Church of John the Baptist, Bila Tserkva
|Raion||Bila Tserkva City Municipality|
| • Head of City
|• Total||34.77 km2 (13.42 sq mi)|
|Elevation||148 m (486 ft)|
|• Density||6,100/km2 (16,000/sq mi)|
|Area code(s)||(+380) 4563|
|Sister cities||Barysaw, Jingzhou, Kaunas, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Noginsk, Kremenchuk|
Bila Tserkva (Ukrainian: Бiла Церква, Polish: Biała Cerkiew, Russian: Белая Церковь, literally White Church) is a city in central Ukraine, the largest city in Kiev Oblast. Bila Tserkva is located on the Ros' River approximately 80 km (50 mi) south of Kiev. The population is 203,300 (1 January 2004 est.) and the area is 34 km2 (13 sq mi).
Serving as the administrative center of the Bilotserkivskyi Raion (district), Bila Tserkva is a city of oblast subordinance thus being subject directly to the oblast authorities rather to the raion administration housed in the city itself.
The town was founded in 1032 as Yuriev by Yaroslav the Wise, whose Christian name was Yuri. This event is also traditionally referred as foundation of Tartu, Estonia. The present name of the city, literally translated, is "White Church" and may refer to the (no longer existing) white-painted cathedral of medieval Yuriev. Since 1363 it belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and since 1569 to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Was granted Magdeburg Rights in 1620 by Sigismund III Vasa.
Beginning in the second half of the 18th century, Bila Tserkva (Biała Cerkiew), then the seat of the sub-prefecture (starostwo), was the property of the Branicki family. Franciszek Ksawery Branicki, Poland's Grand Hetman, built there his urban residence – the Winter Palace complex and a country residence with the park "Alexandria" (named after his wife). He founded a Catholic church of John the Baptist and started construction of the Orthodox church which was completed by his successor – count Władysław Grzegorz Branicki. The latter one built also the gymnasium-school complex in Bila Tserkva. Aleksander Branicki, the grandson of the hetman, renovated and finished the Mazepa's Orthodox church. Under the rule of count Władysław Michał Branicki, Bila Tserkva developed into a regional commercial and manufacturing centre.
After 1861, the Tzarist authorities converted the Roman Catholic church into an Orthodox Church. During the Soviet times Bila Tserkva became a large industrial hub (machine building and construction industry).
Notable buildings include the covered market (1809–1814) and the complex of post buildings (1825–31). There are also Palladian wooden buildings of the Branickis' "Winter Palace" and the district nobility assembly. The church of St. Nicholas was started in 1706 but was not completed until 1852. The Orthodox cathedral of the Saviour's Transfiguration was constructed in 1833–1839, while the Catholic Church dates to 1812.
The city is home to football team FC Ros' Bila Tserkva. Ros is a team in the lower levels of the Ukrainian Football League.
- David Bronstein – leading chess grandmaster and writer
- Volodymyr Dyudya – Ukrainian cyclist
- Father of Benny Goodman – an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader; widely known as the "King of Swing"
- Andrzej Klimowicz – Zegota underground activist, Righteous Among the Nations
- Vadim Lazarkevich – Russian–Bulgarian illustrator
- Yuri Linnik – Soviet mathematician
- Olexandr Medvid' – famous Soviet/Belarusian wrestler.
- Lyudmila Pavlichenko – World War II Soviet sniper
- Yossele Rosenblatt – renowned American cantor
- Anna Ulitko - Danish natural scientist
- Lyudmila Usherovitz – Jewish gymnast
- Shmuel Yerushalmi – Israeli protest poet
- Yuriy Zagorodniy – footballer
- (after Kiev which is the administrative center, but not part of the oblast)
- General information about the city, at Bila Tserkva official web-site
- Paul Robert Magocsi, A history of Ukraine, University of Toronto Press, 1996, p. 205
- E. A. Chernecki, L. P. Mordatenko, Bila Tserkva. Branicki family. Alexandria, Ogrody rezydencji magnackich XVIII-XIX wieku w Europie Środkowej i Wschodniej oraz problemy ich ochrony, Ośrodek Ochrony Zabytkowego Krajobrazu—Narodowa Instytucja Kultury, 2001, p.114
- Marek Ruszczyc, Dzieje rodu i fortuny Branickich, Delikon, 1991, p. 148
- Lucjan Blit, The origins of Polish socialism: the history and ideas of the first Polish Socialist Party 1878–1886, Cambridge University Press, 1971, p. 21
- Carey Schofield, Inside the Soviet Army, Headline Book Publishing, 2001, 132.
- Michael Holm, 251st Instructor Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment, accessed December 2012.
- For more images of the park "Alexandria", see klymenko.data-tec.net
- Street Angels (UKRAINE) – Website of StreetRacers in Bila Tserkva
- Website of Bila Tserkva's patriots
- Informative Website of Bila Tserkva
- Old photos of Bila Tserkva
- Old photos of Alexandria park
- Official Bila Tserkva city webportal in Ukrainian
- Bila Tserkva city Forum
- Enterprise catalogue of Bila Tserkva
- Latest news in our city
- Sightseeings of Bila Tserkva
- History of Jewish Community in Belaya Tserkov