Ternopil – Historic City on the Seret River
With a population of over 221,300 people Ternopil is one of the three largest cities within Eastern Galicia and can be found along the banks of the beautiful Seret River. Ternopil is the administrative center of the province of Ternopil Oblast.
In the year 1540 Jan Amor Tarnowski established the beginnings of what was to become the future Ternopil city. In the beginning it stood as a Polish military base fortified for easy defense. By 1544 the Tornopol castle was formed, successfully repelling the attacks of the Tatar, a historical group of people who originated from central Asia. Just eight years after the city was first established, King Sigismund I of Poland granted city rights to Ternopil, it was from this point that much change began to occur. By 1567 the Ostrogski families were given rights to the city allowing relative peace for the time being. It was in 1575 that the Tatars finally succeeded in plundering the city – thirty-one years after their first attempt. Nevertheless the city was repossessed under the Zamoyski family name, regaining a form of stability.
During the 17th century the Chmielnicki Uprising took place – a desperate time for those of Jewish heritage. The result of such action nearly wiped the city from off the face of the earth. Aleksander Koniepolski was the first to attempt to reinstate the city to its former glory during 1675, however, the city only regained its stature under Marie Casmire, wife of King Jan III Sobieski in 1690. Through 1694 to 1770 much war, plundering and pestilence took place under the rule of the Tatars, Russians and the Polish Succession.
Again, much change occurred over the centuries, finally bringing us to 1941. It was at this point that the city came under occupation by the Germans. Their purpose? To once again exterminate those of Jewish descent or, if they were fortunate, to take them to become forced labor in Germany. In 1944 the Red Army took over, but this time expelling the polish population from the city. In 1991 Ternopil became part of the new independent Ukraine.
Attractions worth visiting in Ternopil include the Dominican Church, the castle, a statue of Danilo Halitski, and other monuments.