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TOURISM from Lvov...
... architecture portrays the original spirit...
By Pogranicze Galicja
Published: 10.06.2010

Shevchenka avenue is one of the most beautiful central streets
   The Neo-Baroque building No. 10 with its two towers was built in 1894. The 1928 shop-window and interior of the former Zalewski sweets shop are rendered in the Art Deco style.
   No.17/19 houses the Lvov commodity and stock exchange; a creation of the outstanding Lvov architect Arnold Zachariewicz, the monumentality and marvelous adornment of its façade distinguishes it from other buildings. The gable features a eye-catching mosaic emblem of Lvov. The building is an example of the harmonious combination of different styles of art: the façade is rendered according to the best traditions of Secessionism and Neoclassicism, and the distinctive interior is decorated rich stained glass and mosaics displaying stylized flowers. The panel and haut- reliefs in the large assembly hall feature mythological allegories of the life and fate of humanity.
   The original building No. 27 at the corner of Fredra and Hertzena Streets was built in 1909 under the influence of late English modernism.
   Building No. 28 was built in 1897 in the Neo-Baroque style with corresponding sculptural adornment. The cinema has been functioning in this building since 1912, and the chemist’s shop “Under the auspices of the Holy Spirit” has been here since 1913. The interior.

   The crossroads of Horodotska and Shevchenka Streets, the main transportation artery of the city. Horodotska street is a longest one in Lvov. Its length is near 9 kilometers. The name of the street origins from its direction to Gorodok town. Traffic importance of the street increased in 1861, after Lvov Railway Station was opened.

   Lychakivska Street is an ancient Hlynyany road, which leads to Vynnyky, and then to Zolochiw and Ternopil. The street begins on the Mytna square, where Pinzels Sculpture Museum is situated. The street also joins the most massive green areas: Shevchenkivskyy Gay, Pogulyanka and Medova Pechera, which are the city's lungs.

Virmenska str.
The Armenian community, one of the oldest in Lvov, had formed over a period of many years a centre for its national life in Lvov. Its unique architecture portrays the original spirit of this Eastern Christian culture.
Residential Houses in Virmenska (16-19th centuries)
   For many centuries Armenians in Lvov have tried to recreate a part of their motherland in combination with European architectural tradition.

As a result, architects built interesting examples of the Renaissance, Rococo, Empire, and Classicism here.
    Armenians, driven out of their motherland by the Mongol-Tatar invasion of the mid-13th century and having lost their sovereignty, found hospitable refuge in Halychyna. One of the most ancient Eastern Christian nations (Armenians had accepted Christianity several centuries earlier than European nations), the Armenians brought to Lvov a creative sense of search, their capital, and highly skilled jewelers, leather-dressers, and embroiderers. However, they were most proficient in the field of trading. Trade caravans from eastern countries to Europe were almost entirely under an Armenian monopoly. Armenians not only dealt in direct trade but also acted as interpreters through whom all foreign merchants in Lvov worked.
   Each ethnic community occupied its own territory in ancient Lvov. Armenians settled outside the city walls in the northern part, near the central Rynok Square. Here was situated the seat of the Gregorian bishopric, which was subordinate only to the head of the Armenian Church, the Catholics of all Armenians. The leader (viyt) and the board of elders governed secular life. To settle internal community problems Armenians used their own common law; for example, when an arsonist was caught red-handed, they had the right to throw him into the fire immediately. Armenians possessed their own school, hospitals, a library, and a theatre; the first Armenian printing shop was founded here in 1616. The architecture of the Armenian quarter is characteristic of the traditions of the time; for instance, many houses featured wide gates until the second half of the 18th century. Some of these have been preserved to the present day.
     Due to its strong economic position the Armenian community maintained its confidence and managed to withstand the pressure and restrictions imposed by the municipal authorities for a long period of time. This city council, members of which were by-and-large wealthy Roman Catholic merchants, did not easily accept the Armenian competition, envied their wealth and connections with the East.
   The Armenians in Lvov, cut off from their motherland, and being trade and business people, could not preserve their identity for long. Assimilation was the only way to retain their property and social status. In 1630 Armenian archbishop Mikolaj Torosowicz adopted Catholicism; however, the Armenian people would not benefit from this act: if in the middle of the 17th century over two thousand Armenians resided in Lviv, at the beginning of the 20th century there were only a few remained. Those who did, became Poles with polonaise Armenian surnames. A new wave of Armenians came to Lvov after 1939, as the Russian totalitarian government came to power. Today, this community consists of Armenians who have come from various corners of the former Soviet Union.

The ensemble of Ruska Street (16-20th centuries)
- includes residential houses and administrative buildings of ancient Lvov.

   Since the 14th century Solyanykiv Street (‘Salt Traders’ Street’ in Ukrainian) was the centre of Ukrainian Lvov, so called because its inhabitants actively traded salt, often leaving for slatterns in the Pre-Carpathians, some of the few in Europe in those times. This street was later renamed Ruska Street (Ruthenia Street), as this was where Ukrainians, called Ruthenia's in ancient times, would settle. This district remained a political, economic, and cultural centre for Ukrainians for many centuries.

Building No. 2 in Ruska Street (15-17th centuries) is one of the oldest stone buildings in Lvov. The building retained elements of Gothic architecture, as evident in the first floor vaulting and the open profiles revealing ancient brick masonry. On the side of Serbska Street the house façade was reinforced with thick buttresses.
   Building No. 4, erected in the 16th century, has retained its original planning structure and Gothic cross-vaulting. The white masonry portal also dates back to the 16th century, as does the stone lion’s head in the courtyard above the brick arch; the lion bears a bunch of grapes in its mouth, evidence that the building used to accommodate a winery. The white carved stone window frames have also been preserved with their original inscriptions in Old Armenian (Grabar), indicating that the establishment was owned by the Armenian Wartanowicz family. At present the building houses the GerdanArt Gallery, and through the courtyard one comes across a very original coffee shop called “The Blue Bottle” which is decorated in old Austrian fashion.

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The Kornyakt Town - photo Bohdan Zhukiewicz