Prewar Street Signage in Lviv

Considering how many times street names and the official language were changed in Lviv, it’s quite miraculous that we can still find street signage from previous eras around the city.  But in fact, quite a few prewar Polish-language street signs remain hidden (sometimes quite literally under paint or plaster) in […]

Lviv 1934: Through the Lens of American Explorer Louise Arner Boyd

Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972) was an American explorer of Greenland and the Arctic, who wrote extensively of her explorations, and in 1955 became the first woman to fly over the North Pole privately chartering a DC-4 and crew that included aviation pioneer Thor Solberg. In August 1934, after being elected as a […]

‘The Polish-Ukrainian Border Ran through the Marriage Bed’: Interethnic Marriages in Prewar Galicia

Interethnic marriages are common on territories where together with the indigenous population live representatives of other ethnic groups. Most often they are between ethnic groups that have close religious, linguistic, and cultural characteristics. “In interwar Galicia the largest number of such marriages was between Ukrainians and Poles, especially on the border of […]

‘Only in Lviv’: How One Song Became the Anthem for a Nation

By Juliette Bretan ‘Where else do people feel as good as here? Only in Lviv! Where else they lull you to sleep and wake you up with a song? Only in Lviv!’ (‘Tylko We Lwowie’, 1939) In the region straddling the border between Poland and Ukraine, there is a single […]

The Eastern Fair in Lviv: Art Deco Posters

The Eastern Fair The Eastern Fair (Targi Wschodnie in Polish) was a major trade fair in interwar Poland. It was established in 1921 in Lwów (today Lviv), after the end of the Polish-Soviet War, which redrew the Polish-Soviet border and incorporated Galicia into the Second Polish Republic. The aim of […]

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 […]

Antique Metal Roller Shutters: Lviv

Lviv still has quite a few Austrian- and Polish-era metal roller shutters, which cover windows and doors of former storefronts. Some of the shutters are still used; many, however, look as if they haven’t been opened in decades. The plates with locks are stamped with а manufacturer’s mark—typically the name […]

Prewar Lviv in Photographs: Roller Shutter Signage

In prewar Lviv, ads and signs were placed on all sorts of surfaces, as can be seen in my post about hand-painted signs. Here is a small collection of old photographs of Lviv showing signage that was painted on the roller shutters that protected storefronts (and so only visible when […]

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 […]