“Built to Last”. Defining Identity by the Statues of Chernivtsi
Abstract. The statues of the city of Czernowitz/Cernăuți/Chernovtsy/Chernivtsi – the capital of the historical province of Bukovina – are a generous subject of study given that the repeated changes of power (Austrian, Romanian, Soviet, and Ukrainian) have brought with them the transformation of the politics of memory and identity. Each of these political regimes that the city went through wanted to prove the legitimacy of owning this territory. Our paper aims to illustrate how the cultural landscape was shaped and remodelled according to the loyalty, creed, sympathies and political or ideological ambitions of successive regimes in the provincial capital of Bukovina. Starting from narrative-historical sources, it examines the sensory commitment of local authorities to the urban environment concerning the changing political realities and how the denial or removal of symbols of the former administrations is equivalent to assuming a new identity. In particular, it presents the intervention of the political factor and its role in shaping the recollection of the city’s main squares. Finally, our findings show that the monuments in the urban landscape have the potential of identity markers, which transform memory – despite its ephemeral and fluid character – into a continuous present.
K e y w o r d s: Bukovina, political regimes, changes, visual representation, symbol