Due to its generous soils and favourable climate, the territory of today’s city has been settled since ancient times. Keeping of Vinnytsia’s chronicle was initiated in 1363 and was connected with the attempts of Grand Lithuanian Duchy to maintain its domination over Podillia after the defeat of Tatars and Mongols.
History of the city is an integral part of history of Ukrainian people, who all their lives fought for the right to be owners of their land. The life of our ancestors during the intestine wars in Lithuanian Duchy was rather hard; Vinnytsia underwent 30 devastating plundering raids of Tatars from 1400 till 1569.
However, even in such severe environment the city developed as an economic and cultural centre. The oldest record of Vinnytsia citizen, student of Krakow University, is dated year 1469, and the record about the first tradesman – year 1508.
In 1545, in Vinnytsia there were 273 houses, in seven years – 429 houses.
Due to erection of a new fortress on the island Kempa in 1558, the New City appeared on the right bank of the Southern Buh River and on the left one the Old City continued to develop.
In accordance with the Lublin Treaty Vinnytsia was part of Poland and since 1598 it was a centre of Bratslav Province. The privileges of a free trade area in all the territory of Polish-and-Lithuanian State granted in 1580, 1593 and 1634 and adoption of Magdeburg Law in 1640 serve as an evidence of its great importance in economic life of the region.
These years the important processes occurred in spiritual life of its inhabitants. In 1617 and 1624, the Catholics completed the construction of two cloisters; in 1642, the Jesuit Collegium was opened.
Among Orthodox believers was growing the popularity of Vinnytsia Brotherhood of Kuzma and Demian, which since the last quarter of XVI century maintained the Ukrainian Brotherhood School. Due to efforts of the famous cultural figure Petro Mohyla and the deputy judge from Bratslav Mylhaylo Kropyvnytskyy, in 1632 the Orthodox Collegium was established.
The defeat of Polish troops by the Cossacks’ regiments under the command of famous Ivan Bohun in March 1651 was a very important event in history of the city. In 1643 and 1653, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi visited Vinnytsia.
Upon joining of Right-Bank Ukraine to Russia and establishment of Podilska Guberniya (Province Podilska) in 1797, the city became a centre of Vinnytsia Povit (district), and in the beginning of 1798 the City Regulations were introduced there, and in all the territory of Russia it was introduced only after 1801.
Since then the steady development of the city became evident; in 1860, there were 10 thousand inhabitants, 5 schools, 1 hospital, 190 stores there. There was a theatre as well.
The construction of Kyiv-Balta railway and opening of railway communication Kozyatyn-Zdolbuniv were important incitements for further development of the city; due to this a direct connection with Kyiv, Odesa, Moscow, St Petersburg and Poland became possible.
For the last 40 years of XIX century Vinnytsia had grown nearly three and a half times. It took the first place in Podillia province on volume of goods turnover.
The city changed greatly at the beginning of XX century. In 1911, the first part of water-supply system was built, electric lighting was installed. In 1912, the tram communication between Zamostya and centre of the city was opened; construction of the superphosphate plant was completed.
In 1914, Vinnytsia became an administrative centre of Podillia province. Abrupt events occurred in the city within the years 1917-1918. The power was held by revolutionary committees of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies, people supported by Austrian-and-Hungarian troops, the Denikin’s Army. That time in the hotel “Savoy” in the centre of the city the Government of Ukrainian People’s Republic was quartered.
In 1923, the city becomes a centre of the district, and since 1923, it has been an administrative centre of the established Vinnytsia Oblast (region).
The city suffered the irretrievable loss during the years of communist regime repressions. But the most devastating loss was caused by fascist invaders, which established a special regime in Vinnytsia as the headquarters FHQ “Werwolf” was located nearby.
During the World War II in 1941-1945, the number of inhabitants reduced from 100 thousand to 27 thousand; only 10 of 50 industrial enterprises survived; 1880 dwelling houses were completely destroyed. Due to the heroic efforts of Vinnytsia inhabitants and people from the other regions of the country at the beginning of 1948 the city industry was nearly completely rebuilt; and the following years electronic, radio, metalworking and other industries developed rapidly in this regional centre.
In 1972, the city was divided into three districts.
The scientist, surgeon, founder of field military surgery, founder of Russian Red Cross, author of 4 -volume edition “Topographical (applied) Anatomy” M.I.Pyrogov, who saved the famous Italian Jiuseppe Garibaldi from gangrene, spent more than 20 last years of his life in Vinnytsia. Guests and local inhabitants always show a great interest in Memorial estate of M.I.Pyrogov with church- necropolis.
Vinnytsia inhabitants are proud of the facts that in our city Ukrainian I.Franko Academic Theatre started its creative development; famous M.D.Leontovych discovered a never-dying beauty of Ukrainian songs. Under the patronage of UNESCO the local museum of local lore, history and economy keeps the richest collection of Podillya icons. The Municipal Choir and dance group Barvinok are famous for their masterly performance far more than outside Ukraine.
The Literary and Memorial Museum of the “great sun-lover”, classical author of Ukrainian literature M.M.Kotsyubynsky, is very popular among local inhabitants and guests; it is also a place of development for creative youth. In the city, numerous historical buildings are being repaired and new ones are being built.
People of Vinnytsia always keep in their memory the names of Yatsko Palagenko, executed by Polish gentry because of his fighting for the city independence; leader of Haydamaks Hryva, country philosopher Semen Oliynychuk, famous artist Nathan Altman, expert of Podillia Yosyp-Anthony Rollet, researcher of history of Vinnytsia Valentyn Otamanovsky, writer Mykhaylo Stelmakh and many others, who added a lot of glorious pages to the city history.
Upon declaration of independence of Ukraine, due to awakening of powerful democratic forces, Vinnytsia was the third city in Ukraine in which a blue-and-yellow flag fluttered on the main square by official consent of local authorities.
Now Vinnytsia extends for 12 km on both picturesque banks of the Southern Buh River. It is growing steadily, becomes more beautiful, looks more European.
In new economic, social and other actual environment, Vinnytsia continues to develop steadily as an industrial and administrative centre of the oblast, connected with the other regions of the state.
At present in Vinnytsia there are Medical, Technical, Teacher’s Training and Agricultural Universities, which are famous even outside Ukraine. About 900 foreign students from almost all the world continents study there. Five institutes, ten institutions of specialized secondary education, nine research institutes, ten independent research-and-development organizations and two research-and-design structures supplement scientific potential of the city.
Based on the former Air Forces Health Centre, the Central Treatment-and-Diagnostic, Expert-and-Rehabilitation and Research-and-Methodological Military Medical Centre of the Air Forces of Ukraine with the Department of Aerospace Medicine was established; complex treatment-and-rehabilitation techniques and methods are applied.