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 […]

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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 […]

Remnants of Coal Elevators

One of the remnants of Lviv’s coal infrastructure is the manually operated freight elevator. Coal would have been transported into the courtyards of buildings along tracks located in the entrance ways. Then from the courtyard the coal would have been hoisted up to each floor on an elevator. This would […]

Conscription Numbers: Lviv

Under the Austrian Empire (Galicia was established in 1772), buildings were given conscription numbers, which served as addresses until 1871. (See also examples of conscription numbers in other parts of the Austrian Empire: Vienna, Klosterneuburg, and Przemyśl.) “House numbers, also called house conscription numbers, had their origins with the Austrian imperial […]

Ghost Signs: Przemyśl

Przemyśl (Peremyshl in Ukrainian transliteration) is a city in Poland situated very close to the border with Ukraine. Тhe city has a long Ukrainian history, and still many Ukrainians live there. My grandmother was born there and so I have visited it a several times — and, of course, I was […]

Benchmarks in Lviv: How Elevation Was Measured in the Past

A benchmark is geographic point whose elevation has been measured and recorded to a high level of accuracy. The height of a benchmark is calculated relative to the heights of nearby benchmarks in a network extending from a fundamental benchmark (a point which records a height to extreme accuracy.) Benchmarks are used […]

Ghost Signs: Galician Towns

Sambir, Drohobych, Boryslav, Rohatyn, and Striy are small cities in Galicia, about 1-1.5 hours south-west or south of Lviv. Not many traces of their Austrian or Polish histories remain, but I did find a few ghost signs—one in German and the rest in Polish. Sambir Drohobych Boryslav Rohatyn Stryi

Boot Scrapers: Przemyśl

It was in Przemyśl, a small Galician city situated today in Poland near the Ukrainian border, that I first discovered what a boot scraper was and where my love for these remnants of the past began. I had seen them in Lviv but didn’t give them much thought until I noticed them […]

The Fortunate Fate of Lviv’s Hungarian Roller Shutter

I’ve found only one example of a Hungarian-made antique roller shutter in Lviv. (However, I eventually I did find a roller shutter made by the same company in Mukachevo.) It was made by a company called Paschka és Társa (Paschka and Co.) in Budapest. It covers the storefront of an […]

Antique Metal Roller Shutters: Lviv

Lviv still has quite a few Austrian- and Polish-era metal roller shutters, which cover windows and doors of former storefronts. Some of the shutters are still used; many, however, look as if they haven’t been opened in decades. The plates with locks are stamped with а manufacturer’s mark—typically the name […]