Photographs of Prewar Lviv: Ukrainian Signage

In Lviv, according to the Austrian census of 1910, 51% of the city’s population was Polish Roman Catholic, 28% Jewish, and 19% Ukrainian Greek Catholic. Linguistically, 86% of the city’s population used the Polish language while 11% used Ukrainian (Lviv). Looking at these statistics, it’s no surprise that the Ukrainian language was […]

Read More

Bracia Mund: How Three Brothers Brought Beauty to Lviv’s Vestibules

One of the most successful businesses in Galicia was Bracia Mund, which was founded in 1898 in Lwów (Lviv). It was co-owned by three brothers Maurycy Mund (1869-~1943), Jakób Mund (1872-~1943), and Ignacy Mund (?-~1943). The company started off with a storefront at 23 Sykstuska Street (now Doroshenka), selling architectural […]

Billboard-Style Ghost Signs in Lviv

Most of Lviv’s ghost signs are found on the front of buildings, advertising products sold in a particular store. But there are a handful of larger ones as well, located on exposed sides of buildings, sometimes above the rooftops or on the entire side of a building. Often they were […]

Ghost Signs of Lviv: A Look into the City’s Faded Past

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 […]

The Coats of Arms of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria

Today the jackdaw is the most recognizable symbol of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria; yet, this crow was not even found on the crownland’s first coat of arms, which featured three crowns for Galicia along with separate symbols for Lodomeria and Auschwitz (Oświęcim). Why was the first coat of […]

Photographs of Prewar Lviv: Hand-Painted Signs

I’ve combed through hundreds of old photographs of Lviv (Lemberg / Lwów) in search of hand-painted signs that are visible today as “ghost signs.” While I’ve only been able to find one such example – a photograph of a milkhouse, the search was not in vain: I came out with […]

Ghost Signs of Krakow

Kraków was considered as the unofficial capital of the western part of Galicia and the second most important city in the region. As in other former Galician cities, today various traces of its time under the Austrian Empire can still be found in the urban landscape. In particular, Kraków has […]

Ghost Signs of Przemyśl

Today a small city in eastern Poland, Przemyśl (Peremyshl in Ukrainian transliteration) was once one of the major cities in Galicia. Przemyśl’s population consisted of many nationalities, including Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Germans, and Czechs. According to the Austrian census of 1830, the city was home to 7,538 people of whom […]

Orienting Us through the Past: Historical Street Signage in Przemyśl

It is not uncommon in Przemyśl, Poland, to find two, three, or even four different street signs on one building—dating to different periods and regimes: the Austrian Empire, interwar Poland, Communist Poland, and modern Poland. This is because in Poland there was never a campaign to remove Polish inscriptions from […]

Medieval Signage in Lviv

Medieval ads and signs have survived in and around Lviv’s Rynok Square. These are metal signs or stone carvings located above entrance ways. The emblems marked the locations of guilds, workshops, stores, taverns, etc. Signage during this era used symbols since the general populace was illiterate. Entrances to taverns were […]

Ghost Signs: Galician Towns

Sambir, Drohobych, Boryslav, Rohatyn, and Striy are small cities in Galicia, about 1-1.5 hours south-west or south of Lviv. Not many traces of their Austrian or Polish histories remain, but I did find a few ghost signs—one in German and the rest in Polish. Sambir Drohobych Boryslav Rohatyn   Stryi