Market Square (Ukrainian: Площа Ринок, Polish: Rynek we Lwowie, Russian: Площадь Рынок) is the central square of the Lviv. It was planned in the second half of the 14th century, following being granted city rights by King Casimir III the Great of Poland, who incorporated Red Ruthenia into the Kingdom of Poland in 1349. The king ordered Lviv to be moved more to the south, where a new city was built to the plan of a traditional European settlement: a central square surrounded by living quarters and fortifications. Old, Ruthenian Lviv had become a suburb of the new Polish city.
The square is rectangular in shape, measuring 142 by 129 metres, with two streets radiating out of every corner. In the middle there was a row of houses, with its southern wall made by the Town Hall. However, when in 1825 the tower of the Town Hall burned, all adjacent houses were demolished and a new hall, with a 65-metre tower, was built in 1835 by architects J. Markl and F. Trescher.
Around the square there are 44 tenement houses, which represent several architectural styles, from Renaissance to Modernism. In the four corners are fountains—wells from 1793, probably designed by Hartman Witwer. The sculptures represent four Greek mythological figures: Neptune, Diana, Amphitrite and Adonis. In front of the Town Hall, there used to be a pillory. In 1998 the Market Place, together with the historic city center of Lviv, was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site. (source: en.wikipedia.org)
The city has had a series of town hall buildings since approximately 1357. These have for centuries been recognized landmarks of the community. The first town hall in Lviv appeared shortly after city rights were granted (Magdeburg Law in 1357). The building was made of wood and soon it burned down (1381). After the fire, the construction of a stone town hall was started. By the end of the middle ages, the Lviv city hall was a conglomeration of buildings. The middle part of the building was its oldest part, dating from the 14th century. The western part was built during the years of 1491-1504. The dominant feature of the composition was the tallest tower, topped by a mannerist shako (1619, architect A.Bemer).
A new tower was laid in 1827 and built between 1830 and 1835, following a Viennese Classical style. The designers were architects Y. Markle, F. Thresher (or Treter) and A. Vondrashek. The City Hall is a four-story building with a patio. It features a tall clock tower. During the revolution of 1848, the original clock tower collapsed. In 1851 the building was repaired. Since 1939 City Hall, located at the Market Square, houses the Lviv city council. (source: en.wikipedia.org)
Lviv Opera House
The Lviv Opera House is an architectural gem in Lviv, built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1901 and one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe. Designed by architect Zygmunt Gorgolewski, the Grand Theatre in Lviv has been compared to opera houses in Paris and Vienna.
On the front you can see columns, balustrades and niches with allegorical sculptures. Statues of eight muses rise above the main cornice of the façade. Above them stands the grand ten-figure composition of The Joys and Miseries of Life. The fronton above is completed with a triad of the winged bronze figures Drama, Comedy and Tragedy. In the centre stands Glory with a gold palm leaf in her hand. These sculptures were created by the hands of the outstanding Lviv artists Popiel, Baroncz and Viytovych.
The interior of the Lviv Opera House is just as amazing as the exterior. The decoration is gilded (with a few kilograms of gold), adorned with different-coloured 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 Lviv Opera House has perfect acoustics. (source: http://lviv.travel/en)
28 Svobody Square
Over of many years, the Armenian community, one of the oldest in Lviv, built their own centre in Lviv. Its unique architecture portrays the spirit of this Eastern Christian culture.
Armenians were driven out of their homeland by the Mongols and Tatars in the 13th century. Having lost their sovereignty, they found refuge in Halychyna. One of the oldest Eastern Christian nations (Armenians had accepted Christianity several centuries earlier than European nations), the Armenians brought their capital and highly skilled jewellers, leather-dressers and embroiderers to Lviv. However, they were most proficient in the field of trading. Trade caravans from eastern countries to Europe were almost entirely under Armenian monopoly. Armenians not only traded directly, but they also acted as interpreters, through whom all foreign merchants in Lviv traded.
Each ethnic community occupied its own territory in ancient Lviv. Armenians settled outside the city walls in the northern part, near the central Ploshad Rynok (Market Square). Here was the seat of the Gregorian bishopric, that was subordinate only to the head of the Armenian Church, the Catholicos of all Armenians. The leader (viyt) and the board of elders governed secular life. Armenians used their own common law to settle internal problems. For example, when an arsonist was caught red-handed, they had the right to throw him into the fire immediately. Armenians had their own schools, hospitals, library and theatre. The first Armenian printing shop was founded here in 1616. The architecture of the Armenian quarter is typical for 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 present day.
Due to its strong economic position, the Armenian community maintained its position 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 wealthy Roman Catholic merchants, did not easily accept the Armenian competition and envied their wealth and connections with the East.
The Armenians in Lviv, cut off from their motherland, could not hold on to 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. In the middle of the 17th century, over two thousand Armenians resided in Lviv. At the beginning of the 20th century only a few remained. Those who did, became Poles with polonized Armenian surnames. A new wave of Armenians came to Lviv 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. (source: http://lviv.travel/en)
Palace of Count Pototsky
The Palace of Count Pototsky is a majestic edifice in French Neo-Renaissance style of late 19th century. Behind ornamental metal gate we see a majestic, yet refined structure. The imposing palace is decorated with reliefs, mouldings, murals and stained-glass windows. The Palace of Potockis is one of the most interesting architectural landmarks in Lviv. It was designed by French architect Louis d’Overnu at the order of governor of Halychyna and Lodomeria Count Alfred II Joseph Pototsky (1817-1889). The construction lasted from 1888 to 1890 under the supervision of Lviv architect Julian Tsybulski who also introduced some minor changes.
The style of King Louis XVI is predominant in the interiors of the palace’s first floor. The halls (Red Hall, Mirror Hall, Blue Hall, and Ordinat’s Office) are decorated with artificial marble, gilding, mouldings, and mirrors. Fireplaces cut from marble are adorned with gilded bronze.
There is a chapel with the miracle-working icon of Virgin Mary of Lviv (15th century) on the first floor. The second floor is occupied by the exposition of Lviv Art Gallery, opened by Ancient Arts Hall. European art from the 14th-18th centuries is represented by the best works from the Gallery’s collection: a 15th-century Ukrainian icon of St. Paraskeva, paintings by M. Basaiti, J. Zucchi, S. Ricci, J.-E. Lyotard, J. Guerin and F. Goya. The palace often hosts conferences, presentations, chamber concerts and political meetings. (source: http://lviv.travel/en)
15 Kopernyka Street
The Kornyakt Palace is an extremely valuable Renaissance monument, dating from 1580. It was the palace of the wealthiest citizen in Lviv's history, the merchant Constantine Kornyakt. Later, it was a Royal Mansion, property and residence of Polish King Jan Sobieski.
Greek by origin, originally from Crete, Constantine Kornyakt settled in Lviv in the 16th century. He controlled the wine trade along the entire Black Sea coast. He was a benefactor, an experienced and wise man who spoke many eastern languages. Thanks to Kornyakt we can enjoy many marvelous architectural gems of the Renaissance in Lviv. This stone house was built for him by Italian architect Peter of Barbone. According to the laws of the time, all houses situated in Rynok Square could have not more than three windows along the façade; this was a so-called rule of equal opportunity, as each window of the ground floor could be used to accommodate a workshop, a shop, a chemist’s or for advertising purposes. Even Constantine Kornyakt could not break this rule. Only later, for his services to Polish kings, did he acquire the title of nobleman and a permit to construct a palace with six windows. (source: http://lviv.travel/en)
On the second floor is an exhibition of Lviv History Museum.
6 Rynok Square
Lychakivsky Tsvyntar (Lychakiv Cemetery)
The cemetery has been classified as a historic and cultural museum and heritage preserve; it occupies a total area of 40 hectares. It was officially founded in 1786 by the new Austrian government in Lemberg (Lviv), which was then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. The oldest tombstone in the cemetery dates back to 1675. The Lychakiv Cemetery is also famous for some 23 beautifully adorned chapels and shrines, which belonged to wealthy Lviv families. The latest popular tourist attraction in Ukraine (and in Europe) proposes excursions by night in the Lychakiv Cemetery. (source: http://lviv.travel/en)
33 Mechnikova Street
The Ensemble of Ruska Street
The ensemble of Ruska Street (16-20th centuries) includes residential houses and administrative buildings of ancient Lviv. Since the 14th century Solyanykiv Street (‘Salt Traders’ Street’ in Ukrainian) was the centre of Ukrainian Lviv, so called because its inhabitants actively traded salt, often leaving for salterns in the Pre-Carpathians, some of the few in Europe in those times. This street was later renamed Ruska Street (Ruthenian Street), as this was where Ukrainians, called Ruthenians 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 Lviv. 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. (source: http://lviv.travel/en)
Running along Lviv’s Old Town to the west is Prospekt Svobody (Freedom Avenue), a broad two-lane street with a strip of fountain-splashed park running up the middle. Presiding haughtily over the northern end is Lviv Opera House, dating from 1900 and topped with a trio of winged statues symbolizing the arts. To the south, a modern monument to Ukrainian poet Shevchenko and a pre-World War I statue of Polish national bard Adam Mickiewicz point to Lviv’s ambiguous cultural heritage. source: roughguides.com
High Castle and Castle Hill
The Lviv High Castle or Lviv Castle Hill is a historic castle located on the top of the Castle Hill. It is currently the highest point in the city, 413 metres (1,355 ft) above sea level. The castle currently stands in ruins.
The High Castle is located in close proximity of the historic centre of Lviv, formerly being surrounded by a fortification wall. The Castle Hill took its name from the High Castle (as opposite to the other, Low Castle), which used to be located on the hill from the 13th century to the late 19th century. The castle was a main defensive fort.
As it follows from Rus' Chronicles, the first fortifying structures appeared on the Castle Hill in the time Halych-Volhynia, and were built by Leo I of Halych from wood. It was originally a wood and soil construction, as most others at that time. In 1259 by a request of Burunday Khan they were destroyed, but in 1270 were rebuilt. In 1340, when Lviv was captured by Casimir III of Poland the wooden castle was put under fire. In 1353 it was destroyed again by Lithuanians. A new brick castle appeared on the hill in 1362 by the king Casmimir III. It became the residence of Polish nobles.
The castle was rebuilt and repaired many times. In the times of Khmelnytsky Uprising it was taken by Cossack forces of Colonel Maksym Kryvonis in October 1648. In 1704, when Lviv was occupied by Swedes the castle was heavily damaged. In 1777, Austrians initiated disassembling of fortifications around the castle.
In the 19th century, the then destroyed castle was taken apart and new items were built in its place. The fortification was strengthened, trees were planted on the hill's slope, and a park was constructed. On the place where the castle once stood, a Union of Lublin Mound was constructed in 1869, dedicated to the 300-years of the Union of Lublin. Currently, an observation platform is located atop the kurgan. In 1957, a 141-meter tall television tower was constructed on top of the hill.
In 2004-2005, there were talks of reconstructing a stone castle on the hill. The project gained some support and opposition. However, at this time, plans for the construction of the castle don't seem realistic. source: en.wikipedia.org
House of Scientists
Lviv’s Neo-Baroque House of Scientists was built in 1897 by famed architects Fellner & Helmer, who also designed the George Hotel and the Odessa Opera House. Over its storied history the building has undergone many incarnations. Beginning in 1918 it housed a casino. From 1948 it was home to the Lviv House of Scientists, a center of scientific, social and political events in Lviv and Ukraine. By 1953 the building’s first floor was occupied by the Lviv branch of Ukraine’s Union of Architects. In the late 90’s the building was used for political purposes. And in 2008 the House of Scientists was added to Ukraine’s list of cultural heritage monuments.
The ornate interiors of the House of Scientists have often been used as a backdrop for films, including the Soviet-era classic 'D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers'. The building is Lviv’s most popular place for balls and charity events, including the Ball of Lviv, the Flower Ball, and the Chocolate Ball. The House of Scientists is also a favorite spot for local newlyweds to have their wedding photos taken. (source: lvivalive.com)
6 Lystopadovoho Chynu
Mickiewicz Square and monument
The Mickiewicz Square is one of the main squares in the city of Lviv, Ukraine. The square, lying between Lviv's old town and the southern part of midtown, was planned and created in the first half of 19th century, after the demolition of the old town's defensive walls. Primarily, from 1843 it was known as Ferdinand Square (German: Ferdinandplatz, Polish: Plac Ferdynanda), in honour of the Austrian governor of Galicia, Ferdinand Habsburg-d'Este. In 1862, it was renamed St. Mary's Square (Polish: Plac Mariacki) when a monument dedicated to her was erected in the area. Today it bears the name of Polish-Lithuanian poet Adam Mickiewicz, whose monument was placed in the central part of the square in 1904.
The monument composes of a 21-metre-high column made of Italian granite, and a 3-metre-high statue of Mickiewicz being granted his poet's lyre by the genius of poetry, with some additional elements including the golden torch of Inspiration on the top of the column. Standing in the central part of the square, it was erected in 1904, with the official opening ceremony held on October 30. It was designed and carved by Polish sculptor Antoni Popiel, who won the contest for the design in 1898. The rear of the column base contains the coat-of-arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. (source: en.wikipedia.org)
The chocolate factory located in the historic center of Lviv is one of the attractions of the city. Through the glass walls you can see how the chocolate is transformed into candies, different figures, figurines, etc. The candies have very interesting and fancy names: Cherry Agrafka, Gratulyatsiya, Frau Zimmer Black, Walnut Bandzoh, Sweet Patsorki, Strawberry Tsemka. The chocolate shop offers 39 varieties of candies. You can buy them individually and in sets. On the walls you can see large pictures of all the candies with a detailed description of the chocolate and fillings.
You can also buy various souvenirs and coffee. On the ground floor there is a cozy cafe where you can enjoy delicious coffee and sweets. The site of the factory has additional info that may be interesting. (source: ukrainetrek.com)
3 Serbskaya Street
'Plyazh' (the Beach) is Lviv’s largest multi-purpose water park and fitness center entertainment complex. Whether you are looking for a serious workout in the fitness area or swimming pool, aerobics or dance lessons, fun on the waterslides, or a relaxing sauna or massage, there’s something for everyone at Aquapark. It features:
- a waterpark with over 8 waterslides, plus fun and children’s swimming pools;
- a large modern fitness club with cardio and free weight equipment (a great view of the 50 meter swimming pool);
- aerobics, Yoga and Dance Studios;
- classes in aerobics, yoga, Pilates, funk, Latin American dances and strip;
- the Relax Area with massage and tanning rooms;
- a jacuzzi and different sauna's (Russian, Finnish, Roman and Infrared);
- a restaurant with a bar, a bistro, a juice bar and pub-billiards;
The aquapark is located outside the city's center, about a 15-20 minute taxi ride. Several buses and a tram will also take you there. The stop is between Volodymyra Velykoho and Naukova Streets. (source: lvivalive.com)
114 Knyahyni Ol’hy Street
Tel. numbers: +38 032 263 6055, +38 032 263 1415
Opening hours: Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun. 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
The Lviv palace of Prince Stanisław Lubomirski was built in the 1760s to Jan de Witte's design on the site of several older houses (one of which had been the property of Szymon Szymonowic). The palace's main façade, featuring decoration by Sebastian Vessinger, is on the Market Square. The two other fronts are considerably less conspicuous.
Between 1771 and 1821, the Lubomirski Palace served as the residence for Austrian governors of Galicia. It was purchased by a Ukrainian organization, Prosvita, in the 19th century and subsequently became a hotbed of nationalist activities. It was there that Yaroslav Stetsko proclaimed Ukraine's independence several days after Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union.
Next door to the Lubomirski Palace is the former palace of the Roman Catholic archbishops where King Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki died in 1673.(source: en.wikipedia.org)
Polish King Jan III Sobieski spent many years of his life here. The old castle, mentioned in historical records for the first time in 1327, has a lot to tell after almost seven centuries of existence. Having prevented the Ottoman empire from conquering Europe and reached the summit of his life, Jan returns to his native land. In 1682, Olesky castle, sold for paying the debts of son-in-law Andrzej Koniecpolski, was bought for the astronomic sum of 400,000 zlotys (a fortune in those days). His beloved wife Marysia finished restoring the castle before the return of her hero. The gates were rebuilt, the chapel was painted, the rooms were decorated with paintings and the floors were laid with marble. In this cosy nest, the royal family liked to vacation at the end of summer. From this base, Jan visited his manors in Zolochiv and Pidhirtsi and went hunting.
After Jan III, the life of Olesky castle fades for many years and revives only in 1974, when the stronghold becomes an annex of the Lviv Art Gallery. Not only the castle itself, but also the grand park laid around it, are worthy of praise. Rare species of trees, a fruit garden, fountains and sculptures on one of the park terraces create an inimitable ensemble.
Olesko is located 70 km to the north-east of Lviv. From Lviv bus station #2 (B.Khmelnyts’koho 225) take the bus Lviv-Brody (every 20-30 minutes). From Bohdana Khmelnyts’koho Street follow highway E40 (M06). Don’t miss the right turn in Mali Pidlisky (Малi пiдлiски). Olesky Castle is open daily from 10:00 to 16:30 hours, except Mondays. A stylish Grydnytsia restaurant also welcomes guests at the castle (tel.: +38 067 671 1303, www.grydnycia.lviv.ua). (source: www.inyourpocket.com)
Pidhoretsky Castle is a residential castle-fortress located in the village of Pidhirtsi, eighty kilometers east of Lviv. It was built by Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan between 1635–1640 by order of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's Grand Crown Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski. The castle was part of the Kingdom of Poland and it is regarded as the most valuable of palace-garden complexes in the eastern borderlands (Kresy Wschodnie) of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The brick and stone structure was designed in the characteristic 'palazzo in fortezza' style. It stands north of the Woroniaki hills on a prominent spot where it can be seen from great distances, at 399 meters above sea level, overlooking the Styr River valley. The palace itself is built into the slope of the hill. In the 17th century, it was surrounded by vineyards and Italian-style paterre gardens. Its wine is celebrated in the poetry of Jakub Sobieski and Andrzej Morsztyn. The castle is protected by a moat with a drawbridge, fortified walls with bastions and a set of iron cannons (some of which have been preserved to this day). The three storey castle is shaped like an open square, measuring nearly 100 meters on each side. (source: http://lvivtravel)
Pidgoretsky Castle is located in Pidhirtsi village, 68 kilometers from Lviv. The easiest way to get there is to take an organized excursion with a tour operator. Several tour companies offer tours of 'Ukraine’s Golden Horseshoe', which includes the castles of Olesky, Pidgoretsky and Zolochivsky. By car, you take the E-40 highway (M-17), then turn off towards Zolochiv. Pidhoretsky Castle is visible from the highway. By bus, take the bus heading to Pidgirtsy at Bus Station #2 on Bohdana Khmelnytskoho Street.
Pidgoretsky Castle (Підгорецький замок)
Pidhirtsi (Brodivskyi area), 80660
Tel. number: +38 266 307 40
Opening hours: During summer: Mon-Sat 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; during winter: Mon-Sat 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m.-5 p.m. (closed on Monday)
Zolochiv Castle was a residence of the Sobieski noble family on a hill at the confluence of two small rivers in the south-eastern part of Zolochiv, not far from Lviv. The rectangular fort was built in 1634-36 by Jakub Sobieski using the labor of enslaved Crimean Tatars. The Sobieski castle comprised solid walls in a then current Dutch style, with four pentagonal towers at each corner, and the so-called 'grand palace'. The Chinese Palace, a diminutive mauve-coloredrotunda flanked by one-storey wings, was added later in the century as Jan III's gift to his French-born wife, Marysieńka.
In 1672, the castle was taken after a 6-days siege by the Turks under Kapudan Pasa. Three years later, it survived a new siege by the Ottoman army. AfterJakub Ludwik Sobieski's death in 1737, the castle passed to the Radziwillprincely family and then (in 1801) to Count Łukasz Komarnicki whose heirs sold it to the Austrian crown in 1834.
In the 19th century, the castle was adapted for use as a hospital and barracks. It was turned into a prison in 1872 and continued in use after the September Campaign. There's a chapel commemorating the victims of the NKVD on the grounds of the castle.
Since 1985 the complex has been supervised by the Lviv Art Gallery and under restoration. Recently it began to open its grounds for visitors. Exhibits include more than 25 European coats of arms, dinosaur bone chandeliers, and a replica of a typical royal crown from the 13th century, that could be similar to that of Daniel of Galicia. (source: http://lvivtravel)
4 Ternopilska Street, Zolichiv
Tel. number: +38 032 654 33 85
Svirzh Castle is a fortified aristocratic residence in Svirzh, 40 km from Lviv. It was originally built by the Świrzski noble family in the 15th century. Inside the castle is a small church dating from 1546.
The stronghold was completely rebuilt in the 17th century at the behest of its new owner, Count Aleksander Cetner. It is believed that General Paweł Grodzicki was responsible for the modernisation of the castle's fortifications.
Though surrounded on all sides by moats, lakes, and marshes, the fort was taken by the rebellious Cossacks on several occasions. In 1648, the Turks set it on fire; they were less successful during the Lwow raid of 1672.
The castle stood in ruins for many years. It was restored in 1907, only to be devastated by fire in 1914. Rebuilding and restoration have occurred on several occasions since. (source: en.wikiperida.org)
Stare Selo Castle
Stare Selo Castle is a castle in the village of Stare Selo (meaning 'Old Village'). This castle, or fortress, was built by Princes Ostrogski family.
Its original timber fortifications, first mentioned in 1448, were destroyed by the invading Turks in the late 15th century. A more secure stone fort, intended to defend the Bârlad Road from Lviv to Romania, was built in Stare Selo in the 1580s. Those walls were breached and rendered useless by Khmelnytsky's Cossacks during the Siege of Lviv in 1648.
The existing fortress, almost triangular in shape, with 15-metre high walls and a ceremonial gate on the south side, was commissioned by Prince Władysław Dominik Zasławski, one of the last members of the Ostrogski family. The citadel was erected in 1649-54 and formerly contained the palatial residence of Prince Zaslawski, one of the richest landowners of Eastern Europe and brother-in-law of King John III Sobieski.
After Prince Zaslawski died in Stare Selo in 1656, the fortress gradually fell into disrepair, although it successfully withstood a siege by the Turks in 1674. (source: en.wikipedia.org)
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