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 […]

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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 […]

Prewar Lviv in Photographs: Roller Shutter Signage

In prewar Lviv, ads and signs were placed on all sorts of surfaces, as can be seen in my post about hand-painted signs. Here is a small collection of old photographs of Lviv showing signage that was painted on the roller shutters that protected storefronts (and so only visible when […]

Vault Windows in Lviv

An interesting architectural and infrastructural element of the old buildings in Lviv is the vault window with a metal shutter. Even these seemingly unimportant, mundane covers were finished off with an artistic and decorative touch—a unique cutout, which I assume served the purpose of providing some light and ventilation into […]

Bomb Shelter Steel Covers in Vienna

In Vienna one can still find the covers to WWII civilian bomb shelters. Originally I thought these metal grates were either storm drains or vaults lights with missing glass, but I discovered that in fact they were covers for ventilation shafts and emergency exits. Across the territory of Nazi Germany […]

German-Era Bomb Shelter Signs in Lviv

During the Nazi-occupation of Lviv from 1941 to 1944, the Germans established bomb shelters in basements around the city. To this day we can still see some of the signage, namely, the letters “NA” and an arrow pointing to the shelter. According to one source, “NA” (short for “Notausgang”) marked […]

‘Ghost Statues’: Lviv’s Empty Niches

An interesting phenomenon in Lviv is its many “ghost statues.” This is what I call the empty niches found on the facades of buildings where once stood statues, especially religious figures such as the Virgin Mary or saints. Under the Soviet Union, traces of religion were removed from the urban […]