New Ghost Signs in Passage Andreolli, Part II

In May I came across newly uncovered ghost signs in Lviv’s Passage Andreolli. Several years ago a couple of very nice ghost signs were uncovered on the other side of the passage and fortunately they were promptly restored. However, I am uncertain about the fate of these. One of the […]

Remnants of Lviv’s Medieval Fortifications

When the Austrian Empire acquired Lviv in 1772, the city’s fortification walls and moats were in a particularly poor state. Five years later, the new rulers began to pull down the fortifications as part of their urban planning strategy, which, among other aims, sought to unite the historic center and […]

Jewish Traces in Lviv: Tombstones Turned to Pavement

When Lviv’s Lenin statue was toppled in 1990, fragments of Jewish tombstones were discovered in the foundation. This came as no surprise, however, as it was a known fact that Nazi and Soviet authorities not only destroyed Lviv’s Jewish cemeteries, but also used the stone to pave the city. Lviv […]

Blind Windows in Lviv

I started noticing “ghost windows” on many of Lviv’s older buildings. Originally, I thought they were windows that had at some point been bricked up. However, after researching, I discovered that in fact (at least in most cases) they are “blind windows”—architectural features that are shaped like windows but without […]

Luxfer Vault Lights in Lviv

Many years ago in Lviv I came across what looked like a metal door matt. I had no idea what it was until I saw similar panels in Edinburgh and Tallinn and turned to the Internet for help. Turns out it is a vault light to illuminate the basement. It […]

The Vanishing Galician Accent and How it Lingers in the Diaspora

The lexicon (which I wrote about here) and accent of the diaspora community in North America (specifically the community that descended from the third wave of immigration (1940s-50s), many of which came from Galicia) differs somewhat from the lexicon and accent heard today in western Ukraine. In the diaspora this […]

The Lexicon of the Third-Wave Ukrainian Diaspora

Or, The Vanishing Galician Lexicon and How It Lingers in the Diaspora When I moved to Ukraine, I had to learn a whole new Ukrainian vocabulary. It turned out that I had grown up speaking a Galician/diasporan Ukrainian, which used many dialectisms, Polonisms, and archaisms. To keep track of the differences […]

Guard Stones in Lviv

Guard stones are exterior architectural elements made of metal, stone, or concrete located at the corners of entranceways, carriage driveways, or gateways to protect walls from carriage wheel damage. Once an important element of the horse-drawn transportion infrastructure, guard stones have become largely obsolete as cars do not pose the […]

boot scraper

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 […]

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 […]