Sitemap Poland Ukrainian Slovak
TOURISM from Lvov...
Articles
The Old Lvov...
By Galicja Pogranicze
Published: 10.12.2011

    Lvov history is as colorful and amazing as a city itself. It is filled with interesting events and outstanding figures. Today Lvov is more than 750 years old and it has lots of stories to tell you! City situated on the crossing of two profitable trade routes developed and flourished rapidly and became one of main trade centers of medieval Europe. Afterwards while being a part of different countries, Lvov borrowed some parts of culture and knowledge from invaders. Later on it transformed not only to an architectural gem, but also to the modern capital of scientific, spiritual and artistic life.

    In 1248, with the aim of strengthening international dynastic connections, Danylo Halytsky had his son Lev married to Princess Constance, the daughter of King of Hungary Bela IV, and granted the city, which was named Lvov after his son, to the newly married couple. Constance was a Catholic and often yearned after her home land and her religion. Lev decided to make his beloved wife a present in the form of the Catholic Church of John the Baptist, constructed in the Roman style. 

    Under the Castle Hill stood the prince’s palace and the prince’s court Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas. 750 years ago life was at full swing in the Old Rynok Square. Merchants from both Europe and Asia came here: Europeans dealt in cloth, leather, silver and weapons, Greeks and Armenians - in silk, eastern roots and wine.

   In the 70s of the 13th century Prince Lev Danylovych moved the capital of his powerful state, whose borders reached as far as the Black Sea, from Halych to Lvov. But the historical Fortune turned her back on the Halychyna - Volyn Principality: weakened by constant raids by Mongol-Tatars and intestine strife, it became an easy prey for the Kingdom of Poland.

The Rulers of Lvov
From 1256 till today - Who Ruled Lvov and Whom the City Belonged to.
1256 – 1340 – Lvov as a part of Halychyna - Volyn Principality.
1340 – 1349 – Lvov under the rule of boyar oligarchy of Dmitri Detko from Przemysl and Danylo from Ostrov.
1353 – Lvov under the rule of Lithuanian Prince Lubart Gedyminowicz.
1372 – 1378 – Lvov under the rule of Governor Wladyslaw Opolczyk, practically under Hungarian protectorate.
1378 – 1387 – Lvov under the Hungarian rule.
1387 – 1772 – Lvov under the rule of Rzeczpospolita.
1772 – 1918 – Lvov under the rule of the Austrian Empire.
1914 – 1915 – Lvov under the rule of Tsar’s Russi
1918 – Lvov under the rule of the West-Ukrainian People’s Republic.
1918 – 1939 – Lvov under the Polish rule.
1939 – 1941 – Lvov under the rule of the USSR.
1941 – 1944 – Lvov under the rule of Nazi Germany.
1944 – 1991 – Lvov under the rule of the USSR.
From 1991 - Lvov as a part of independent Ukrainian state.

The current building of the Lvov City Hall
    Foundations of the new City Hall were laid in a year; its construction was finished in 1835. The construction cost an enormous amount of money for that time – half a million crowns. The new City Hall had 9 halls and 156 rooms. Apart from the magistrate it housed a school, a savings bank, municipal archives, and other establishments. The tower grew to a height of almost 65 meters, and a clock made in the workshop of the Viennese Polytechnic was mounted in it. The fate of the new City Hall was not unclouded either: during the revolution of 1848 as a result of artillery battering the tower caught fire and its dome fell. The building was renovated in 1851 in its current form: the City Hall tower, instead of being topped by a dome, was completed with the serrated edge of early medieval towers. A new clock, made in 1852 at the Viennese Still Factory, has been performing its duty for Lividest without fail for half a century; the tolling of its bells is an organic part of the city’s aura. If you reach the gallery of the City Hall right at the moment when the clock strikes and make a wish, it will certainly come true
   In 1883 the City Hall was connected via telephone wires to the fire brigade and other local establishments. The city magistrate resided in the City Hall, and after the right of self-government was granted to Lvov in 1870, the city president resided here. On the 1st of November 1919 the national blue-and-yellow flag was hoisted on the City Hall tower for the first time; since the 3rd of April 1990 the national flag of Ukraine has been permanently waving in the sky above Lvov. Nowadays, as in times past, the City Council of Lvov resides in the building; this, however, does not prevent tourists from walking along its corridors and climbing to its highest point.

The Gunpowder Tower of 1554-1556
- is the only monument of fortification construction in Lvov that has been preserved to date.

    Out of several dozen solid defensive towers, gates and bastions in Lvov, only one has survived to the present day – the Gunpowder Tower. It was built of stone left over from the old City Arsenal. This was the most solid tower, as it was from this direction that invaders from the East would often approach the city walls. The tower stands on defensive ramparts preserved from ancient times; two hundred years ago a park was laid out here and it was called the Governor’s Ramparts after the residence of the Austrian Governor of Galicia (‘Halychyna’), which was located nearby.
- was not used exclusively for defensive purposes. Lvov was a trading centre, and so everything was designed to contribute to trade. During short intervals of peace without the looming threat of enemies, the tower was used as a grain storage.
   Since the late 1950s the tower has accommodated the so-called House of the Architect which often hosts cultural events. Even though the tower looks quite vast from the outside, the inside facilities are rather confined: this is because the walls are about three meters wide. The tower entrance is guarded by two white marble lions of the 19th century, which, from among the approximately seven thousand stone lions in Lvov, are of the greatest artistic value.

The George Hotel
- is the oldest functioning hotel in Ukraine, built in 1901 in the Neo-Renaissance-Neo-Baroque style.

    At the beginning of the 20th century the Viennese Association of Architects Helmet and Filner built the George Hotel – a new and beautiful hotel in the Neo-Renaissance style. This was a fashionable high-class hotel which corresponded to the five-star category of those times. Over a century ago this hotel offered around-the-clock hot and cold water supply, telephone, central heating, and electric lifts. The cuisine and service of the first-class restaurant and coffee shop met with the satisfaction of guests of the highest rank.

   The building’s fronton bears the only surviving remnant of the old hotel - a bas-relief of St. George. The four corners of the building were decorated by the sculptor Popiel, according to the design of his colleague Marconi, with sculptures of four areas of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.
   At various times many famous people stayed at the George Hotel: the composers Ferns Liszt and Maurice Ravel, the writers Ethel Lillian Voynich, Count Aleksey Tolstoy, and the Nobel Prize winner Wladyslaw Reymont, as well as the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, the dictator of Poland Josef Pilsudski, the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, and Iranian Shah Muzaffer Eddin. It was here where Honoree de Balzac stayed twice on the way to the estate of his beloved Ewelina Haska in Verkhivnya, in Padilla, and it was from here that he would write letters to her.

Architectural gems of Austrian Lvov
Building No. 1/3 at the corner of Svobody Prospect and Kopernika Street,
- known as the Hauser House, and the most beautiful Empire building in Lvov, was built in 1809-1822. In the 1850s Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria lived here. The building is adorned with numerous reliefs on mythological themes, including compositions of Amor and Psyche and Paris kidnapping Helen by the Lvov sculptor Gartman Witwer.
    The Museum of Ethnography and Arts and Crafts in 15 Svobody Avenue was built in 1891 and designed by Julian Zachariewicz for the Halytska Savings Bank. The façade of the grand romantic building is decorated with rusticated stone, polychrome brick, and forged metal. The top of the building is adorned with a dome and the sculptural group of Savings by Leonardo Marconi; its central figure resembles the American Statue of Liberty. It was this Lvov sculpture that in 1884 inspired the creation of the sculpture later given by France to the citizens of New York.
    Palace of the Counts Potocki the most impressive building in Kopernika Street (No. 15) is the former The magnificent and exquisite building is regally situated beyond its decorative iron gate. Designed in 1890 by Lvov architect Julian Cybulski in the style of French Renaissance, this imposing palace is adorned with reliefs, stucco moldings, wall-paintings, and stained glass.
   The Neo-Gothic building No. 11 in Valova Street of 1910 was designed by architect A. Schlehen. The stylized lancet windows are quite interesting. The medieval knights on the second floor balcony hold shields with the heraldic emblems of lands of Western and Eastern Halychyna, Volyn, and the emblem of Lvov.
   6 Knyazya Romana Street was built in 1912-1914 of dark masonry in the spirit of German Jugendstil. It instantly invites attention by its unusual stylization of the Middle Ages. The figures of sullen knights-atlases and the bas-reliefs of ferocious lions convey a mood of a severe ancient epoch, although at the same time the building displays features of refinement particular to early 20th century Secession architecture.


The Black Stone House (1588)
- is a unique monument of Renaissance architecture and is probably not comparable to any other building in the whole of Europe.

- acquired its name in the 19th century for one very trivial reason: over the centuries white lead used as a coating for polychrome had oxidized because of exposure to air and light, thus turning it black. Later, this black color was maintained by routine repairs. In the 1960s there was a popular legend that the black color of the building was the result of years of rubbing the black juice of green walnut peels into the façade. Another theory for the black discoloration, which is discounted by leading architects of Lvov, holds that soot has covered the white sandstone as a result of many years of heating. 
    The heating of buildings in winter was rather elaborate in the Middle Ages. To keep in warmth, carpets would be hung at some distance from walls to create an air gap for heating. To heat buildings a two-chambered stove would be fired up. Blazing wood heated stones and warm air from the stones travelled through pipes to all the floors. The porous sandstone that the building is built of would actively absorb dust and soot for centuries, turning it from white to black.
   The first owner of this building, or more precisely, of the one that used to stand in the location of the present one, was Andrei of Kyiv, that is why it was called the Kyiv House. At the end of the 16th century a representative of the Lvov patrician generation, Jan Lorencowicz, opened one of the first pharmacies in Lvov here. At that time the building was called Lorencowiczivsky. Jan Lorencowicz’s granddaughter married a doctor named Martin Anczewski, and so in the 17th century the house was called the Doctor’s House. At the same time Doctor Anczewski had the house decorated with a sculpture of his patron, St. Martin, who cut his cloak in half with his sword to share it with a beggar. Here one can also see the figure of the Lvov Saint Stanislaus Kostka, the city’s patron and protector from fire. At the building’s entrance a stone bench has been preserved from the Middle Ages where a guard used to sit.
Aleksander Borovkov, Bohdan Zhukiewicz
photo (sasza, bo, zakapior)

... photo...

The Kornyakt Town - photo Bohdan Zhukiewicz

Info