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 […]

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Antique Roller Shutters of Lviv

Antique steel roller shutters dating from before WWII can still be found around Lviv, covering the windows and doors of former storefronts. Some of these shutters are still used; many, however, look as if they haven’t been opened in decades. These remnants of the past are especially interesting because their […]

Austrian Military Barracks in Lviv – Part I

From the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century After the Habsburg Monarchy began to rule Galicia, a large number of land holdings became property of the Austrian military. This is no wonder as the military required considerable resources such as fields, mills, magazines (ammunition […]

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 […]

The Pavilions of the Galician General Regional Exhibition of 1894

The largest fair in the history of Lviv / Lwów / Lemberg, the General Regional Exhibition (Powszechna Wystawa Krajowa) was held in 1894, on the 100th year anniversary of the Kosciuszko Uprising. The aim of the exhibition was to promote Lviv as a modern metropolis and demonstrate Galicia’s economical and […]

Abandoned Roman Catholic Churches in the Galician Countryside

The Eastern Galician countryside — most of which today is located in western Ukraine — is dotted with abandoned Roman Catholic churches (kościoły) that today stand as reminders of the centuries-old Polish communities that once lived there. Before the war, Roman Catholic Poles made up 21% of the population of […]

Ghost Signs of Przemyśl

Today a small city in eastern Poland, Przemyśl (Peremyshl in Ukrainian transliteration) was once one of the major cities in Galicia. Przemyśl’s population consisted of many nationalities, including Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Germans, and Czechs. According to the Austrian census of 1830, the city was home to 7,538 people of whom […]

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 […]

Brody as Depicted on Władysław Kocyan’s Postcards

To get a feeling of what Brody’s cityscape and residents looked like at the beginning of the twentieth century, we can glimpse through the postcards produced by Władysław Kocyan. Kocyan created one of the largest collections of postcards of the town and today they serve as invaluable documents of a […]

The Will to Control: The Austrians Reimagine Lviv’s Rynok Square

By Chris Wilkinson Austrian architecture and culture is often equated with magnificence. Anyone who visits Vienna cannot help but marvel at its many beautiful Baroque buildings, the grandeur of the Hofburg palace, the exquisite culture that gave the world Mozart and Strauss. An air of refinement is pervasive. Conversely, Austrian […]

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch: Much More than Masochism

While today the term “masochism” is widely known, few know its origin, let alone anything about the man behind the name—Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. A while back I posted about this Lviv native’s childhood experiences in the Galician capital (found here), but now I’d like to share a few curious, lesser-known facts […]