No tourist visit to Ukraine is complete without a trip to Lviv. Lviv is the largest city and cultural center of western Ukraine, with around 800,000 inhabitants (see map). If you are coming here from Kiev or other Ukrainian cities farther east you will definitely sense differences in the culture and architecture. Indeed, Lviv was a part of some five or so different countries over the past 120 years. The city has a noticeably more European flavor than those further east, with a historic center and wide variety of churches reminiscent of Krakow and less preoccupation with status symbols than, say, Kiev and eastern Ukraine. You will find numerous groups of Polish tourists roaming the old town who always seem to retreat back to the nearby border by night-time to save money on accommodations.
TURTESS TOP PLACES:
The Apteka Museum is located inside a still-functioning pharmacy dating from 1735. Entrance into the eerie pidval (basement) is by request only. You can buy a bottle of iron-rich medicinal wine, if you can bear the temporary tooth discolouration. Ask for 'vino'.
Rynok Square. The construction of Rynok Square, started by order of Kazimer III in 1349, was commissioned from German craftsmen, who followed the plan of a traditional German town: a central square followed by living quarters surrounded in turn by defences. It was built following the lay-out of a typical Western European town with the center being a rectangular square 140 m * 130 m/ The Town hall became the center of the Rynok Square and 44 houses of various architectural styles, representing different periods were built around it. From each corner of rynok there sprang two streets segmenting the town and drawing up a grid of streets.
The name of the Square came from the word ring: a circle or an enclosed space, which was later transformed into “Rynok”. Here the city nobility and the rich lived. After the conflagration of 1527 the Square was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, which came to Lviv in the second half of the 16th century. Most of the buildings were designed by Italian architects; each of them had its unique architectural pattern and its own colour. They have mostly preserved their original appearance despite later alterations and additions. An adornment In 1793 four fountainfountain swith were constructed, one in each corner of the square which served as wells and pools.
In accordance with an old rule, merchants, craftsmen and doctors were allowed to construct buildings with no more than three windows on the facade; the right to have five or six windows was reserved for the aristocracy and the clergy.
Throughout the centuries Rynok square was the political, cultural and trade centre of the city the square witnessed celebrations and processions, uprising, riots and executions. In 1944 it was a battlefield of World War II.
Today the Rynok square is the open area museum where each of 44 its buildings has his own story. Many interesting museums and galleries are located here. It is the hurt of Lviv where all celebrations and main cultural, holydays, political and other events have take place. The rynok square it’s a place must to see in Lviv.
The Armenian Cathedral. The center of Armenian community in Lviv was Virmenska street known since the 14thcentury The natives of the Caucasus first came to Lviv in the 13th century They were hired by prince Lev to join his military services. Since that Lviv Armenian colony became one of the largest in European after those in Venice and Amsterdam. Armenian wished to recreate part of their motherland here and built one of the most beautiful churches – the Armenian Cathedral ( the blessed Virgin’s Assumption Cathedral). This in one of the most exotic building of Lviv that goes back to the 14th century when Lviv became the capital of Armenian episcopate.
Shevchenkivsky Hay. The Museum Of Folk Architecture and Household - Shevchenkivsky Hay skanscenery is located in the open area territory was founded in 1971. Nowadays, it is the Museum with area of 50 ha exhibits On the territory of museum completed a number of micro-village each consist of about 15-20 architectural object, which perfectly combine with landscape. 120 monuments of folk architecture from Boykivsky Region, Lemkivski Region, Zakarpattya, Hutsylshchyna, Bykovuna, Lviv Region and Podillya. In housing, household and ritual buildings and constructions the different close, instrument of productions, household articles, agricultural implements, transport conveyance are exhibit. You can also see the old school with special desk for trouble-maker, ancient apiary, and even the old kennel in this museum. All this things reflect the real life of Ukrainians in villages in 18-20 cc. The oldest exhibit of the open – air museum is a rural house of 1749 from Lviv region. The most valuable is the masterpiece of world wooden building, The church from Kryvky village, this Ukrainian church was built in 1763.
The Dominican Monastery. The foundation of the Dominican Monastery dates back to the second half of the 13th century when Constance, the wife of Lev I of Galicia, commissioned the construction of a small wooden church in gratitude for the generosity of the local Dominican monks. Eventually destroyed by fire in 1408, a Gothic-era stone church was constructed in its place. The monastery, which could accommodate more than 100 monks, experienced its heyday beginning in 1612 when it become the central monastery of the Eastern European Dominican Order. In 1742 cracks were detected in the cathedral’s arch. An emergency meeting was convened and all rescue options were exhausted. Demolition commenced in 1749. Construction on the new cathedral, designed by architect Jan de Witte, began shortly after. The bell tower was constructed in 1865. During the Soviet era the site was used as a regional archive and as a school for would be printing workers. After restoration in 1972 the Dominican Monastery opened as a museum dedicated to the history of religion and atheism; the atheists have since left the building. Religious services have also resumed.
The best places to eat!
Vienna Coffe House. At Lviv’s epicentre you’ll find the Wien Hotel and the popular Vienna Coffe House. The venue is split in two with a café on one side and an elegant restaurant/banquet room on the other. Order anything on the menu with the word “Viennese” attached and you won’t be disappointed. The Viennese schnitzel with mushroom sauce could be the best schnitzel this side of the Danube. It’s easy to become glued to your seat on the relaxing summer terrace, a perfect location for sipping rich coffee and gorging on apple strudel.
Kryivka. When the uniformed guard opens the peep-hole to this theme café/restaurant and says “Slava Ukraini” (Glory to Ukraine), that’s your cue to respond “Geroyam slava” (Glory to its heroes). This was the greeting used by soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as they waged guerrilla war against the Nazis, Poles and Soviet Union from 1943-49. It’s also your ticket past the guard. Once inside, you’ll find a fascinating and jovial bunker complete with grenades, rifles and other military antiques. Just as the UPA was immensely popular in Lviv, so is this eatery dedicated to the memory of their sacrifice. Tables can be scarce, so book ahead. Traditional Ukrainian dishes and spirits add to what is certain to be a lasting memory of your visit to Lviv.
Amadeus. When the roof is shut on the summer terrace it's impossible to see the sign to this popular restaurant located in the heart of old town. If you get turned around, just look next to the Diamant Jeweller's workshop. With one of the most eclectic menus in Lviv, it's hard to go wrong and the pork steak Amadeus comes highly recommended. Familiarity in service standards, a fantastic breakfast/brunch menu and a posh but not too over the top atmosphere make this a popular expat haunt.