Photographs of Prewar Lviv: Ukrainian Signage

In Lviv, according to the Austrian census of 1910, 51% of the city’s population was Polish Roman Catholic, 28% Jewish, and 19% Ukrainian Greek Catholic. Linguistically, 86% of the city’s population used the Polish language while 11% used Ukrainian (Lviv). Looking at these statistics, it’s no surprise that the Ukrainian language was […]

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Ghost Signs of Lviv: A Look into the City’s Faded Past

I love ghost signs. These messages from the past are one of my favorite parts of the urban landscape. I get overly excited every time I discover a new one. Ghost signs (aka fading ads or brick ads) are old hand-painted signs that have been preserved on a building for […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ghost Signs: Galician Towns

Sambir, Drohobych, Boryslav, Rohatyn, and Striy are small cities in Galicia, about 1-1.5 hours south-west or south of Lviv. Not many traces of their Austrian or Polish histories remain, but I did find a few ghost signs—one in German and the rest in Polish. Sambir Drohobych Boryslav Rohatyn   Stryi

Sztuka Cafe: Recreating the Atmosphere of Austro-Hungarian Lviv

One of the best well-preserved examples of prewar Lviv hand-painted signs is found on the façade of a lovely cafe called Sztuka. A cafe of the same name existed in Lviv during the Austrian era. Today’s cafe, though continuing the tradition of the original cafe which was founded in 1909, is located […]

New Ghost Signs in Passage Andreolli, Part II

In May I came across newly uncovered ghost signs in Lviv’s Passage Andreolli. Several years ago a couple of very nice ghost signs were uncovered on the other side of the passage and fortunately they were promptly restored. However, I am uncertain about the fate of these. One of the […]

Prewar Painted Stripes in Lviv

An interesting feature of Lviv’s ghost signs is black and yellow or red and white painted stripes found on former storefronts. There are several opinions floating around as to what exact function they served, so I have yet to have a definitive answer. However, many working in Jewish heritage recently […]

Ghost Sign Liberation

Over the last few years, several of Lviv’s ghost signs have been liberated—by which I mean curious people/ghost sign lovers took into their own hands (literally) to expose signs from under layers of paint and plaster, accelerating the natural process of plaster crumbling due to age and weather. I’ve documented […]

Indoor Ghost Signs in Lviv

It’s less common to find hand-painted signs inside the entranceways and corridors of buildings—but in Lviv there are a few examples of such ghost signs, which served different functions. Kniazha Romana Street During the interwar period, this building housed a oil industry union and a union of petroleum products — […]