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Information about Bila Tserkva (Belaya Tserkov), Ukraine

Bila Tserkva (Belaya Tserkov in Russian) is a city (est. 200,000) in Kyiv oblast, situated in the Dnieper Upland on the Ros River.

It was built on the site of Iuriev, a town founded in 1032. In the mid-16th century, when Bila Tserkva belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a fortified castle was built; under Polish rule it was an important county town and in Cossack times the seat of the Bila Tserkva regiment (1648–74, 1702–12). In 1651 Bohdan Khmelnytsky signed the Treaty of Bila Tserkva with the Poles. In 1702 Bila Tserkva was the center of an anti-Polish uprising led by Semen Palii. In 1793 it became part of the Russian Empire. Its population was 17,200 in 1860 and 35,400 in 1897. Before 1914 the city was involved in food production, artisanry, and trade, particularly in agricultural products and sugar. Under the Central Rada the leaders of the Free Cossacks were stationed in Bila Tserkva; in 1918 a detachment of Sich Riflemen was formed here, and the uprising against Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky was initiated.

Under Soviet rule Bila Tserkva began to develop after the Second World War—the population was 39,000 in 1926, 47,000 in 1939, 71,000 in 1959, 109,000 in 1970, and 146,000 in 1978. Today the city manufactures farm machinery (the factory was established in 1850 and in 1957 began to specialize in building machines for the production of feed for livestock), electrical capacitors, tires, rubber-asbestos products, shoes, clothing, furniture, and reinforced-concrete products.

The city has an institute of agriculture, which began as a polytechnical institute in 1920. It had 4,000 students in 1968 and publishes scientific papers. The city also has an ethnographic museum, an oblast dramatic theater, the Saksahansky Theater, and Oleksandriia Dendrological Park, which has an area of 2,000ha. Its notable architectural monuments are Saint Nicholas's Church (1706) and the market stalls (1809–14).

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