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Chernovtsy has a long and complicated history that stems from the city being a fortress in the 13th Century, which was destroyed by the Mongols. It later became part of Poland, Moldavia and Austria-Hungary. In the 20th Century it has belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Romania, USSR and from 1991 has been independent Ukraine. A multinational city, in 1930 the Chernovtsy Jews accounted for 27% of its population, whereas today it is a mere 1.2%. During World War II about 50,000 Jews were herded into the local Ghetto, only to be sent to concentration camps at a later date. Approximately 20,000 survivors were saved.

A ramshackle city with a lively local student population, it is leafy and chaotic with a hint of its more elegant past. The centuries of Romanian/Moldovan influence have given Chernovtsy a non-Slavic air about it. Much of its ornate architecture was built during the Habsburg Empire in the 19th Century. Sitting in the west on the upper part of the Prut River, it is part of the historical Moldavian region of Bukovina. One time dubbed "Little Vienna", the town is small enough to prance around by foot.

For the lover of history and by default, anything in a museum, there are a few to get your head around. The Chernivsti Museum of Arts exhibits 19th and 20 Century local art, the Municipal Museum will give you the local and natural history, whilst the Ethnological Museum tells the story of rural life in Bukovina. There is also the Museum of Ukrainian Diaspora and the Museum of Bukovynian Jewish History and Culture that will give you an insight into the rich architectural heritage of the region. The main square, of which some is pedestrian-only, is the place to rub shoulders with the locals and sip coffee as you people watch. The Chernivtsi National University built in the 19th Century is a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can meander around 2 churches and verdant gardens. It is but one of the smorgasbord of architectural treats to be found.

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