Solidarity with Bila Tserkva/Ukraine

The coat of arms of the town of Bila Tserkva shows a golden bow with a taut bowstring and three golden arrows pointing upwards. It was once a symbol of the fortified town.© Stadt Bila Zerkwa

Bila Tserkva is a central Ukrainian city. Together with 16 surrounding municipalities, it forms the regional authority of the same name, Bila Tserkva, with a total population of about 220,000. The city is located on the banks of the River Ros, about 85 kilometres southwest of Kiev.

Bila Tserkva was founded in 1032 by the Kiev Grand Duke Yaroslav I as a defensive post against nomadic tribes. The name of the town means “White Church” and probably refers to the medieval Yuriyev Cathedral, which was painted white. 

Major economic sectors are the manufacture of paper and plastic products, the pharmaceutical industry, food processing, machinery and equipment manufacturing, furniture making and creative industries. Important companies are Premiori (tyre manufacturing), Biofarma (pharmaceuticals and medical products) and Mareren (food manufacturing). 

Bila Tserkva is home to the National Agrarian University (BTNAU), a multidisciplinary educational institution with more than 5,500 Ukrainian and foreign students in 19 specialties at the following six faculties: Agro-Biotechnology, Biotechnology, Ecology, Economics, Law and Linguistics, and Veterinary Medicine. BTNAU is also a regional university centre with local vocational colleges. 

Bila Tserkva's cultural landscape is characterised by the Kiev Regional Academic Theatre of Sagsagansky, various museums, architecturally significant monuments, art and cultural festivals, and many parks and gardens with opportunities for leisure activities.

Worth mentioning is the garden complex “Dendrological Park Oleksandriia” on the north-western outskirts of the city, founded at the end of the 18th century as the country estate of the Polish Counts Branytski. Today it is under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The landscape park is an important centre for the Academy's scientific research on the introduction and acclimatisation of plants. The arboretum is located on an area of 297 hectares on the banks of the river Ros.

Solidarity with Ukraine

It is important to the city of Braunschweig to stand by the people in Ukraine in solidarity and to support the refugees in Braunschweig. For this reason, the city joined the German-Ukrainian Municipalities Network in 2022, for which Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has assumed patronage. Through this network, contacts were quickly established with the city of Bila Tserkva, which is about 1,600 km away and also has a rich history. There is great potential for economic, cultural and scientific links between the two cities.  

So far, Bila Tserkva has been spared major destruction. However, the city is a focal point for internally displaced persons and has also been severely affected by the attacks on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure. 

The solidarity partnership has been in place since 14 December 2022 and reinforces that both cities stand in solidarity with each other and support each other within their powers and possibilities. Due to the current humanitarian emergency in Ukraine, the initial focus of this solidarity partnership is for the city of Braunschweig, civil society and other actors to support the city of Bila Tserkva.

Explanations and hints

Picture credits

  • Stadt Bila Zerkwa
  • Stadt Bila Tserkva