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 […]

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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 […]

Lviv’s First Tram Depot

The first electric tramline in Lviv was built ahead of the General Regional Exhibition of 1894 to bring visitors from the main railway station to the site of the exhibition. To power the line, the first municipal electric station of direct current (DC) was also built, and to house the […]

Remnants of Coal Elevators in Lviv

Remnants of old manually operated coal elevators remain tucked away in some of Lviv’s courtyards. These artifacts date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries — a time when coal was widely used for domestic heating. At that time, coal would have been delivered to the courtyards of residential […]

Combating Dust 100 Years Ago: Traces of Lviv’s Antique Central Vacuum Cleaners

A rather unique and rare remnant of the past found in Lviv is the antique central vacuum inlet — one small part of a central vacuum cleaner system that was installed in buildings still before WWI. Central Vacuum Cleaners A central vacuum cleaner works by sucking dirt particles through tubes […]

Electricity Comes to Lviv’s Residential Buildings: Antique Electrical Panels

Dozens of prewar electrical panels can be found inside the entryways of many of Lviv’s old buildings. Although more than one hundred years have passed since they were installed, these devices continue to supply power. Here’s a look at how electricity first came to Lviv’s residential buildings and the role […]

Engineer Słowik and His Enduring Mark on Lviv

The Recovered Story of a Prewar Metalworks Owner Countless people contributed to the urban development of Lviv and left their enduring mark on the city. It is thanks to these architects, urban planners, engineers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, construction workers, and factory workers that we have the beautiful architecture, cobblestone roads, infrastructure, […]

Historical Manhole Covers: Przemyśl

In the part of Galicia that is today Ukraine, dating certain remnants of the past can be relatively easy due to the language of the inscription — anything in Polish dates from before WWII. On the other hand, in a city like Przemyśl where Polish was and still is the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]