Contributed and translated by Ingrid Stamatson


The Lemberg-Czernowitz-Jassyer train makes a slight southerly turn
along the Sureth river, behind the small Luzan station, crossing the
Pruth (river) before arriving in Czernowitz. The city lies on several
hills that fall steeply towards the river.

Below in the valley, are the suburbs of Kaliczanka and Klokuczka with
their low lying houses and unpaved streets, the wooden Greek-Oriental
churches reminding one of Ruthenian villages.

On the eastern city border, is the town of Horecza with a beautiful
multi-towered monastery church; behind that a forest, a favorite day
trip destination for Czernowitzians.

Northwest of the city is the thickly forested canopy of Cecina.
Around 1900, large villas of the rich began to be built, in
Habsburgerhoehe, Goebelshoehe; and finally the towers and onion-domed
churches for all religious sects living in Czernowitz: Jews,
Rumanians, Germans, Poles, Armenians. Each had his own area, own
streets, churches, languages, and customs that they fiercely clung to.

Around 1900, there were about 80,000 inhabitants. There were two
train stations: the old Station at the Volksgarten that served local
traffic and the elegant Hauptbahnhof of the Staatsbahn near the stone
bridge over the Pruth. A one-story building with cupola and
glass-enclosed hallway was the pride of all and served to remind the
traveler that he had arrived in a European metropolis.

In front of the station, one had a choice of taking a Fiaker
(horse-drawn carriage) or the red and white streetcar [there was only
one single car!] It started in 1894 and ran from the Pruth bridge to
the Volksgarten [as described below].

Along Bahnhofstrasse it went, past the Cafe-Restaurant "Zum tapferen
Buren," so named by its owner for the Boor Wars against England (a
top story in the local papers in 1900). The route continued into
Springbrunnengasse, which bordered the old Jewish quarter.
Springbrunnenplatz was always full of life. Jewish shops, bakeries,
kosher butchers, a "Propination" as bars were called,
Fruestuecksstuben (breakfast eateries), and small handicraft places
which were mainly underground of the one-story buildings.

The street continued steeply upwards and drivers were warned with a
sign in German, Rumanian, and Ruthenian to be careful.

>From Springbrunnenplatz to Synagogengasse to the Synagogue, the
"Alten Schul" to the Jewish Hospital, then right in the
Enzenberg-Hauptstrasse and still upwards to the city center at

On the main street were several important buildings: the k.k.(kaiser
koeniglich) Militaerstationkommando (military offices) - but also
"Baar's Cafe Venedig," an elegant coffeehouse, plus the restuarant of
Albert Szkowron, famous for hot & cold dishes, as well as specialty
"Leberwürste" (liverwursts).

On Ringplatz, was the train station in front of the hotel, Zum
Schwarzen Adler (To the Black Eagle) attached to an elegant
restaurant and beer hall. The square of the Ringplatz contains the
1847 Rathaus with its clock tower, a symbol of the city. On Sundays
and holiday, the third class, small craftspeople and shop keepers
would met to discuss local problems. This "Czernowitzer Buerger" was
a feared organization with clout.

>From the east side of the Ringplatz, after the University bookstore
and private lending library of Heinrich Pardini (called
Pardinihoehe), the Herrengasse proceeded to the most elegant shopping
district of Czernowitz. Flanking the Pardinihoehe and Herrengasse,
were the offices of k.k. Infanterieregiments Erzherzog Eugen Nr 14
and the colorful uniformed students of Francisco-Josephina school -
all looking at the pretty girls. Cafe Hapsburg and Cafe de l'Europe
were meeting places for dates, and had billiard rooms too, if things
did not work out.

On the elegant Herrengasse, were Deutsche Haus, a mighty 3-story
building with a first floor restaurant and beer hall. The Polish Haus
was opened in 1905 with fanfare and festivities [both places showed
German films and were a popular pasttime]. The Narodni Dim was the
national house of the Ruthenians and the Jewish National Haus was
there as well, at the end of Tempelgasse. The Temple there is
considered one of the most beautiful buildings. The Ruthenian
National Haus was pseudo-Baroque, while the Tempel was pseudo-Moorish.

Czernowitz was a colorful mix of nationalities as well as languages
and architectural styles. The panorama of the city showed towers and
cupolas of various churches. Near the Bischofsresidenz was the
Evangelical church; in the Armeniergasse was the Armenian
Pfarrkirche; in the Hormuzakigasse was the 3-towered Paraskiewa
church, the cupola of the Jewish Temple, the Catholic Herz-Jesu
church; on Austriaplatz was the Jesuit church.

On the Austriaplatz was a large market. Farmers from the Galizia and
Russian borders came with goods, and local gardens of Rosch,
Kaliczanka, Klokuczka, Manasteriska, and Horecza brought produce. The
other two markets were on Theaterplatz and Mehlplatz, though an
important part of business was done in coffeehouses and eateries,
which became places of commerce.

[My grandfather was a builder in Czernowitz and he would buy the land
and then go around the Ringplatz to various restaurants, sell and
take downpayments on all the properties and then build the condos /
houses with that money. All business was conducted in that relaxed

Other coffeehouses became meeting places for journalists, artists,
and literary people, like at the Kaiser-Cafe on Elisabethplatz, which
serves real Pilsner on tap and offered 160 daily newspapers! The
Czernowitzians were fanatical newspaper readers. It gave them a sense
of being connected as they were far removed, in a small corner of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire and there was no direct trrain connection to

From: Nach Galizien, Martin Pollack. 1984