German-Era Bomb Shelter Signs in Kraków

One of the obsolete remnants of the past has again become relevant in Lviv is the WWII-era bomb shelter signs. Across the city traces of such signs from the times of the Nazi occupation can still be found. Soon after I arrived in Kraków (in late February 2022) I found […]

Finding Solidarity with Ukraine: 12 Ways Kraków and Lviv Are Connected via Their Historical Built Environment

Kraków has become my temporary wartime home. When Russia began it full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, I made the difficult decision to leave my home in Lviv and depart for Poland. I didn’t know how long I would be gone or where I would end up; but […]

Prewar Glass Inscriptions in Lviv

Around Lviv etched window inscriptions that date from before the war can still be found, though not many — glass is the most fragile of all remnants of the past. Most of these are old street names and building numbers, conscription numbers, and other informative messages that helped people orient […]

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 […]

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 […]