Kurkowe Confraternity: Lviv’s Riflemen Society

The Kurkowe Confraternity (later the Riflemen Society) arose out of the need to defend Lviv: in wartime it engaged in the defense of the city, while in times of peace it ensured citizens were trained in shooting. In later centuries, it became an elite club, its members being the city’s most […]

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My Best Dictionary: Ukrainian Diaspora Children’s Dictionary

A few years ago when I was was in Chicago, I found this Ukrainian (English and French) children’s dictionary at home. It was published in Canada—though I’m not sure what year. The book includes a lot of examples of words that are used in the diaspora, but which are no […]

The Ukrainian Alphabet and the Soft Sign

There are several differences in the Ukrainian alphabets used in the diaspora and in Ukraine, in particular, what we call the alphabet, the way we pronounce the letters, the melody we use when singing the alphabet (or the lack thereof a song), as well as the difference I only recently […]

Ukrainian Diaspora Vinyl Records

Music is a wonderful way to be in touch with one’s heritage, and so it’s no wonder that Ukrainian music flourished in the diaspora, producing many notable bands who have kept the communities in touch with their cultural heritage. Indeed, it was these recordings of Ukrainian folk songs that really […]

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 […]

Photographs of the Lemberg-Czernowitz Railway (1868)

The railway first came to Lviv (Lemberg) in 1861, connecting the city to Przemyśl as part of the connection from Krakow. In 1866 a railway was built connecting Lviv to Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). As a result, the capitals of two Austro-Hungarian crownlands Galicia and Bukovina were connected not only to each other, […]

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 […]