The Lexicon of the Third-Wave Ukrainian Diaspora

Or, The Vanishing Galician Lexicon and How It Lingers in the Diaspora When I moved to Ukraine, I had to learn a whole new Ukrainian vocabulary. It turned out that I had grown up speaking a Galician/diasporan Ukrainian, which used many dialectisms, Polonisms, and archaisms. To keep track of the differences […]

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Guard Stones in Lviv

Guard stones are exterior architectural elements made of metal, stone, or concrete located at the corners of entranceways, carriage driveways, or gateways to protect walls from carriage wheel damage. Once an important element of the horse-drawn transportion infrastructure, guard stones have become largely obsolete as cars do not pose the […]

boot scraper

The Forgotten Boot Scrapers of Lviv

Many years ago I started noticing strange-looking metal objects near certain doors in Lviv. I didn’t give them much thought until I saw one in Przemyśl, Poland, and my friend told me what it was: a boot scraper. Little did I know that this was the start of a new […]

Ghost Signs of Lviv

I love ghost signs. These messages from the past are one of my favorite parts of the urban landscape. I get overly excited every time I discover a new one. Ghost signs (aka fading ads or brick ads) are old hand-painted signs that have been preserved on a building for […]

Prewar Painted Stripes in Lviv

An interesting feature of Lviv’s ghost signs is black and yellow or red and white painted stripes found on former storefronts. There are several opinions floating around as to what exact function they served, so I have yet to have a definitive answer. However, many working in Jewish heritage recently […]

Ghost Sign Liberation

Over the last few years, several of Lviv’s ghost signs have been liberated—by which I mean curious people/ghost sign lovers took into their own hands (literally) to expose signs from under layers of paint and plaster, accelerating the natural process of plaster crumbling due to age and weather. I’ve documented […]

Indoor Ghost Signs in Lviv

It’s less common to find hand-painted signs inside the entranceways and corridors of buildings—but in Lviv there are a few examples of such ghost signs, which served different functions. Kniazha Romana Street I found a few Polish-language ghost signs in the corridor of a residential building in Lviv’s center. I […]

Boot Scrapers in Oxford

In addition to its abundance of beautiful architecture, famous colleges and courtyards, spires, museums, and canals, Oxford also has its fair share of lovely boot scrapers. In a quiet residential area, I stumbled across a long street filled with boot scrapers — almost every one with a unique shape. But they […]

Benchmarks in England

Across Great Britain is a network of benchmarks. There used to be about half a million benchmarks, but as they have become obsolete, about half have disappeared. The first primary leveling in the UK was carried out in 1841-60, the second in 1912-21, and the third in 1951-56. The horizontal bar above […]

Anti-Toilet in London

I first heard of anti-toilets from an article about urine deflectors in London. Since then I have come across them in Austria and Prague, and possibly a curious indoor one in Lviv. In my recent short visit to London, I came across this set of anti-toilets.

Take Courage ghost sign

Ghost Signs in England

England’s ghost signs, or fading brick ads, are the most famous and numerous. There is a website Ghostsigns dedicated to them (above all in England, but also around the world) and on Facebook there are many groups dedicated to these old signs. Suprisingly I didn’t come across that many during […]