Lviv’s Ancient Wells and Fountains

Wells and fountains were both a practical and aesthetic part of Lviv’s landscape. Records and photographs reveal that there were indeed many of them all around the city, especially near churches and monasteries. In time, with the advent of new infrastructures, these once vital water access points became obsolete, and […]

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Lost in a Sea of Cobblestones: Lviv’s Historical Manhole Covers & Storm Drains

To find traces of Lviv’s prewar past, one must not forget to look down from time to time. Indeed, below our feet are hiding hundreds of manhole and utility covers, which have been serving the city’s infrastructure since before the war. These Austrian- and Polish-era cast iron plates cover buried […]

‘Only in Lviv’: How One Song Became the Anthem for a Nation

By Juliette Bretan ‘Where else do people feel as good as here? Only in Lviv! Where else they lull you to sleep and wake you up with a song? Only in Lviv!’ (‘Tylko We Lwowie’, 1939) In the region straddling the border between Poland and Ukraine, there is a single […]

Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch & His Galician Experience

By Chris Wilkinson On Serbska Street, just off Rynok Square in the heart of the Old Town, is a statue of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the man whose surname gave rise to the term masochism. Sacher-Masoch spent the first twelve years of his life in Lemberg (Lviv’s German name at the […]

The Eastern Fair in Lviv: Art Deco Posters

The Eastern Fair The Eastern Fair (Targi Wschodnie in Polish) was a major trade fair in interwar Poland. It was established in 1921 in Lwów (today Lviv), after the end of the Polish-Soviet War, which redrew the Polish-Soviet border and incorporated Galicia into the Second Polish Republic. The aim of […]

Vanished World: Galicia’s Lost Synagogues

Galicia was once home to a large Jewish population. Before the war, Jews were the third most numerous ethnic group in the region, after Poles and Ukrainians, and all Galician cities and towns had vibrant Jewish communities. Much of this heritage was destroyed during the war and most of what […]

Lviv’s Underground River: The Poltva

By Chris Wilkinson The old city center of Lviv seems to have it all. Medieval  and Baroque architectural wonders, a magnificent Neo-Renaissance opera house, cobblestone streets, fashionable coffee houses and eye popping, colorful buildings. This ensemble was deemed worthy of UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The cliché that you have […]

Lviv’s First Centralized Fire Station

The fire service of the city of Lviv was organized on January 4, 1849, on the initiative of Mayor Karl Göpflingen-Bergendorf, and is one of the oldest organized fire brigade structures on the territory of present-day Ukraine. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, to further improve the city’s […]

Medieval Signage in Lviv

Medieval ads and signs have survived in and around Lviv’s Rynok Square. These are metal signs or stone carvings located above entrance ways. The emblems marked the locations of guilds, workshops, stores, taverns, etc. Signage during this era used symbols since the general populace was illiterate. Entrances to taverns were […]

Obsession: Antoni Schneider & His Encyclopedia of Expertise on Galicia

By Chris Wilkinson A good argument could be made that obsession is little more than ambition taken to extremes, ambition to do something way beyond what has ever been done before. Obsessions by their very nature are all consuming. Thus obsessives find their lives for better or worse (usually worse) […]

Love as Another Form of Insanity: Dueling for Romance in 19th-Century Lviv

By Chris Wilkinson In the popular imagination, a classic nineteenth-century duel consists of two men standing back to back. They begin stepping away from one another, fifteen slow, but steady paces, suddenly they turn to fire their pistols. The first shooter has a near miss. A cold, terrifying fear descends […]