History of Tluste / Tovste - Poland, Ukraine
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© Douglas Hykle
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Why is Tluste / Tovste special?

Tovste (formerly Tluste), Ukraine, has a well-documented rich history from its days as a medieval town, with further evidence of ancient settlement dating as far back as the 9th century BC.

Characterised by inter-communal (Jewish, Ukrainian, Polish ) co-existence and development over hundreds of years, until the mid-20th century.

Shaped by Polish influence for nearly five centuries, first within the vast Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1772, and latterly as part of Poland, between the First and Second World Wars. [More under Polish History]

Hotbed of passionate nationalist resistance and defender of the ideal of establishing a Ukrainian nation, fuelled by an underground publishing house. [More under Ukrainian History]

Witness to occupation and repression under Russian and German rule.  Site of a Jewish ghetto during the Second World War; and in 1942-43, scene of horrific atrocities perpetrated against Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. [More under Jewish History]

Setting of impressive architecture, historical buildings and monuments, many still visible today.  Home to a museum displaying remarkable artefacts from prehistoric times; and a regional centre of educational advancement.

Spiritual birthplace of the Hasidic religious movement, where the Ba'al Shem Tov — described as one of the three greatest Jewish figures of the 18th century — spent many of his formative years and revealed himself to be the “Master of the Good Name” in 1734. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) whose grave in Uman, Ukraine, is visited every year by tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world, was the great-grandson of Tluste's most notable resident.

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Aircraft at Chernivtsi Airport
Fortress at Khotyn (Chotyn)
Douglas Hykle (centre), pictured with Jaroslav and Stephania Pawlyk
Other significant figures with a historical connection to Tluste/Tovste include:

  •  Myhaylo, father of Bohdan Khmelnytsky (c. 1595 - 1657), who was leader of the Zaporozhian Cossack uprising that changed the face of the Polish Commonwealth
  •  Baruch Milch (1907 - 1989) – medical doctor and Holocaust survivor
  •  Eliot Spitzer (1959 -), former Governor of New York, whose grandfather Morris was born in Tluste in 1894 and emigrated to the United States in the 1920s.

Tovste and its surrounding region are imbued with an abundant natural wealth, including mineral springs used for medicinal purposes and highly fertile agricultural land.

Centrally located in relation to many other towns and sites of historic importance – including Czerwonogrod, Chernivtsi, Kamyanets-Podilskyy, Khotyn, Medzhybizh and Zalishchyky – Tovste merits inclusion on the itinerary of any visit to the region.

New! The Travel Information section has been revised and updated in October 2018.

  Click: Where is Tovste? Map showing location of Tovste - adapted from  Encarta World Atlas


  Tovste ( population: 3,513 in 2001) is located in western Ukraine in a rural area bounded by the Dniester river to the west and its tributary, the Seret, to the east.  

The town is situated about 25 km north of Zalishchyky and about 20 km south of Chortkiv, the two closest towns of relatively large size.  To be even more precise, Tovste’s geographic coordinates are 48°51’ N, 25°44’ E.   more »
Click on map to enlarge image.