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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

Ghost Sign Liberation

Over the last few years, several of Lviv’s ghost signs have been liberated—by which I mean curious people/ghost sign lovers took into their own hands (literally) to expose signs from under layers of paint and plaster, accelerating the natural process of plaster crumbling due to age and weather. I’ve documented […]

Listy: Prewar Mail Slots

A few weeks ago, I awoke to find that the original mail slot on the front door to my apartment was missing: “Last night someone stole the old metal mail slot from my front door and the front door of my neighbor’s apartment. Mine was old, but my neighbor’s was […]

Servant’s Quarters in Prewar Lviv Building

I suppose it was common for buildings in Lviv’s center and wealthier neighborhoods to have the architectural infrastructure for servants who lived with the families. These now largely antiquated architectural elements would have included a servant staircase, sleeping quarters, and a separate wash area. Fortunately, the planning of my apartment […]

Soccer Terms in Interwar Galicia

Recently, Gazeta.ua published an article (in Ukrainian) about soccer in interwar Galicia, and it includes a list of soccer terms used in Galicia in that period. In the diaspora we still call soccer (football) копаний м’яч (literally, “kicked ball”), the term that was used in pre-WWII Galicia. Today in Ukraine, […]

Boyko Music: ‘At the Foot of the Carpathian Chain’

My paternal grandfather was born in the village of Lybokhora (Turka District), the “capital” of Boyko instrumental music. His parents, who were from the Sambir and Lviv regions, moved to this Carpathian village in the early 1900s to direct and teach at the local school. This is a picture from […]