Collage of the views of Bila Tserkva, Top left: A view of Ros River and Tsentralnyy Bridge, Top middle: Bila Tserkva National Agrarian University, Top right: The Heroes Hundreds of Heaven Street, Bottom upper left: Kurbas Market Mall, Bottom lower left: Colonnade Echo, Bottom right: Panoramic view of Bila Tserkva with Torhova Square
|Raion||Bila Tserkva City Municipality|
| • Head of City |
|• Total||67.8 km2 (26.2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||178 m (584 ft)|
|• Density||3,100/km2 (8,100/sq mi)|
|Area code(s)||(+380) 4563|
|Sister cities||Barysaw, Jingzhou, Kaunas, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Noginsk, Kremenchuk|
Bila Tserkva (Ukrainian: Бі́ла Це́рква [ˈbʲiɫɑ ˈtsɛrkwɑ]; Polish: Biała Cerkiew; Russian: Белая Церковь, tr. Belaya Tserkov; literally 'White Church') is a city in central Ukraine, the largest city in Kiev Oblast. Bila Tserkva is located on the Ros River approximately 80 km (50 mi) south of Kiev. The area is 67.8 square kilometres (26.2 sq mi) Its population is approximately 207,745 (2017 est.).
The town was founded in 1032 as Yuriiv by Yaroslav the Wise, whose Christian name was Yuri. The present name of the city, literally translated, is "White Church" and may refer to the (no longer existing) white-painted cathedral of medieval Yuriiv. Since 1363 it belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and since 1569 to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, administratively in the Powiat of Kiev, part of Lesser Poland. It was crown property, but in recognition of his great service, it was granted to the Castellan of Kraków, Janusz Ostrogski. The next owner was Stanisław Lubomirski (1583–1649) and during his time the town was granted Magdeburg Rights by Sigismund III Vasa in 1620.
After subduing the rebellious Cossacks in the 1626 Battle of Bila Tserkva, the next owner of the estate was prince Jerzy Dymitr Wiśniowiecki. The castle was successfully taken by Bohdan Chmielnicki in 1648. The Battle of Bila Tserkva (1651) led to the signing of a peace accord with the cossacks. The Treaty of Bila Tserkva between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Ukrainian Cossack rebels under Bohdan Khmelnytsky was signed here in 1651. In 1666 6,000 Muscovite troops laid siege to Bila Tserkva. The stand off lasted until the following year when Polish reinforcements led by Jan Stachurski with the aid of allied cossacks and Iwan Brzuchowiecki smashed Petro Doroshenko's stranglehold.
The subsequent owner was Great Crown Hetman Stanislaw Jan Jablonowski. In 1702 the castle was taken by the cossack leader, Semen Paliy who made it his domain. In 1708 the town was overrun by prince Golitsyn's[disambiguation needed] Russian army. The next owner of the town was Jan Stanislaw Jablonowski, then Stanisław Wincenty Jabłonowski who erected a catholic church. After him ownership passed to Jerzy August Mniszech. The town was substantially refortified.
In 1774, Bila Tserkva (Biała Cerkiew), then the seat of the sub-prefecture (starostwo), came into the possession of Stanisław August Poniatowski who that same year granted the property to Franciszek Ksawery Branicki, Poland's Grand Hetman. He built there his urban residence – the Winter Palace complex and a country residence with the "Olexandria" park (named after his wife Aleksandra Branicka). He founded the Catholic church of John the Baptist and started construction of the Orthodox church which was completed by his successor – his son, count Władysław Grzegorz Branicki. The latter one built also the gymnasium-school complex in Bila Tserkva. Aleksander Branicki, the youngest grandson of the hetman, renovated and finished the Mazepa's Orthodox church. Under the rule of count Władysław Michał Branicki, Bila Tserkva developed into a regional commercial and manufacturing centre.
After 1861, the Tzarist authorities converted the Roman Catholic church into an Orthodox Church. During the Soviet times Bila Tserkva became a large industrial hub (machine building and construction industry).
Bila Tserkva is located at 49°47'58.6" North, 30°06'32.9" East and is 178 metres (584 ft) above sea level. The city has a total area of 67.8 square kilometres (26.2 sq mi)
Domestic transport and private flights provide services via Bila Tserkva Airport (UKBC), which is located southwest of the city in Hayok district.
The Ukrzaliznytsia provides railway transit to surrounding areas in Kiev Oblast and rest of Ukraine.
There are two railway stations in Bila Tserkva city:
- Bila Tserkva railway station
- Rotok railway station
Bila Tserkva has six trolleybus lines.
Bila Tserkva is the location of few large bridges, two of those cross the Ros River.
The Orthodox Saviour's Transfiguration Cathedral was constructed in 1833–1839.
The Roman Catholic St. John the Baptist Church dates to 1812.
The St. Mary Magdalene Church was completed in 1846 by Count Branicki.
The Roman Catholic St. John the Baptist Church AKA The Organ and Chamber Music Hall
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