German-Era Bomb Shelter Signs in Lviv

During the Nazi-occupation of Lviv from 1941 to 1944, the Germans established bomb shelters in basements around the city. To this day we can still see some of the signage, namely, the letters “NA” and an arrow pointing to the shelter. According to one source, “NA” (short for “Notausgang”) marked […]

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Sztuka Cafe: Recreating the Atmosphere of Austro-Hungarian Lviv

One of the best well-preserved examples of prewar Lviv hand-painted signs is found on the façade of a lovely cafe called Sztuka. A cafe of the same name existed in Lviv during the Austrian era. Today’s cafe, though continuing the tradition of the original cafe which was founded in 1909, is located […]

New Ghost Signs in Passage Andreolli, Part II

In May I came across newly uncovered ghost signs in Lviv’s Passage Andreolli. Several years ago a couple of very nice ghost signs were uncovered on the other side of the passage and fortunately they were promptly restored. However, I am uncertain about the fate of these. One of the […]

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 […]

Indoor Ghost Signs in Lviv

It’s less common to find hand-painted signs inside the entranceways and corridors of buildings—but in Lviv there are a few examples of such ghost signs, which served different functions. Kniazha Romana Street During the interwar period, this building housed a oil industry union and a union of petroleum products — […]

Old Hat Shop Signs in Lviv

I came across a lovely prewar photograph of the outside of a hat shop in Lviv. The hand-painted sign reads in Polish “Pracownia czapek – wykonuje po najtańszych cenach,” which means “Hats workshop – produced at the cheapest prices.” In addition to Polish, it includes a Yiddish translation as well […]

Ghost Sign on Lesia Ukrayinka Theater

A few year ago, I came across this ghost sign when only a small part was visible. Fortunately, the rest of the sign was recently liberated: SIECZKARNIE  KULTYWATORY MŁOCARNIE  KIERATY CHAFF-CUTTERS TILLERS THRESHERS HORSE MILLS It seems at some point this space sold farming machinery, though I haven’t been able […]

Ghost Signs on Hlyboka Street

It’s not often I find an old photograph of Lviv with signage that is still visible today. One of the few examples is a prewar photograph of a milk house, the storefront of which still displays the multilingual signs of the long-gone establishment, as can be seen in this post. […]

Prewar German-Czech Street Signs in Prague

These bilingual German and Czech street signs (some include descriptive house numbers) date from before WWI, likely before 1892 when the Czech-controlled City Hall decided to replace the city’s bilingual street signs with exclusively Czech ones.

Prague’s House Signs

Before Empress Maria Theresa introduced identifying numbers to Prague in 1770, houses were known and located by allegorical symbols. Many of them originally had alchemical significance. The Two Suns The Golden Key Castle goldsmiths lived in this house in the 17th century They paid fees to the city and thus […]