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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

Hidden Jewish Prayer Room in Lviv

Several years ago I read about an old Jewish prayer room that was discovered in the basement of a building in Lviv. Finally, thanks to my friend Sarah who obtained instructions on how to find it, I was able to see it in person. (Though only on our second attempt […]

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 […]

Searching for Traces of the Lipińskis in Oleskiy Region

My great (x5) grandparents Feliks and Tekla Lipiński moved to the village of Koltiv (Kołtów) from Lviv in 1811. Feliks was invited by Count Józef Baworowski to his estate in the countryside to conduct his court orchestra. The former landlords, the Starzeńskis, built a beautiful garden house on a high hill […]

Relics in Belgrade

Serbia’s capital changed hands dozens of times in the past few centuries: Ottoman/Austrian rule 16th–19th centuries Ottoman/Serbian rule 1804–1878 Serbian rule 1878–1914 Austro-Hungarian/Serbian rule 1914–18 Kingdom of Serbia 1918 Yugoslav Kingdom 1918–1941 Nazi/Croatian rule 1941–1944 Yugoslav Republic 1944–1991 I found some relics from Austrian rule, namely antique roller shutters made […]

Ghost Sign on Lesia Ukrayinka Theater

A few year ago, I came across this ghost sign when only a small part was visible. Fortunately, the rest of the sign was recently liberated: SIECZKARNIE  KULTYWATORY MŁOCARNIE  KIERATY CHAFF-CUTTERS TILLERS THRESHERS HORSE MILLS It seems at some point this space sold farming machinery, though I haven’t been able […]

Manufacturer’s Marks in Prague

Koubar & Vinklat Manufacturer’s Mark I think this was part of a lock mechanism, maybe for some roller shutters. The top part says “up” an “down” with arrows which way to turn. Hutter & Schrantz Manufacturer’s Mark Hutter & Schrantz is one of the oldest companies in Austria. It was […]

Descriptive Numbers in Prague

Buildings in Prague have two numbers: a descriptive number (číslo popisné) and a reference number (číslo orientační). The descriptive number is unique within one cadastral area. Today these numbers can be found on red plaques, but the original numbers were either painted or engraved onto the buildings or etched onto […]

Water Pumps in Prague