Ternopol is the city in western Ukraine, capital of Ternopol Oblast.Ternopol is situated on the Seret River (a tributary of the Dniester River), about 120 km (about 75 mi) southeast of Lvov. Located on the fertile Podolian Upland between the Dniester and Southern Bug rivers where wheat, corn and sugar beets are grown, this industrial and cultural center is an important rail junction and highway hub. Ternopol is also served by an airport. Its industries produce food products (sugar, beer, dairy, meat), cotton textiles, synthetic leather, clothing, electric parts, farm machinery, and building materials. Ternopil has four professional institutes, a theater of Ukrainian music and drama, a puppet theater, the oblast philharmonic orchestra, a regional studies museum, and an art gallery. It also has a castle and two 17th century churches. Ternopil was founded as a fortress in 1540. Despite frequent raids by the Tatars in the 16th and 17th centuries, it developed into a trade center. In 1772 it passed to Austria, and grew in the 19th century with the coming of the railroad. During the Ukrainian struggle for independence, it served as a provisional capital of the Western Ukrainian National Republic from November 1918 to July 1919. It passed to Poland in 1921 and to the Ukrainian republic (part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR]) in 1939. The population of Ternopol is about 235,000.