Bukovina is situated in the northern Moldavia and together with Muntenia and Transylvania is one of the biggest historical provinces of Romania. Austrian Empire and Russia took advantage of the weakness the “High Gate” (the rulers of the Ottoman Empire) displayed at the beginning of the 19th century and decided to extend their borders. The northern Moldavia became part of the province named Galitia, but in 1849 it was renamed “Dukedom of Bukovina”. In 1918 it became one of the most independent provinces of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Today, Bukovina is situated only on the southern side of the historical province, while the northern side is part of the Ukraine – Cernauti region. In order to better understand the history of Bukovina, the significance of its towns and the culture of its people, one must first understand the historical moments that have defined this region.
The first traces of habitation in this land can be traced when the superior Palaeolithic preceded the human establishments in Neolithic, Copper Age, Iron Age and the other cultures and civilization that followed.
The big role played by the precursors of the inhabitants in this area at the beginning of the middle Ages consists in the fact that here began the initiatives and efforts for the banishment of the Tatars, the casting away of the Hungarian vassalage, for the formation and consolidation of the independent feudal state Moldavia. Thus, in 1342 the Hungarian king Ludovic the 1st of Anjou defeated the Tatars that had robbed the territories from the east of Carpathians Mountains and established the border with Moldavia. Dragos, the ruler of Maramures, a vassal and ally of the Hungarians rulers, became prince of Moldavia. In 1359, another vaivode from Maramures, Bogdan the 1st, rising against the king of Hungaria, came to Moldavia and helped by the local population banished Dragos’s banishers, established the capital at Siret and declared Moldavia an independent state.
In another stage of history, the ruler Petru Musat (1375-1391) moved the capital to Suceava, which offered better fortification possibilities, being at the same time easy to defend against the kings of Hungaria and Poland, both of them wanting to transform Moldavia in their vassal state. In order to defend and consolidate Moldavia’s independence, the Scheia and Suceava citadels were built. Since 1388 the Suceava Citadel and town are documentary recognized. For two decades Suceava becomes an important economic, administrative and cultural centre of Moldavia, which is consolidated under the reigns of Alexandru cel Bun (1400-1432) and especially Stefan cel Mare.
The long reign of the ruler Stefan cel Mare (1457-1504) brought economical progress and political stability, despite the numerous battles against the Turks, Hungarians and Polish. Thus, Suceava became the capital of this voivodeship. One of the glorious moments Suceava lived is the moment when the Walachia prince Mihai Viteazul entered the city and citadel in 1600. In 17th and 18th centuries, the Turkish Empire succeeded to transform Muntenia and Moldavia in vassal states. At the end of the Russian-Turkish war (1768-1774), Austria intervenes as a peace mediator and in October 1774 occupied the north of Moldavia, and after the treaty in October 1775 became part of the Hapsburg Empire.
Under Austrian reign, the inflow of Polish, Russian, Jew, Ukrainian, Slovak and German ethnics have created a cosmopolite environment, where culture began to flourish. Their descendants continue to live in Bukovina, intensifying its ethnical and cultural inheritance. Architecture of the time lingered in time, Bukovina thus becoming a unique mixture of European multicultural influences.
In 1812 Russia occupied the southern side of Moldavia, Bassarabia and other areas between rivers Prut and Nistru. 1859 is the year when Walachia (Tara Romaneasca) and Moldavia united become part of the modern state of Romania. In 1866 the king Carol the 1 st become the ruler of the country. After gaining the war against the Turks (1877-1878), Romania becomes independent. In 1881 the king Carol Hohenzollern -Sigmaringem becomes king of Romania and his heir rules the country until 1947. An extremely important moment in country’s history is the end of the First World War when in 1918, all Romanian provinces form the Great Romania (Romania Mare). After the Russian – German convention in 1940 (Ribbentrop-Molotov pact), URSS occupied the Moldavian territory between rivers Prut, Nistru and the northern Bukovina.