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Lvov illuminated by Heavens
By Galicja Pogranicze
Published: 10.03.2013


The center, the market Square,

- forms almost an ideal square (142 m x 129 m).
   In its four corners, there are four fountains with statues of Poseidon, Adonis, Diana (Artemida) and Amphitrite (sculptor Hartman Witwer, 1793). Rynok square with the tower is the heart of Lvov.
   The town hall in the middle is the point of crossing of eight streets.
The current building of the Lvov City Hall
- was constructed in the Viennese Classicist style in the middle of the 19th century.

- for only 3 UAH (47 eurocents), one can climb 350 wooden stairs and have the pleasure of viewing all the beauty that the city affords from the gallery of the City Hall tower.

     This City Hall is the fourth in the city’s history. The first two were destroyed by fire, the third Renaissance one was erected in 1619. It was the City Hall that became the historical herald of the city’s fate. During a fierce storm on the 9th of July 1672 the lion-shaped weather vane came off the tower and fell down, facing East. The same year the city was under Turkish siege. The second time the weather vane came off was in 1704, just before Lvov was captured by the army of Swedish King Karl 1826 became a fatal year for the City Hall itself. At the very moment when a commission sitting in the City Hall was drawing up a report on the building’s reliability, the City Hall collapsed, burying eight citizens under its ruins.

Rynok Square
- has been the centre of political, public, cultural, and commercial life of the city for 500 years; it is the heart of Lvov, the setting of the historic beginning of the Europeanization of Ukraine. Surrounding it are about fifty unique architectural monuments dating back to the 16-20th centuries.

    Rynok Square in Lvov has retained its name since the 14th century. It originates from the German “deer Ring” (ring, circle), which had been the principle of construction of central squares in German medieval cities.
   It was here, in valley of the Poltva River where, in the middle of the 14th century, German colonists commissioned by King Kazimierz III laid the foundations for a classical European town with a market (rynok) square. The Polish king desired to build a town according to the most innovative technologies of the time, and for this purpose he invited craftsmen and constructors from Germany. In the following centuries the architectural perfection of Rynok Square was completed by Italian and Austrian architects.
    Rynok Square in its current appearance represents later developments of architectural ideas of many artists and of many centuries; all of these have one commonality – a permanent concordance and harmony. Here all the buildings convey the feeling of peace, confidence, optimism, and humanism of the European Renaissance. All the stone buildings of the square are different and unique, but at the same time as if affixed to each other by a single idea. Each house presents a separate and complete image. The size of the buildings is phenomenally proportionate with human height, and we feel ourselves in a cozy interior. The buildings are neither too high, nor too short; none stands out of the total ensemble with its size, height, or style. The Lviv Renaissance houses convey genuine music. Asymmetrically located windows – two alongside and the third, as if aloof – serve very practical purposes: two windows look into the main reception hall, and the third looks into a utility room. However, this asymmetry has its own rhythm – as though two half-notes sound first, and then the whole note does. This ‘sound’ of Rynok Square is unique. 
    Lvov medieval patricians would usually commission Italian architects from North Lombardy and southern Switzerland to design their houses. However, the Italian Renaissance could not preserve its stylistic purity and integrity in Lvov; it was complemented and enriched with local traditions, including features of Ukrainian architecture. This way, over a period of five centuries, a unique ensemble of dwelling houses was created in Rynok Square, the only one of its kind in Ukraine. Almost all of the buildings in the square have always been used according to their original purpose – as residences of Lvivites.



Polish Catholic Church of Jesuits, the Church of St. Peter and Paul (1610-1636). Jesuit Order
   The construction was started in 1610 by a Jesuit monk, Sebastian Lamhius and was continued by a Jesuit architect from Rome, Jacopo Briano. It was built after the pattern of the Roman Church II Gesu. The side facade contains gothic and fortification architectural elements. The main facade includes two levels separated by a bulging cornice. Both the upper and lower are decorated with pilasters, niches, sculptures, bulging cornices, arches.
   The interior contains a high nave surrounding the chapels from two sides which was later remodeled into lower side naves. There are empire galleries (for the pupils of a Jesuit collegiums who attended liturgies) hanging oven the naves. The church is filled with works of art, wall paintings and vault paintings (17040), father and son. Francis and Sebastian Ekshtein from Moravia). But the bell tower built in 1702, which was one hundred meters high and was in danger of collapsing, had to be dismantled. From the northern side, the church borders upon a Jesuit collegiums where Bohdan Khmelnytskyi studied.
- is a religious Baroque monument dating back to 1610-1630 and one of the largest churches in Lvov.
     The Jesuits, having gained a foothold in Lvov in the early 17th century, launched the construction of their church in 1610. Italian constructor Jacomo Briano, having just returned from Italy, brought the first signs of a new architectural style – the Baroque - to our city. Thus, the Church of the Jesuits in Lvov, completed in 1630, was probably the first church in Eastern Europe built in the early Baroque style. Briano took the Church of the Gesù in Rome as an example for his creative work.
   The Church in Lvov became the third Jesuit church in the largest European state at that time Rzeczpospolita and the largest church in Lvov, able to accommodate 5,000 parishioners. Figures of Jesuit saints are found in the niches of the main eastern façade. Inside the church are gravestones of the famous commander and defender of Lvov from the Tatars, Stanislaw Jablonowski, and the magnate Dzieduszycki family. The church interior is decorated with numerous works of decorative painting and sculpture dating back to the 18-19th centuries. Since 1773 the Jesuits had been banished from Lvov several times, and several times they had returned. At present the edifice accommodates a book depository, although there are plans to hand the Sts. Peter and Paul Church over to the religious community.
   The church adjoins the building of the former Jesuit College, which features a picturesque portal and an inscription: 1723. In 1661 the first university on Ukrainian territory was founded here. The building façade bears a plaque recounting that one of the most prominent leaders of the Ukrainian nation, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, was a student of the Jesuit College.





















The Solomiya Krushelnytska National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
   Sculpture on the facade: -Glory-, -Poetry-, -Music-, (author P. Wijtowych).
   Sculpture in the left niche: -Comedy-, (sculptor T. Baronch), in the right niche -Tragedy-, (A. Popel).
   Statues of the eight muses over the main cornice of the facade (A. Popel, J. Markowski, T. Vyshnyowetskyi, J. Bełtowski). The high relief composition -Joys and Sufferings of Life- (A. Popel) above the muses, in a triangular tympanum.
   Interior - mirror foyer.
   Decorative stage curtain -Parnassus- (H. Siemiradzki, 1900).
   It was built in 1893-1900 according to a design of architect Zigmund Gorgolewski. Its style combines attributes of the renaissance and baroque. The rear view of the theatre is more modest than the facade. The entrance hall is rich in sculpture and paintings.
   Rear view of the theatre.
   Entrance hall of the theatre.
   The plafond of the auditorium contains 10 female figures (painter S. Reihan). The female figures express the joy of life. The colorful marble, gild, sculpture and paintings help to dispose one to high spirits.
   The plafonds of the mirror hall.
- is an architectural gem of Lvov, built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1901, and one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe...
    Constructed at the beginning of the 20th century, designed by architect Zygmunt Gorgolewski, the Grand Theatre in Lvov has been compared to the Paris and Vienna opera houses. Standing in front of the magnificent façade of this marvelous building, one can feel the overwhelming power of art, its eternity in contrast with the transience of human life. This building comprises various European architectural styles fashioned in all their lavishness.
   The façade forms are very complicated and diverse: columns, balustrades, and niches filled with allegorical sculptures. Statues of eight muses rise above the main cornice of the façade, and above them stands the grand ten-figure composition of The Joys and Miseries of Life. The fronton above is completed with a sculptural triad of the winged bronze figures of the genii of Drama, Comedy and Tragedy, and in the centre stands Glory with a gold palm branch in her hand. These sculptures were created by the hands of the outstanding Lvov artists Popiel, Baroncz, and Viytovych.
   The interior of the Lvov Opera House is no less amazing than the exterior. The internal decoration is gilded (with a few kilograms of gold), adorned with different-colored marble, decorative paintings, and sculptures. The four-circled lyre-shaped hall accommodates over a thousand people.Embellishing the stage, the decorative curtain Parnassus (1900), painted by Henryk Siemiradzki, represents an allegorical image of the meaning of life in the Parnassus figures. The hall of the Lvov Opera House is remarkable for its perfect acoustics. On offer are performances by celebrated opera and ballet troupes of Ukraine as well as distinguished guest performers from abroad. The Lvov Opera House is the host venue for the recently revived Vienna Balls.





















The Church of Assumption.

   The ensemble of Ruska Street: the Church was built in 1591-1629 by an architect, Pavlo Rymlyanyn who was helped in 1592by Wojciech Kapinos.  Ambrozy Pryhylnyi completed the work. The church was traditionally crowned with three domes with lanterns. An antique Doric order was used as, a decoration. Two painters , Mykoła Petrahnovuch and Fedir Senkowych created the iconostasis. The new iconostasis was made in 1773 by M. Filevich and F. Olendski. The stained glass windows were created in 1926-1930 by Petro Kholodnyi. The Korniakt Bell-Tower was built in 1572-1578. A merchant, Kostiantyn Korniakt sponsored the construction and assigned his own architect, Petro Barbon. The height of the tower is 65 meters. It was a watchtower and a fortified structure. It contained a large bell -Kyrylo-. During the siege of 1672, the Turks destroyed the roof. It was later restored by an architect, P. Beber who also added another tier and a dome with four steeples at the corners. Since then, the tower has been a pride of Lvov and bears the name of its sponsor, Korniakt.
   The Chapel of Three Saints. Architect Andriy Pidlisnyi. The building was crowned with three domes on tholobates. It was richly decorated with stone carvings and consecrated in 1591. It has the best carved portal. The interior contains rich carving in the vault space.
   Four metopions from a frieze with reliefs on Biblical themes.
   The portal of the Chapel of Three Saints.
   Passage under the Korniakts Tower leading to the inner courtyard.

The Italian Courtyard.

   Korniakt Palace (1580, architect Petro Barbona and Pavlo Rymlyanyn).
    After the death of Korniakt in 1603, the palace was owned by Jakub Sobieski and King of Poland, Jan III Sobieski. Later, it was called the Kings Palace. The last owner of the house solid it to the city authorities in 1908. Since 1940, the Lvov Historic Museum has been located there, The palaces portal containing masks, garlands and knights was built under the -princely- owners (1678).
   The balcony of the first floor was built in 1817. The inner courtyard is surrounded with an open arcade from three sides. The building was given its name because of the resemblance to the Renaissance court of Florence (Medici-Ricardi Palace).
   Sculpture: gypsum modeling of the Greek plastic art.

The Church of Transfiguration (1875-1898).
   The Church was built in the palace of the Holy Trinity Monastery and the Polish Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity (1729) which were destroyed during the revolutionary events of 1848.
   The ruins were passed to the Ukrainian community for the construction of a church and Peoples House.
   The Church of Transfiguration was designed by an architect S. Havryshkevych who used the remains of the old building and incorporated them in the new one.
   The works were executed in 1875-1898. The Church has a transept (it includes three naves, one large dome and two smaller ones above the towers of the main facade). Theinterior was richly decorated with sculpture by L. Marconi.
   The Church was decorated by painters, K. Ustyianovych, M. Osinchuk, A. Pylykhovskyi, T. Popel, A. Koverka. An icon -Transfiguration of the Lord- behind the altar was painted by T. Kopystynskyi.
   A work of K. Ustyianovych, -Moses- (1887) is kept in the church.


The Town Arsenal.
   A fortified structure built in Lvov in 1554-1556. It is a two storied rectangular structure made of stone with a small eight-sided tower in its  northern flank, a monument of the renaissance fortification architecture. It now houses a museum of arms -Arsenal-, an independent department of the Lvov Historic Museum with a standing exposition of arms. The museum was opened in the restored city arsenal of Lvov in 1981.
   A painting -Battle of Grunwald- by T. Popel and Z. Rozwadowski (1910). Canvas 10,52 m x 5,30 m.

St. Andrews Church. The Bernadine Monastery

- (former cathedral and monastery of Bernadine monks) was built in 1600-1630. Three naves, six columns, an elongated altar part. Pavlo Rymlyanyn supervised the cathedrals construction. After his death (1618), Ambroziy Orykhylnyi continued the construction. The bell tower was erected by Andriy Bemer; he also decorated the facade with sculptures. The facade consists of three tiers, the third one is shaped as a steep gable, covered with decorative sculpture. The same gable is on the opposite side. The facade is decorated with the sculptures of the Virgin Mary, St. Andrew and St. Peter. The interior - numerous altar and paintings.
   In 1736, in front of cathedral, the sculpture of St. Yan of Duklya was monument on a commemorative column. Now there is a decorative element there, while the sculpture is kept in the church.
   A rotunda above the well in the yard was built in 1761.
   Now then former monastery is used as a historical archive.


- (now the Greek Catholic Church of St. Andrew) is an impressive monument in the Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque styles dating to 1600-1630s. This is a fortified medieval monastery.
   Having walked from the direction of Mytna Square, through the fortified gate of the monastery, treading on original wooden cobbles past the Hlynyanska Tower, one will find oneself in the monastery courtyard. Here the spirit of antiquity fills every corner. The bustle of modern life comes to a standstill here as though the last four hundred years of world history have not transpired at all. The Monastery of the Bernadine's (the Polish version of the Franciscan order) was built outside the city walls; that is why one sees solid, high fortifications well-preserved on the northern and eastern sides.
   The monastery’s history goes back to the middle of the 15th century, although the present-day building was constructed in the beginning of the 17th century. This was an epoch of rapidly changing architectural styles. The most prominent builder of Lvov, Paul of Rome, commenced the construction of the church in 1600 in the Renaissance style which was familiar to him, but the artist died in 1618 leaving his work unfinished. Polish King Sigismund, who came to view the construction site, considered the original idea to be too modest, and commissioned the student and successor of Paul of Rome, Swiss Ambrosias Prykhylny, to create a more breathtaking building. The luxurious Mannerist sculptural décor, which does not disrupt the sense of proportion in the slightest way, is the most spectacular legacy of this monument: over twenty sculptures compose a live gallery of picturesque figures of the 17th century. Wroclaw architect Andrzej Bemer completed the monastery ensemble with a Baroque tower and façade decoration. The church interior is adorned with numerous carved altars of the 18th century, and its walls bear original frescos dating from the same period.

Monument to Adam Mickiewicz.
   Mickiewicz Square it was erected in 1904 (sculptor A. Popel). It is constituted by a granite column with the bronze group -Inspiration-: a winged genius of poetry hands a lyre to the poet. The decorative additions were made by a sculptor, M. Parashcuk.

The Fountain (Well) of the Virgin Mary.
- the patroness of the city. It was restored in 1997. The figure of the Mother of God on a pedestal was made by a sculptor from Munich, Y. H. Hauthman (1859). The original marble statute is kept in the Church of St. Andriy at Soborna Square. The central part of the city is filled with shops, cars, hotels and is lively almost around the clock.

The Church of the Holy Eucharist. (former Dominican Church). The Dominikane Monastery
Sebastian Fesinger sculpture on the Church. The altar of the Church contains four wooden figures of the Apostles made by M. Polejowski (1777).

- now the Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Eucharist, is a magnificent monument of the late Baroque; it is adorned with original sculptures.
   Was founded here in the 13th century upon the request of the wife of Ukrainian Prince Lev Danylovych - the Hungarian Princess Constance, a Catholic, who missed her religion being far from home. A Gothic church stood here from the 15th until the middle of the 18th century.
   In 1559, a true war for the bride, using artillery and all the subtleties of military strategy, flared up in this church and on the opposite square . The magnate Lukasz Gurka sought the expulsion of his legitimate (as he believed) wife from the monastery. Halshka Ostrozka, the wealthiest heiress of Rzeczpospolita, had found asylum in the Dominican Monastery. During the military actions all trade in Lvov ceased for several weeks, so the exasperated king ordered a stop to the fighting. A water-pipe leading to the monastery was severed, and this put an end to the siege: Halshka was surrendered to Lukasz.
   In 1748, the Gothic Dominican Church was dismantled because it was in bad disrepair. In 1748-1764, a new church resembling the Karlskirche in Viennawas built in the late Baroque style; it was designed by the military engineer and artillery general Jan de Witt. At the time tradition required that everything valuable from the previous church be preserved.. As a result, today we can view the alabaster gravestone dating back to the 16th century – a reminder of the old Gothic church that vanished 260 years ago.

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The Kornyakt Town - photo Bohdan Zhukiewicz

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