Boot Scrapers: Przemyśl

It was in Przemyśl, a small Galician city situated today in Poland near the Ukrainian border, that I first discovered what a boot scraper was and where my love for these remnants of the past began. I had seen them in Lviv but didn’t give them much thought until I noticed them […]

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Reawakening Polish Prewar Urban Music

Late last year I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the atmosphere of Lviv’s interwar music scene at a live performance of a young band from Warsaw, which plays famous tunes from Poland’s 1920-1930s musical heritage. Warszawska Orkiestra Sentymentalna (Warsaw Sentimental Orchestra) comprises a group of young musicians united […]

Warsaw Village Band: Preserving the Folk Music Culture of Poland

“Presenting six young people who have created their own version of Polish folk punk! This band has found a welcome in the homes of elderly village musicians who see their traditions disappearing before the onslaught of urban life. They have taken these youngsters under their wing and have taught them […]

Orkiestra św. Mikołaja: ‘From the High Field’

“Z wysokiego pola” (From the High Field) is one of my favorite songs by Orkiestra św. Mikołaja. The melody of the song is Hungarian, while the text is a Polish ballad from the region near Zamość— an ancestral land.  In the early nineteenth century my great 4x grandfather had an estate in Zalesie. […]

Prewar Manhole Covers: Przemyśl

In Poland it’s a little more difficult to determine the age of manhole covers than in Ukraine, because in Ukraine if it’s in Polish, it’s old; but in Poland, everything is in Polish… However, by comparing them with prewar ones in Lviv, I think I’ve been able to distinguish which […]

Hand-Painted Sign in Lublin

At first I thought this was a ghost sign, but after looking closer at what it says and later finding that there really is a store with that name now, I understood it was not. It’s a store that sells gifts, souvenirs, and postcards. I really like the sign nevertheless.

Lublin’s Guard Stones

From 1795-1803 Lublin was part of New Galicia, a short-lived administrative region of the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy. In 1803 it was merged with the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, but retained some autonomy. In 1809 Austria lost this territory, and in 1815 it became part of Congress Poland. A sampling of Lublin’s […]

Hitching Rings in Lublin and Warsaw

Lublin, Poland, still has some intact horse hitching rings. They are attached to the front of several buildings in downtown Lublin. These iron rings would have been used to tie up horses by people doing errands downtown. They probably started to fall out of use in the 1920s. I also […]

Antique Locks in Rzeszów

This is a unique find for me. There are about 8 of these antique locks still attached to a building in Rzeszów, Poland. They were made by a company L. Russ in Drohobycz. The city of Drohobycz is presently in Ukraine, but both Drohobycz and Rzeszów were historically part of Galicia […]

Ghost Signs in Sanok

Sanok is a Polish city located in the Carpathian Mountains. Historically, the region was inhabited by Lemkos and Boykos. In the interwar period, the city was known as a center of the Ukrainian movement in Galicia, and of the cultural heritage of Lemkos and other Rusyns. I didn’t spend much […]