Short History of Bukovina
Bukovina, on the eastern slopes of
the Carpathian mountains, was once the heart of the Romanian Principality of Moldavia,
with the city of Suceava being made its capital in 1388. In the 15th and 16th centuries,
the Painted Monasteries of Arbora, Dragomirna, Humor, Moldovita, Putna, Sucevita, and
Voronet were constructed under the patronage of Stefan the Great and his son Petru Rares.
With their famous exterior frescoes, these monasteries remain some of the greatest
cultural treasures of Romania, today.
Along with the rest of Romania, Bukovina fell under the control
of the Ottoman Turks. It remained in Turkish control until it was occupied by the
Russians, in 1769, then by the Austrians,in 1774. With the Treaty of Constantinople in
1775, control of Bukovina was given to the Austrian Empire. Administered as a district of
the province of Galicia between 1786-1849, Bukovina was granted the status of an separate
crown land and duchy in 1849. When the Austrian Empire was reorganized into the Dual
Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, in the Compromise of 1867, Bukovina, like Galicia, remained
under Austrian administration, while the neighboring province of Transylvania was placed
under Hungarian rule.
During World War I, Bukovina became a battlefield between
Austrian and Russian troops. Although the Russians were finally driven out in 1917,
Austria would lose Bukovina with the war, ceding the province to Romania in the Treaty of
On June 28, 1940, northern Bukovina was occupied by troops from
the Soviet Union. It would change hands again during the course of World War II, but this
half of Bukovina ended back in Soviet hands, and is today the Chernivetska oblast of
Ukraine. Southern Bukovina in now part of Suceava county, Romania.