Sztuka Cafe: Recreating the Atmosphere of Austro-Hungarian Lviv

One of the best well-preserved examples of prewar Lviv hand-painted signs is found on the façade of a lovely cafe called Sztuka. A cafe of the same name existed in Lviv during the Austrian era. Today’s cafe, though continuing the tradition of the original cafe which was founded in 1909, is located in a different location—in a former store. Fortunately, the original hand-painted signs on the façade as well the original frescoes on the ceilings were restored.

“The recreated atmosphere will help you immerse yourself in the times of Austro-Hungarian Lviv, which had its own unique air and style. We were helped by Lviv restorers, who restored the signage on the façade and screen-printed murals on the ceilings from the beginning of the twentieth century.” Images of before and after the restoration can be found on the cafe’s website.

In addition, the cafe is decorated with various antiques from prewar Lviv, including original street signs from the pre-Soviet era, an antique sink, and a terrainkur sign.

A new picture of the cafe made to look like an old photo:A photograph of the original cafe, which was located on Teatralna Street:A documentary film about Lviv during the first Soviet occupation of Galicia in 1939 uses the signs in some of its scenes, as seen in the trailer:

Recent shots of the façade with the Yiddish and Polish ghost signs, advertising such things as “sugar, chocolate, and cocoa factory” and “bookbinder and school and office supplies retailer Ozyasz Leib Schacht.”

8 thoughts on “Prewar Painted Stripes in Lviv

  1. Thank you Areta for another important and timely blog post on the challenges and issues of Jewish heritage and recovery of memory. We are hopeful that soon the headstones used as basement steps in a courtyard in Lviv (Hałycka Płoszcza 15 / Galitskaya 15) will be recovered. The Lviv Volunteer Center is working behind the scenes to make this happen, with the support of the Lviv Jewish community and others.

  2. This is the part that blows my mind: “During periods of transition, the records occasionally show the use or mix of two languages—Church Slavonic and Latin, or Latin and Ukrainian…”
    SO COOL!
    Thanks, Areta!

  3. > The largest and best-preserved fragment of Lviv’s medieval defense structures is the Hlyniany Gate (1618)

    Areta, Hlyniany Gate and wall around it have been renovated.

    There used to be some residential building in its place (behind the now-demolished fire station in the foreground)
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-N3g4hWC9YuQ/TbF5heED-OI/AAAAAAAAE2o/r66p5JhJ9iMx0UWnvU7y4dyC_M14zc8XwCCoYBhgL/s0/mit-001.jpg

    Building, close-up
    https://audiovis.nac.gov.pl/i/PIC/PIC_2-8519.jpg

    The wall looked like this
    https://audiovis.nac.gov.pl/i/PIC/PIC_1-U-3615.jpg

  4. Any idea what the Yiddish is on the hat sign on the right? I can make out most of the letters, but my Yiddish isn’t good enough to fill in the blanks. I used to pass by that wall frequently on my way to a friends house, but he has moved since then. It’s still my favorite ghost sign, though 🙂

  5. Kudos to you, Aretha. I came across your blog from a repost from one of your diaspora Ukrainian language from Pre-war Galicia words versus accepted and widely used Post-war words for a long list of foods. I too grew up in the diaspora in Cleveland. I was in Lviv in November of this soon to be last year. Although Lviv is my Dad’s ancestral city, I had family from Central Ukraine and grew up hearing both dialects. I think the blog was from 2014 or 2015. I wanted to leave a comment on your new blog and commend you for the interesting sociolinguistic and cultural discussions you have initiated. Nice to see that you are now in the field doing your research first-hand.

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