Travel to Lviv History

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Lviv region. WWI cemetery.


In the past, the ethnic structure of Halychyna and, primarily, of Lviv, was rather diverse. In different times, in line with the Ukrainians, Lviv was inhabited by the Poles, Jews, Armenians, Germans, Austrians, representatives of many other nationalities. The destiny of ethnic and confessional communities was dramatic and complicated, depending on the political, military, economic reasons the national structure of our territories - primarily for the urban population - has been repeatedly changing. Millions of people have left the Western Ukraine since the end of the 19th c.: labour and political emigrants, free-will and forced migrators, the persons subjected to repressions, prisoners of the war, the refugees of WW1 and displaced persons of WW2. They belonged to different nations and denominations - the Ukrainians, the Poles, the Jews, The Germans. And everyone had it's own fortune and the unique story of his life. Today their descendants could be met on all continents.

Nowadays many people try to find their routs, to visit the places, their ancestors originate from, to learn more about the past of their family. I provide services in realization of such tours - interpretation / translation and informational support in travels across the Western Ukraine. If necessary, provide additional research to find out records, addresses, burial places, etc. CONTACTS OF THE AUTHOR.


In the medieval period the downtown of Lviv spoke primarily in Polish or German - the Ukrainians usually settled in the suburbs. Nevertheless, even in those days "not many Ruthenians, but a lot of Rus" were in Lviv. City walls, the palaces of gentry and the houses of burghers, cathedrals and monasteries were built oftenly by the Ukrainian hands and under significant influence of Ukrainian artistic and religious traditions.
The fortune - a cruel and fair - so decided, that in the most difficult times for the Ukraine, the Western Ukraine, Galicia, Lviv became the last hope and bastion of Ukrainity.
It is aware, visiting numerous churches of Lviv - encient, Ukrainian by the spirit, embodiment and religious affiliation - the Cathedral of St. George, the churches of Virgin Mary Assumption, of Transfiguration of the Lord, of St. Nicholas, St.Onufriy, St. Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, St. Elias; examining beautiful buildings of Ukrainian Modern; admiring the rich and unique exhibits of Lviv artistic and memorial museums belonging to Ukrainian heritage.
You may see all these treasures during the UKRAINIAN LVIV tour.


Since the 14th till the 18th c.c. and during the interwar period Lviv belonged to the Polish state. The large Polish community was holding the levers of city management, the Roman Catholic Church was defining the whole mode of itís life. During the Swedish Deluge in the 17th c. and in stateless for Poland (as well for the Ukraine) the nineteenth century, Leopolis stood for the base of Polish culture and national consciousness. Lviv became the city of Arthur Grotger and Gabriela Zapolska, Henryk Rosen and Stanislaw Lem, the city of many other prominent figures of culture and art.
Therefore, not recognizing, for sure, Lviv as a Polish city, one may recognize its significance for Polish history and culture.


The Armenians appeared in Lviv already in the 13th c. and have played remarkable role in the city history - they acted as craftsmen, merchants, interpreters, travelers, scientists, dominated in some branches of craft and business life. As to itís number and significance, the Armenian community in Lviv was on the third place among other Armenian settlements in the Ukraine - after the Krimea and Kamenets-Podilsky. Lviv was one of the major Armenian cultural centers out of the limits of their ethnic territory.
In the early 17th c. the Armenian community of Lviv took the unity with Roman - Catholic church, the Lviv Diocese of Armenian - Catholic church headed by the Archbishop was established in Lviv. The Church existed till the fourties of the 20-th century, when, in line with the Ukrainian Greek - Catholic church, was abolished by Bolsheviks. But, for the Ukrainians in Halychyna, which in different periods was a part of the Polish Commonwealth and Austrian Empire, the Ukrainian Greek - Catholic church implied the preservation of Ukrainian cultural identity and development of national spirit. At the same time, the Armenian Catholic Church in some aspects implied the assimilation of respectively non-numerous - in comparison with other ethnic groups - the Armenian community in Lviv. When in 1939 the Western Ukraine was included in the Soviet Union many Lviv armenians were repressed by bolsheviks. Nowadays Armenian community in Lviv, as the Armenians generally in the world, belongs to the One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church.

In spite of all historical vicissitudes, Lviv includes the set of valuable historic objects associated with Armenian heritage: Armenian street with the unique Ensemble of Armenian Cathedral (the Armenian Cathedral building, the Belfry tower, the Palace of Armenian Catholic Archbishops, the buiding of "Mons Pius" Armenian bank, the Column of St.Kristopher, Renaissance Gallery, "Crusification" and "Doubtful Thomas" bas-reliefs, etc) and numerous old dwelling houses (the House of Seasons of the Year, the House of Austrian Taxation Office, etc), remarkable memorials of Armenian heritage in other parts of the Old City, historical Armenian graves of Lychakiv cemetery. Walking conducted tour LVIV - THE REFUGE OF TRAVELLERS takes 2 hours.


The Jews appeared in Lviv in the 13th - 14th centuries. Mainly it were Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim - the European (German) Jews, but the Jews from Spain - Sephardi Jews were also coming here. In fact there were two Jewish communities in the midieval Lviv - one in the city (downtown), and the other - in the Krakiv suberb. There were differencies between the communities, in particular - from the legislative point of view. The Austrians in the late 18-th century started emansipation and, to some extend, assimilation of the Jews in Lviv-Lemberg and Galicia. There were three religious groups in the 19-th century - orthodox Jews, the Jews - followers of reformed sinagogue (mainly Haskalah - Jewish Enlightment - supporters) and Hasidim . The relations beteen the groups in certain periods were rather complcated. After transformation of Austrian Empire into Austro - Hungarian dual monarchy the Jews were completely equalized in rights with other citizens of the Empire.
Jewish community in Lviv was rather numerous - in included more than 100000 people in pre-WW2 period, comprizing around 30 percent of population of the city. In Lviv - Lemberg - Limerik and generally in Galicia the Jews posessed leading positions in business, were active and succesful in productive sphere, different crafts and liberal arts, played significant role in culture and art.
In spite of Shoah - the tragic events of WW2, many remarkable objects of Jewish culture, business, religion, national history have survived in Galicia - Halychyna.
In Lviv - Lemberg all these extremely interesting objects could be seen during the conducted tour THE JEWISH HERITAGE IN LEMBERG.

In the cities of Halychyna - Galicia where former substantial Jewish population formed separate settlements or communities - shtettles / kehilas, such as Brody, Zhovkva, Belz, Sambir, Busk, Zolochiv and other, there are old survived dwelling houses, sinagogues, semeteries and Shoah memorials. In some of them in the past the Jewry comprised a good half or even the majority of total population of a city. Such former shtettle (kehila) could be observed in one-day guided ethnic roots (nostalgia, genealogy) tour.

Brody city in Lviv region. The Great Synagogue. 1742.
Brody city. Jewish cemetery.

©Igor Holyboroda, 2012