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 first seen these odd metal objects in Lviv, but hadn’t given them […]

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Historical Manhole Covers and Storm Drains in Ivano-Frankivsk

Ivano-Frankivsk, formerly known as Stanisławów, was one of the largest cities in Galicia, and so it is no wonder that many relics of its prewar past can still be found in the urban landscape. In particular, quite a few manhole covers and storm drains still serve the city’s infrastructure.  From […]

Königsau: Galicia’s Pentagon-Shaped German Colony

The village of Königsau (“royal meadow”) was established in 1783 by German Roman Catholic settlers as part of the Josephine colonization—a state-funded settlement campaign to reinforce the society of Galician Germans. And while many German colonies were established as part of this campaign, Königsau is unique for it is the […]

Prewar Hydrant and Valve Marker Plates

Marker plates, which indicate the location of hydrants or valves, can be found all over Lviv. The plates were attached to the facades of buildings to display information about the utility as well as to ensure that the hydrant or valve could be found even if the road was covered […]

Prewar Street Signage in Lviv

Considering how many times street names and the official language were changed in Lviv, it’s quite miraculous that we can still find street signage from previous eras around the city.  But in fact, quite a few prewar Polish-language street signs remain hidden (sometimes quite literally under paint or plaster) in […]

Tramway Rosettes and Numbers in Lviv

Antique tramway rosettes remain on many of Lviv’s historic buildings. These elements of infrastructure were attached to the facades of buildings to hold cross-street wires in place, which in turn supported the naked live wire which supplied power to the trams.Lviv’s first electric tram began running in 1894. Throughout the next […]

Cistern in Pohulyanka Park

The first water supply system in Lviv was built in 1407. The ​​German Peter Schtecher was responsible for drafting the plans for the construction of cisterns and water pipes. As information about the work associated with the laying of water pipes was strictly classified, no documents with the precise locations […]

Austrian-Era Wooden Water Pipes in Lviv

In 2013 when one Lviv’s main thoroughfares, Horodotska Street, was being renovated, the construction workers found wooden water pipes that dated from the early years of the Austrian Empire, making them well over 150 years old. These pipes were made by taking wood logs, digging out the core, and placing inside […]

Lviv’s Ancient Wells and Fountains

Wells and fountains were both a practical and aesthetic part of Lviv’s landscape. Records and photographs reveal that there were indeed many of them all around the city, especially near churches and monasteries. In time, with the advent of new infrastructures, these once vital water access points became obsolete, and […]

Lost in a Sea of Cobblestones: Lviv’s Historical Manhole Covers & Storm Drains

To find traces of Lviv’s prewar past, one must not forget to look down from time to time. Indeed, below our feet are hiding hundreds of manhole and utility covers, which have been serving the city’s infrastructure since before the war. These Austrian- and Polish-era cast iron plates cover buried […]

Remnants of Coal Elevators

One of the remnants of Lviv’s coal infrastructure is the manually operated freight elevator. Coal would have been transported into the courtyards of buildings along tracks located in the entrance ways. Then from the courtyard the coal would have been hoisted up to each floor on an elevator. This would […]