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 […]

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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 […]

Stiles in the Carpathians

Stiles, or perelazy in Ukrainian, are structures that provide people with a way to easily pass over a fence while at the same time preventing farm animals from passing through. Stiles are found in the countryside around the world and come in all kinds of forms. In the Carpathians, they […]

Old Hat Shop Signs in Lviv

I came across a lovely prewar photograph of the outside of a hat shop in Lviv. The hand-painted sign reads in Polish “Pracownia czapek – wykonuje po najtańszych cenach,” which means “Hats workshop – produced at the cheapest prices.” In addition to Polish, it includes a Yiddish translation as well […]

‘Wychód’ Ghost Sign in Lviv

“Wychód” is a Polish archaism meaning “exit” (“Wyjście” in modern usage) This ghost sign is found in a corridor of a building that from the 1820s housed a hotel and restaurant-winery. The hand points in the direction of the front entrance, from an inner courtyard. Another theory is that the sign […]

German-Language Benchmark in Lviv

I came across a curious German-language benchmark in one of Lviv’s courtyards. Unlike the other pre-WWI benchmarks that I have seen in Lviv, which are small simple plaques in Polish, this one is much larger, in German, and even includes a relief of a hand pointing to the leveling mark. The sign […]

Abandoned Kościółs in the Galician Countryside

The makeup of the population of Galicia changed drastically after WWII, one reason being the Soviet-Polish population exchanges in the years right after war, during which most of the Poles that lived in Eastern Galicia moved or were deported to the territory of current day Poland. The traces of these […]

Horse Stable in Lviv

As part of the horse-drawn transportation infrastucture in Lviv, stables were built alongside residential buildings around the city. Not many of these remain and the traces of these stables are hiding in quite corners and back alleys of Lviv. But I was fortunate to stumble across one such examples of […]