How Lviv’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names

A look at Lviv’s territorial expansion and annexation of former manorial farms Most people are familiar with how Lviv got its name — founder King Danylo of Halych named the city in honor of his son Lev (“lion”). But what about the names of Lviv’s neighborhoods? It turns out a lot of […]

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‘Schranken’ & ‘Rogatkas’: Lviv’s Austrian-Era Tollgates

The first tollgates (Polish: rogatka; German: Schranke) in Lviv (Lemberg / Lwów) appeared at the end of the eighteenth century when Galicia passed into the possession of the Habsburgs. Until then, customs duties were collected at the city gates that were set within the city walls. In 1777, the dismantling […]

Lviv’s Antique Decorative Floor Tiles

One of the most colorful and decorative traces of the times of Austrian Lviv (Lemberg) can be found right under our feet — in the entrances, vestibules, and stairwells of many of Lviv’s buildings, from the floors of the finest banks and institutions to ordinary residential apartments in the city’s […]

Prewar Glass Inscriptions in Lviv

Around Lviv etched window inscriptions that date from before the war can still be found, though not many — glass is the most fragile of all remnants of the past. Most of these are old street names and building numbers, conscription numbers, and other informative messages that helped people orient […]

Supporting the Beauty of Facades: Lviv’s Blind Balustrades

The blind balustrade, like the blind window, is an element of architecture that has an aesthetic rather than utilitarian function. Instead of forming the protective edge of a balcony or of a change of level, blind balustrades are applied to the wall surface to add ornamentation to the façade or […]

Old Hand Water Pumps in Lviv

Around Lviv one can find a few relatively intact old hand water pumps. In the place of many more, only the bottom mounting piece remains.

horse stable

Remnants of Horse Stables in Lviv

As part of the horse-drawn transportation infrastructure in Lviv, stables were built alongside residential buildings around the city. The stables were one-level structures with haylofts. Sometimes carved horses heads adorned the facades. Not many of these stables remain and those that do are hiding in quiet corners and back alleys […]

Jewish Traces in Lviv: Tombstones Turned to Pavement

When Lviv’s Lenin statue was toppled in 1990, fragments of Jewish tombstones were discovered in the foundation. This came as no surprise—it was a known fact that Nazi and Soviet authorities not only destroyed Lviv’s Jewish cemeteries, but also used the stone to pave the city. Lviv had two Jewish […]

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 […]

Vault Lights in Lviv

Many years ago in Lviv I came across what looked like a metal door matt. I had no idea what it was until I saw similar panels in Edinburgh and Tallinn and turned to the Internet for help. Turns out it is a vault light to illuminate the basement. It […]

Galicia’s Sokolnie: The Architectural Heritage of the Polish Sokół Society

The former buildings of the Sokół Polish Gymnastic Society stand today in the center of almost every Galician town on both sides of the Polish-Ukrainian border. Serving as sports and cultural centers, these were once significant buildings in the town space and often outstanding architectural masterpieces. Although today few of […]