Waterworks Plates of Lviv

Before World War II, companies that installed plumbing and sewers in Lviv (Lwów/Lemberg) attached plates on building where such services were provided. A few of these plates, which state in Polish that “wodociąg w tym domu” (water supply in this house) was installed by such and such company, can still […]

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‘Nie Zamykać’: A Reminder Not to Close the Door Behind You

Around Kraków, near the handles of old doors you can find signs asking you to “nie zamykać” (don’t close) the door. The reason is that the door had a special door closer – a mechanical device that automatically closed the door in a controlled manner. As such door closers were […]

‘Obuwie Wycierać’: A Reminder to Keep Kraków’s Entryways Clean

In several of Kraków’s pre-WWII buildings, one can find inscriptions near the entrance asking those entering to “wipe your shoes” (“Uprasza się obuwie wycierać”). Maintaining a clean building would have been more difficult in those times as fewer streets were paved, making it muddier than today. There would have also […]

Fire Marks from the Kraków Mutual Insurance Society

Shortly before the full-scale war started, I was working on an article about fire insurance companies that worked in Lviv (Lwów / Lemberg) in Austrian times. Thanks to this, I had learned about the Kraków Mutual Insurance Society and knew that their former headquarters still stood in Kraków. Thus some […]

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 […]

Architectural Styles of Galician Railway Station Buildings (1856-1914)

A look at some of the different architectural styles used for passenger railway station buildings across Galicia, from the time of the first railway line (1856-1861) to World War I (1914). 1856-1861: The First Galician Railway | Gothic Revival Lviv’s very first railway station was constructed in 1861 for the […]

Lviv’s Prewar Electrical Substation Booths

Lviv’s first municipal electric station of direct current (DC) was built to power the electric tram, which was introduced ahead of the General Regional Exhibition of 1894 to bring visitors from the main train station to the site of the exhibition. The competition for the construction of the tram network was won […]

Old Hand Water Pumps in Lviv

Around Lviv one can find a few relatively intact old hand water pumps. In the place of many more, only the bottom mounting piece remains.

horse stable

Remnants of Horse Stables in Lviv

As part of the horse-drawn transportation infrastructure in Lviv, stables were built alongside residential buildings around the city. The stables were one-level structures with haylofts. Sometimes carved horses heads adorned the facades. Not many of these stables remain and those that do are hiding in quiet corners and back alleys […]

Bassenas: Antique Sinks in Lviv

Many of Lviv’s old buildings had communal sinks located in courtyards, hallways, or on galleries. No longer a water source for the residents of these buildings, most of the sinks have been removed and today are popular antiques. Only a handful remain in their original locations, especially the decorative ones […]

Urine Deflectors of Lviv

An anti-toilet or anti-urination device is a form of hostile architecture, an element of the built environment that prevents people from urinating on the street. There are two kinds of such devices: urine deflectors, especially cones built into the nooks of buildings, which cause the culprit to be showered with […]