From Countryside to City: The Evolution of Ukrainian Urban Folk Fashion in Galicia

Ukraine boasts an ancient and rich tradition of embroidery. Folk embroidery was deeply symbolic and connected with a great number of beliefs, myths, and superstitions. At the heart of this tradition was the shirt, known as the vyshyta sorochka or vyshyvanka. For centuries, Ukrainian embroidery was confined to the rural […]

Lederer & Popper Photomontage Postcards of Galicia and Beyond

I love looking at old photographs of Galician cities and towns, especially postcards with city views. A real treat among these are photomontages — postcard collages. I first came across montage postcards depicting Lviv and was particularly struck by the one with a woman who had fallen from her bicycle. […]

‘Servus’: ‘Hello’ from the Old Days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Servus! This article is about a Galician tradition that can be found on both sides of the current Polish-Ukrainian border. It is about the word “servus,” a salutation typically used as a greeting, which gained popularity during the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and which became common across its entire territory. While […]

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 […]

‘Obezpechyla Azienda’: Lviv’s Prewar Ukrainian-Language Fire Mark

I started working on this article in February 2022, shortly before the war started and before I ended up in Kraków for several months. *** Every day I walk to work across Lviv’s Old Town, passing Rynok Square right in front of the city hall building, down Ruska Street, then […]

Finding Solidarity with Ukraine: 12 Ways Kraków and Lviv Are Connected via Their Historical Built Environment

Kraków has become my temporary wartime home. When Russia began it full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, I made the difficult decision to leave my home in Lviv and depart for Poland. I didn’t know how long I would be gone or where I would end up; but […]

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‘Ked’ my pryshla karta’: An Austro-Hungarian Recruit Song

“Ked’ my pryshla karta” (Кедь ми прийшла карта) is a folk ballad from the Lemko region (Lemkovyna or Lemkivshchyna), a mountainous territory that stretches along the present-day borders of Ukraine, Poland, and Slovakia. The area that today belongs to Poland and Ukraine was a part of Galicia until WWI, while […]

Country of Roxolania: Ukrainian Women in the First World War

By Mariana Baidak for Lokalna Istoriya (original in Ukrainian) “Out of my love for Ukraine, I took a rifle and went to the field to beat the enemy with physical force,” said Olena Stepaniv, the most famous Ukrainian military woman, more than 100 years ago. Since then, the issue of […]

How to Teach a Bear to Play the Flute: The Fairy-Tale World of Oleksa Bakhmatiuk

By Oleksandr Simchuk for Amnesia Master tilemaker Oleksa Bakhmatiuk (1820-1882) is the most famous representative of the Kosiv school of ceramics and perhaps the most successful Ukrainian artist of the nineteenth century. A lion playing with a wheel, a bear on the flute warming up a violinist, street artists dancing […]

‘Czerwony Pas’ & ‘Verkhovyno’: The Story of a Polish and Ukrainian ‘Folk’ Song

Today, both the Poles and Ukrainians have a beloved song about the Hutsul Carpathian highlanders, sung in their own languages to a similar melody. How did this come to be? The Polish Story Karpaccy Górale We must first look back at the first half of the nineteenth century. This is […]