Vanished World: Galicia’s Lost Synagogues

Galicia was once home to a large Jewish population. Before the war, Jews were the third most numerous ethnic group in the region, after Poles and Ukrainians, and all Galician cities and towns had vibrant Jewish communities. Much of this heritage was destroyed during the war and most of what […]

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Lviv’s Underground River: The Poltva

By Chris Wilkinson The old city center of Lviv seems to have it all. Medieval  and Baroque architectural wonders, a magnificent Neo-Renaissance opera house, cobblestone streets, fashionable coffee houses and eye popping, colorful buildings. This ensemble was deemed worthy of UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The cliché that you have […]

Obsession: Antoni Schneider & His Encyclopedia of Expertise on Galicia

By Chris Wilkinson A good argument could be made that obsession is little more than ambition taken to extremes, ambition to do something way beyond what has ever been done before. Obsessions by their very nature are all consuming. Thus obsessives find their lives for better or worse (usually worse) […]

Love as Another Form of Insanity: Dueling for Romance in 19th-Century Lviv

By Chris Wilkinson In the popular imagination, a classic nineteenth-century duel consists of two men standing back to back. They begin stepping away from one another, fifteen slow, but steady paces, suddenly they turn to fire their pistols. The first shooter has a near miss. A cold, terrifying fear descends […]

Remnants of Coal Elevators

One of the remnants of Lviv’s coal infrastructure is the manually operated freight elevator. Coal would have been transported into the courtyards of buildings along tracks located in the entrance ways. Then from the courtyard the coal would have been hoisted up to each floor on an elevator. This would […]

Mozart in Lviv: Grasping for Greatness, Discovering Love

By Chris Wilkinson There is an odd symmetry to the fact that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life and music is most often identified with Vienna and Austria, while his son, Franz Xaver Mozart’s musical career took place in the obscurity of Galicia and Lviv. The son headed off to the most […]

Historical Maps of Galicia (1775-1918)

Borders and Districts of Galicia Galicia as a geopolitical entity was created in 1772 with the establishment of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, the Austrian Empire’s easternmost crownland. The capital of the province was Lemberg (today Lviv). A century and a half later, in 1918, Galicia was wiped from […]

Solomiya Krushelnytska: The Galician Who Rescued Puccini’s Madame Butterfly

By Chris Wilkinson It was a voice destined to be heard by millions, a siren’s call that was heard across the world. In opera houses from Odesa to Ottawa, Naples to New York she performed before adoring crowds entranced by the strains of her sonorous vocals. She filled the halls […]

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 […]

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 […]