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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The ‘Galician Gaudi’: Teodor Talowski & His Fanciful Architecture

Teodor Talowski is one of the most important Polish architects of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has been described as the “Galician Gaudi” or the “Polish Gaudi” because he combined late Historicism with Secession (Art Nouveau) and Modernist influences. His works include apartment buildings, churches, chapels, and […]

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 […]

Holding Together Historical Buildings: The Anchor Plates of Lviv

Anchor plates (also called wall washers, pattress plates, masonry stars, etc.) are used to reinforce the structure of masonry buildings. Made from cast or wrought iron, these plates are connected to rods that penetrate the building. Sometimes the rod is exposed, which can be seen on balconies and porticos. The […]

The Only Thing New in the World: Galician Slaughter 1846

By Chris Wilkinson Harry Truman, the United States President from 1945 – 1953, once remarked that “the only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.” This is certainly appropriate when it comes to Eastern Europe. It is quite easy to find interesting historical topics from […]

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 […]

Five Fun Facts about the Galician General Regional Exhibition of 1894

The biggest fair in the history of Lviv (Lwów), the General Regional Exhibition (Powszechna Wystawa Krajowa) drew nearly 1,150,000 visitors over a four-month period. The most distinguished guest was Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I himself. The exhibition was a platform to demonstrate Lviv’s and Galicia’s economic and cultural progress, and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ghost Signs of Krakow

Kraków was considered as the unofficial capital of the western part of Galicia and the second most important city in the region. As in other former Galician cities, today various traces of its time under the Austrian Empire can still be found in the urban landscape. In particular, Kraków has […]