Dates of visit:
April 29, 2007 &
May 8, 2007

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Revisit friends
 Village Zymna Voda
 Arsenal Museum
 Capital of Kyiv
 Kyiv Churches
 Kyiv Soviet Past
 Walking Kyiv
 Ethnic Dining

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*** Ukraine ***
*** Ukraine Brief History ***
*** City of L'viv: ***
*** Opera House, Rail Terminal ***
*** Federov Memorial, Arsenal Museum ***
        Map of Ukraine
        Travel Route
        Ukraine Brief History
        City of L'viv
               Site Gallery - City of L'viv
        Stare Zdjecia Lwowa (Old Pictures of Lwow)
Ukraine Brief History

Location of L'viv - map 1
Location of L'viv - map 2

Ukraine was the center of the first Slavic state, Kievan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kievan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The cultural and religious legacy of Kievan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years.

During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-1920), but was re-conquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died.

In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 to 8 million more deaths. Although final independence for Ukraine was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, democracy remained elusive as the legacy of state control and endemic corruption stalled efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties.

A peaceful mass protest "Orange Revolution" in the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor YUSHCHENKO. The new government presents its citizens with hope that the country may at last attain true freedom and prosperity.

City of L'viv

lLviv History of L’viv ... L’viv was founded by King Danylo Halytskiy of the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honor of his son, Lev. When Danylo died Lev made L’viv the capital of Halich-Volhynia. The city is first mentioned in Halych-Volhynian Chronicle from 1256 and became the capital of Halych-Volhynia. It was captured by Poland in 1349.

In 1356, Casimir III of Poland brought in German burghers and granted the Magdeburg rights which implied that all city issues were to be solved by a city council, elected by the wealthy citizens. As part of Poland (and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), L’viv became the capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship.

Lviv As the city prospered, L’viv became religiously and ethnically diverse. The 17th century brought invading armies of Swedes and Cossacks to the city's gates.

In 1772, following the First Partition of Poland, the city known as Lemberg became the capital of the Austrian Kingdom of Galicia.

During World War I, the city was captured by the Russian army in September of 1914, but was retaken in June of the following year by Austria-Hungary.

With the collapse of the Habsburg Empire at the end of World War I, the city became an arena of conflict between the local Ukrainian and Polish populations. Between the World Wars, L’viv was the second largest Polish city. L’viv and its population suffered greatly from the two world wars, the Holocaust, and the invading armies of the period. Today, L’viv remains one of the main centres of Ukrainian culture with much of the nation's political class originating from the area.

Lviv RR Terminal L’viv Rail Terminal … The L’viv Railway Station is one of the most notable pieces of Art Nouveau architecture in former Galicia. It was opened to the public in 1903.

History … Construction of an extensive net of railways within the Austro-Hungarian Empire allowed the city of Lemberg (its German name at the time) to retain its nodal position, at the crossing of several notable trade routes. As the capital of Galicia, the city needed a new, representative and large train station that would suit the city needs and replace the old neo-Gothic train station built between 1861 and 1862.

In 1888 a renowned Polish architect and a graduate of the Lwów Technical Academy, Wladyslaw Sadlowski, was entitled with creation of a project of a new train station. The final project, prepared in less than a year, encompassed a large, horizontally-oriented main hall, with two large train yards located in the background. The main entrance was topped with a large dome made of bolted steel and stained glass.

The main entrance was flanked by a set of Toscan columns and large mythological sculptures with the one representing Hypnos being the most notable. The project of three waiting halls (one for each class of travellers) was prepared in cooperation with other graduates of Sadlowski's alma mater. The first class waiting hall was modelled after English gentlemen clubs and was equipped with dark, luxurious Viennese-style furniture. Second class waiting room was modelled after 19th century burgher houses in Galicia, while the third class waiting hall was equipped with simple wooden pieces of furniture, modelled after the Zakopane style of Polish mountaineers.

The construction started in 1899 and lasted until 1903, when the train station was opened to the public. It was visited by some of the most renowned architects of the epoch and influenced the later constructions of the train stations in Prague and Vienna. After World War II, when the city was annexed by the Soviet Union, the Rail Terminal was integrated into the Soviet Railway system. Frequent renovations and upgrades ensured that the service and building was always up to modern standards, a tradition which Ukraine continued through the 1990s and into the 21 century.

Opera House L’viv Opera House ... At the end of the 19th century, Lviv felt the need for a large city theatre. In 1895, the city announced an architectural competition for the best design, which attracted a large number of projects.

An independent jury unhesitatingly chose the design by Zygmunt Gorgolewski, a graduate of the Berlin Building Academy and the Director of the Lviv higher art-industrial school. Gorgolewski pleasantly surprised the jury by planning to locate the building in the centre of the city, although it was already densely built-up. In order to solve the space problem, he boldly proposed to enclose the Poltva River underground, and instead of using a traditional foundation, use a solid concrete base for the first time in Europe.

In June 1897, the first stone was placed. Gorgolewski directed construction, earthwork and decorating tasks, employing the leading masters from Lviv and abroad. Local materials were used for the construction. Marble elements were manufactured in Vienna, whereas Belgium provided special linen for painting the foyer. The Austrian company "Siemens" was responsible for assembling the electric lights, while the hydraulic mechanization of the stage was built by the Polish company "Sanok".

Construction continued for three years. Funding came from Lviv, the surrounding communities, and from voluntary donations. The cost of the works totaled 6 million Austrian crowns.

There are stories told that despite the engineering innovations used by Gorgolewski to construct the foundation of the building, it began to slowly sink because of the Poltva river running underneath it in a tunnel. Learning of the flaw, the architect took it to heart and fell into depression. In the end, in the story, he hung himself 3 years after the construction was finished (not borne out by facts - he died of heart disease. Shortly afterwards, the building stopped sinking and remains stable nowadays.

Grand opening ... The Lviv Opera opened on October 4, 1900. The cultural elite–painters, writers, and composers, as well as delegations from various European theaters–attended the opening festivities. Among the guests attending the ceremony were Henryk Sienkiewicz (writer), Ignacy Jan Paderewski (composer) and Henryk Siemiradzki (painter), Godzimir Malachowski (the president of Lwów), governor Leon Pininski and Marshal of Galicia Count Stanislaw Badeni. A delegation from the city of Prague was headed by mayor Vladimir Srb and former headmaster of the National Theatre František Adolf Šubert. Due to the fact that both the Catholic and Orthodox archbishops had died recently, the building was blessed by the archbishop of the Armenian rite Izaak Mikolaj Isakowicz, in presence of rabbi Ezechiel Caro and the protestant pastor Garfel.

Architectural style ... The Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet is built in the classical tradition with using forms and details of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, also known as the Viennese neo-Renaissance style. The stucco mouldings and oil paintings on the walls and ceilings of the multi-tiered auditorium and foyer give it a richly festive appearance. The Opera's imposing facade is opulently decorated with numerous niches, Corinthian columns, pilasters, balustrades, cornices, statues, reliefs and stucco garlands. Standing in niches on either side of the main entrance are allegorical figures representing Comedy and Tragedy sculpted by Antoni Popiel and Tadeusz Baroncz; figures of muses embellish the top of the cornice. The building is crowned by large bronze statues, symbolizing Glory, Poetry and Music.

The theatre, beautifully decorated inside and outside, became a centrefold of the achievements in sculpture and painting of Western Europe at the end of the 19th century. The internal decoration was prepared by some of the most renowned Polish artists of the time. (See gallery below).

Federov Fedorov (also known as Fedorovych) ... Ivan, b. circa 1520-1530, d. 6 December 1583 in Lvov. Fedorov, a deacon of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Moscow (Kremlin), was the founder of book printing and book publishing in Russia and Ukraine. In 1564 he printed, together the first exactly dated Russian printed book, Apostole, in the Moscow printing house, established by Tsar Ivan IV.

Federov In 1566 Ivan Fedorov had to flee from Moscow to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. There the first Russian printer was received by the Lithuanian great hetman H. Khodkevich at his estate in Zabludov near Grodno, where he published Didactic Gospel (1569), and Psalter (1570). After closing the typography at Zabludov, Ivan Fedorov moved to Lvov where he founded the first typography in the Ukraine. In 1574 he printed the first Ukrainian exactly dated book, "Apostle" that was the reprint of the Moscow edition with some additions.

The book is notable for the publisher's postscript written by Fedorov which provides information about the commencement of book printing in Russia and Ukraine. In 1574 he also printed the ABC book. In 1581 he printed the first complete Slavic Bible that is known as Ostrozhskaya Bibliya (Ostrog Bible).

Fedorov was known as the ‘Muscovite printer’ or Iwan Moschus (Ivan the Muscovite).

Arsenal Museum Arsenal Museum ... the only museum of weapons in Ukraine. The collection of “Winged hussars” (16th century) is one of the richest in Europe. Arsenal exhibits a great collection of old cold steel, fire-arms and cannons made in famous workshops in 32 countries of the world. (See gallery below)


Click on image for slide show of Old Lwow Old Lwow ... for the visitor that has a little nostalgic inclination, we have compiled an interesting series of old photos that harken to the days of Lwow's glory days (1860-1939).

These images have been consolidated, grouped, and converted to slide shows that the visitor can view.

All of the images presented are vintage Lwow (Lemberg, L'viv) and depict the eras that coincide with the city's importance in Poland's culture. These images depict the city in five distinct categories: architecture, city scenes, street scenes and people, military, and transportation.

To view any of these images (presented as slide shows, with nostalgic music accompaniment) select any of the topics below (you may also navigate to the other shows from within any particular slide show):

Street Scenes and People
City Scenes
Architecture (Buildings)
Military Scenes

Site Gallery - City of L'viv
Views of L'viv
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L'viv Opera House
Opera House Opera House Opera House
L'viv RR Terminal
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L'viv RR Terminal to Zymna Voda
RR Terminal RR Terminal RR Terminal
L'viv Arsenal Museum
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Arsenal Museum Arsenal Museum Arsenal Museum
Arsenal Museum Arsenal Museum Arsenal Museum
L'viv Transportation
Transportation Transportation Transportation
Ukrainian Vintage Cars
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