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A trip to Lviv, Ukraine

Opera building Opera building Creative Common BY

Lviv is a city, for which many Polish people still feel great affection. Just a few years ago it belonged to our country, and even today it is full of Polish accents. Lviv located approximately 70 km from the border.

It’s a very special city for Polish people. We feel connected to it because of the past, which isn’t surprising - after all, it belonged to Poland in the last century (to the Second Republic of Poland). The turmoil caused that today it is a Ukrainian city, as well as Kamenec (Kamieniec Podolski) or Zhytomyr (Żytomierz). Who doesn’t know "Our Folks" (Sami Swoi), a famous Polish comedy about two feuding families transferred from the Eastern Borderlands on the Regained Territories? Who wouldn’t recognize the unique, melodious drawl? It’s only few decades since the mass resettlements, so in Lviv (but not only there) you can still find Polish accents. And people, who remember the times described in the famous song, “Only in Lviv”.

Following the past

The city continues to be a major center of Polish culture in Ukraine. In Lviv lived Jan Kasprowicz, Gabriel Zapolska, as well as Aleksander Fredro and Leopold Staff. Polish People's Theatre has been operating here for over 50 years, and each year the city holds an annual Book Fair – an event in honor of the literary past of the city. Among important places for Polish people are also cemeteries, especially Eaglets (Orlat) Cemetery, which is as part of the Lyczakowski Cemetery. Maria Konopnicka, as well as many other people of merits were buried in the Lviv lands.

The most famous square of Lviv is Mickiewicz Square, with a bronze statue depicting our bard. Over his head there’s a winged figure with a wreath of laurel, while the top of the column is crowned with a burning candle. In front of the monument is located Hotel George, a famous object designed in the Viennese style. Its impressive construction attracts the eyes with abundance of ornaments, including a bas-relief of St. George and allegorical images of the four continents. Among guest of the hotel was Jozef Pilsudski, Honoré de Balzac and Jan Kiepura.

Of course you can visit Lviv, treating this journey as a trip to another city that you want to explore. However, it's hard to look at it as one of many tourist resorts, when at every step you encounter traces of the past and feel that you are in a Polish city – despite the border dividing the two countries.

Wandering through the streets of Lviv

While walking around Lviv, sooner or later your legs will lead you to the Old Town. You can wander for hours, passing amazing monuments, completely losing track of time. The complex of historic buildings located here, was deservedly inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998. It’s worth to take a closer look at the figure of the Virgin Mary, the Black House and a Powder Tower. Next you should direct your steps to the interiors of the Armenian Cathedral and the Latin Cathedral.

A little bit farther, guest can enjoy other attractions. You can check Zamarstynow, enjoying a bad fame in the past and its beautiful market square (it’s worth to get acquaint with the word ‘batiar’ before the trip). Then you can visit Jozef Baczewski’s former vodka factory. Another interesting spot is a picturesque Halicki Square with four tenement houses in the style of Lviv modernism. Not too far away there’s Komorowski Palace, another monumental building being a real, city’s decoration.

You can spend many hours on exploring the attractions of Lviv. After all, over a half of Ukrainian monuments is located right in this city. Not only the buildings and architecture is alluring. Equally tempting are restaurants and cafes, with their unique atmosphere and amazing cuisine.

Is it worth to come here? As an answer we could use a comment, which appeared on one of the tourist forums: “I truly invite you to Lviv, but be careful – chances of falling in love with this city are really high.”

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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  • Thomas 2014.03.09 22:02 wrote:
    The streets of Lviv are great. But now, I'm scared to go there...
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