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 […]

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 […]

‘The Polish-Ukrainian Border Ran through the Marriage Bed’: Interethnic Marriages in Prewar Galicia

Interethnic marriages are common on territories where together with the indigenous population live representatives of other ethnic groups. Most often they are between ethnic groups that have close religious, linguistic, and cultural characteristics. “In interwar Galicia the largest number of such marriages was between Ukrainians and Poles, especially on the border of […]

Lychakiv Station: Lviv’s Forgotten Train Station

Tucked away in an old neighborhood on the east side of Lviv is the site of a former Austrian-era train station — the Lychakiv Station. Lychakiv Station, built in 1906, was Lviv’s third — after the Main Railway Station and the Pidzamche Station north of the city. The station was […]

Jewish Traces in Lviv: Mezuzah Scars

In Lviv’s medieval old town, the Jewish community was most concentrated on the street which today is called Staroyevreyska, or Old Jewish Street. This Jewish quarter once had two synagogues and a house of learning. During WWII, these synagogues along with other traces of Jewish life were all but erased […]