Lviv Old Town (World Heritage)

Lviv, the old Lemberg, has been the administrative and economic center of Galicia since its foundation in the 13th century. The urban community of Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, Armenians and Jews formed a melting point of cultures, which was also reflected in the cityscape. Outstanding examples include the Dominican Church, the Jesuit Church, the Armenian Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition, the City Hall and the Royal Arsenal. Visit for the huge potential of Ukraine.

Lviv Old Town: Facts

Official title: Historic Center of Lviv
Cultural monument: also known as Lemberg and Lwêw, seat of a Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox archbishop; in the old town and others the Dominican Church, the Jesuit Church, the Armenian Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the City Hall (1828-37), the Royal Arsenal, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Church of Mary Magdalene and the ruins of Casimir III’s Castle ., the great (1333-70)
Continent: Europe
Country: Ukraine
Location: Lviv, west of Kiev
Appointment: 1998
Meaning: a city ensemble as an expression of a multicultural society

Lviv Old Town: History

13th century City foundation
1340 under King Casimir III, the Great, part of Poland
1356 Granting of Magdeburg city charter
1360 Foundation of the Roman Catholic Cathedral by Casimir III.
1661 Establishment of the Ivan Franko University
1772-1918 Part of Austria and change of name to Lemberg
1919 City in turn part of Poland
1939 Occupation by the Red Army
1941-44 under German occupation
1945 Part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
1991 Ukraine independence

Beauty in melancholy

To this day you can feel that today’s Ukrainian Lviv was a Soviet provincial town in the west of the empire for several decades. At the time it was called Lwow in Russian. During the imperial-royal monarchy of Austria-Hungary the city was still called Lemberg, under Polish rule until 1939 Lwêw. It is a town in the hills of the Podolian Ridge with about 730,000 residents.

The way to the center of the city leads past gray apartment blocks, next to which single-family houses crouch. You can’t believe your eyes when you unexpectedly pass country lanes on the journey that branch off suddenly from the main road and lead into a rural idyll with apple trees and free-range goats and chickens.

Finally, a surprise awaits in the old town: neat patrician houses, church towers, winding alleys with street lamps, a splendid avenue that leads to the opera house. Well-known and lesser-known melodies by street musicians can be heard from one or the other backyard. Crows croak in the trees and the incessant cooing of the pigeons cannot be ignored. This is it: the legendary capital of the former “Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria”. But of the Austrians, Poles, Ukrainians, Jews and other ethnic groups who once lived together here, only the Ukrainians and Russians have remained. In today’s metropolis there are only about 2000 Jews left; before the Second World War there were 160,000 of the 360,000 residents at the time.

Against the backdrop of the pastel-colored magnificent buildings from four centuries, the poverty appears to be picturesque. People, however, cannot enjoy the colors, they seem to hurt. They want their city to be gray and yellow. It’s the colors of memory. They symbolize the time when “everything was better”, when the water supply worked all day and the electricity was not turned off again and again. At that time, so said one or the other when asked, the apartments were not yet divided into tiny rooms, and the wages and pensions were enough to renovate them from time to time.

The city center is like that of a beautiful city with a veil of melancholy. But the city is gradually waking up from its lethargy. Coffee houses tie in with the old Viennese tradition and tempt you with hot strudel and black capuchins. Tourists from all over the world stay in luxury hotels (such as the 2012 European Football Championship), bringing the hoped-for money and the flair of the earlier cosmopolitanism to the city.

The historic center is rich in monuments, such as the late Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral, which was redesigned in the 18th century in Baroque style, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition with the 66 sea-high Kornjaktovsky bell tower. The market square with its town houses from the 14th to 18th centuries is a popular meeting point. Many residential and commercial buildings have also been preserved from the Art Nouveau era.

Lviv Old Town (World Heritage)