serves as an administrative center of Vinnytsia Raion, one of the 27 districts of Vinnytsia Oblast, though it is not a part of the district. Population: 372,484 (2015 est.)
The city's roots date back to the Middle Ages and it was under Polish control for centuries until the Russian Empire annexed it in 1793. During 1930s and early 1940s the city was the site of massacres, first during Stalin's purges and then during the Holocaust in Ukraine and the Nazi occupation. A Cold War-era airbase was located near the city.
Vinnytsia has been an important trade and political center since the fourteenth century, when Fiodor Koriatowicz, the nephew of the Lithuanian Duke Algirdas, built a fortress (1363) against Tatar raiders on the banks of the Southern Bug. The original settlement was built and populated by Aleksander Hrehorovicz Jelec, hetman under Lithuanian Prince Švitrigaila. Aleksander Jelec built the fort, which he commanded as starosta afterwards.
In the 15th century, Lithuanian Grand Duke Alexander Jagiellon granted Winnica Magdeburg city rights. In 1566, it became part of the Bracław Voivodeship. Between 1569 and 1793 the town was a part of Poland and in this period, for a short time between 1672 and 1699 was a part of the Ottoman Empire. During period of Polish rule, Winnica was a Polish royal city. On March 18, 1783, Antoni Protazy Potocki opened in Winnica the Trade Company Poland.
After Second Partition of Poland in 1793 the Russian Empire annexed the city and the region. Russia moved to expunge the Roman Catholic religion – Catholic churches in the city (including what is now the Transfiguration Cathedral) were converted to Russian Orthodox churches.
According to the Russian census of 1897, Vinnytsia with a population of 30,563 was the third largest city of Podolia after Kamianets-Podilskyi and Uman.
It was occupied by German troops on 19 July 1941 during World War II. In 1943, the invading Germans exhumed almost 10,000 people, mostly male Ukrainians, from mass graves in Vinnytsia. The majority of the executions happened during the Stalinist Great Purge between 1937–1938 in the Vinnytsia massacre.
Adolf Hitler sited his easternmost headquarters Führerhauptquartier Werwolf near the town and spent a number of weeks there in 1942 and early 1943.
Nazi atrocities were committed in and near Vinnytsia by Einsatzgruppe C. Estimates of the number of victims run as high as 28,000. This included the mass murder of the town's large Jewish population who comprised 40% of all inhabitants at the time of the Nazi's invasion. In 1942 a large part of the Jewish quarter of Yerusalimka was destroyed by Germans. One infamous photo, The Last Jew of Vinnytsia, shows a member of Einsatzgruppe D about to execute a Jewish man kneeling before a mass grave. The text The Last Jew of Vinnytsia was written on the back of the photograph, which was found in a photo album belonging to a German soldier. It was captured by the Red Army on 20 March 1944.
Since the end of World War II, Vinnytsia has been the home for major Soviet Air Forces base, including an airfield, a hospital, arsenals, and other military installations. The headquarters of the 43rd Rocket Army of the Strategic Rocket Forces was stationed in Vinnytsia from 1960 to the early 1990s. The 2nd Independent Heavy Bomber Aviation Corps, which later became 24th Air Army, was also stationed in Vinnytsia from 1960 to 1992. The Ukrainian Air Force Command has been based in Vinnytsia since 1992.
A long lasting warm summer with a sufficient quantity of moisture and a comparatively short winter is characteristic of Vinnytsia. The average temperature in January is −5.8 °C (21.6 °F) and 18.3 °C (64.9 °F) in July. The average annual precipitation is 638 mm (25 in).
Havryshivka International Airport (IATA: VIN, ICAO: UKWW) is situated near Vinnytsia.
There are the central bus station and the Western bus station in Vinnytsia.
There is a railway station in Vinnytsia, which is a part of 'South-Western Railway'. In 2013 it was named among 10 biggest railway stations in Ukraine Current building of Vinnytsia railway station was built in 1952 and considered to be the 4th railway building in Vinnytsia (previous three were destroyed in different years). Vinnytsia is an important transport point, both for internal and external railway connection. Most of the international trains, which cross through Ukraine, have a stop in Vinnytsia. For example, trains from Moscow and Saint Petersburg (Russia), Minsk (Belarus), Sofia (Bulgaria), Chisinau (Moldova), Bratislava (Slovakia), Belgrade (Serbia), Budapest (Hungary) transit through Vinnytsia. [In internal railiway connection, Vinnytsia is also an important transport point for trains, heading to Western Ukraine (Lviv, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi) and to South (Odessa), as well as to Central Ukraine (Kiev).