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Ivano-Frankivsk, is the capital city of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast which lies to the west in Ukraine. It is a relatively small city with a population of roughly 205,000 people. The size of the city only adds to its charm.
Ivano-Frankivsk started life as a fortress which was built to protect the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth from repeated Tatar invasions. The fortress was a great success and it wasn’t long before the city-fortress began to grow under the safety provided by this fortification. It was first mentioned in history in 1662 when it was granted the Magdeburg rights. The city went on to survive not only Tatar attacks but also those thrust upon it by invading Turkish and Russian forces. The Renaissance was a period of extensive growth and rebuilding, which lead to it becoming a somewhat more picturesque city. In fact it gained the nick-name ‘little Leopolis’ – Leopolis being the Latin name for Lviv. It was also at about this time that Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, became an important center of Armenian culture.
After Poland was divided up in the ‘Partitions of Poland’, Ivano-Frankivsk came under Austrian rule before falling under the domain of the autonomous Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. 1919 was a turbulent time for Ivano-Frankivsk as it was the subject of many Polish-Ukrainian skirmishes. It eventually ended up as the Second Polish Republic, serving as the Stanislawow Voivodship capital. Eventually, in 1939 it was invaded by German and Soviet forces and was attached to the Ukrainian SSR. Much of the Jewish population was murdered during the Nazi occupation, which was a very sad period in the city’s history.
Eventually, in 1962, the name was changed to Ivano-Frankivsk after the Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko. The 1990s saw it become one of the centers of the Ukrainian independence movement. Today the city stands up proudly in its own right. It is a pretty city with both a victorious and sad history which is interesting to explore should you have the time. Why not visit Ivano-Frankivsk next time you are in Ukraine and find out what it has to offer for yourself?