(Courtesy: Ukraine at present)
It is the second biggest oblast city (82,300 residents) and regional center on the high banks of Hnylopyat River. The written records mention Berdychiv in 1545, when it was owned by V. Tyszkewicz.
Our Lady Saint Archangel Michael, Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. Ya. Tyszkewicz also donated his domestic antiquity—Icon of Our Lady, due to which Berdychiv later became the world renown and longed-for pilgrimage center. The troops of M. Kryvonis ruined the convent during the Liberation War of Ukrainian people in 1648. After the Russian-Polish War (1667) Berdychiv as a part of Braclaw Province again became a part of Poland. In 1702, the detachment of Colonel S. Paliy destroyed the Catholic Church for the second time and drove the nuns out of the city.
The Carmelites returned to Berdychiv in 1717 and began building the Cathedral of St. Mary above the lower church, which they finished in 1754. YaVitte and H.Tarnavsky, architects, took part in the construction; V. Fre-derice executed all frescoes. In 1753 Pope Benedict XIV sanctioned the coronation of the Icon of the Berdychiv Mother of God considerably promoting the status of convent. The Polish King promoted building of new walls, towers, and two gatehouses; in the 18th c. the Carmelite convent became one of the most fortified fortresses in Europe. The positions of this bulwark of Catholicism in Ukraine were impaired after the second partition of Poland in 1793, when Russia annexed these lands. The new stage of urban development began. Berdychiv found itself on the eastern edge of the so-called “zone of permitted settlement of Jews” established by the Russian Empire in 1791. Therefore the Jews started flowing in here; they began feverish activity in handicrafts and commerce. In 1845 Berdychiv gained the status of the city and became the fifth most populated city of Ukraine following Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Mykolayiv. Due to its favorable geographical position, Berdychiv became an important trading center after a dozen of fairs. The best known landmark of the golden age of Berdychiv is the Church of St. Barbara (1826); the well-known wedding ceremony of H. Balzac and E. Hanska took place there in 1850. Berdychiv gradually lost its meaning as a trans-shipment base and intermediary trading center after construction of Kyiv—Odesa (1871) and Kyiv-Brest (1873) railroads.
In 1910 the most important Orthodox Church of St. Michael was erected in the city. In the 20th c. Berdychiv stayed aside from the main transport highways and ceased to be an important trading center and turned into a local symbol of jerkwater Ukrainian Jewish town.