Travel to Lviv History

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"Bo gdzie jeszcze ludziom
Tak dobrze jak tu?
Tylko we Lwowie!..
l gdybym sie kiedys
Urodzic mial znow,
To tylko we Lwowie!
Bo szkoda gadania,
Bo co chcesz, to mow
Nie ma jak Lwow!"
"Tylko we Lwowie".

Lviv was founded in 1256 by the Ukrainian prince (king) Danylo Halytsky - the ruler of the Halychyna and Volyn principality - and was named in honour of his son Lion. At the end of the 13th c. it was already the capital of the Halychyna and Volyn state and a respectively big city. In the early 14th c. the house of the Ukrainian princes died away and after several years of wars the city was included into the Polish kingdom. In the boarders of the Polish Commonwealth Lviv - Lwow - Leopolis stayed till the First Division of Poland (1772). Then Halychyna - Galicia with Lviv - Lemberg was included into the Austrian empire, since 1867 - the dual Austrian - Hungarian Empire. In 1918 Austria - Hungary was defeated in the WWI and new states started to form at it’s territories, in particular, the Western-Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR) was proclaimed in Lviv - Lemberg on November 1, 1918. The Polish – Ukrainian war took place in 1918-1919 and until WWII it was polish territory. At the beginning of WWII, in September of 1939 Soviet Army took these territories and until the late 20th c. Lviv - Lvov belonged to the Soviet Union (with the interruption on the Nazi occupation in 1941-44). Since the Ukraine has restored it's independence Lviv is one of the leading cities of the Ukrainian state.

In the medieval period (the 15th-17th c.c.) Lviv - Lwow - Leopolis was one of the principal centers of the Polish Commonwealth. The unique ensemble of the Old City with the numerous Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque buildings and cathedrals has been formed around the Market Square at that time. Many beautiful Classic style constructions appeared in Lviv - Lemberg at the end of the 18th – early 19th c. In the late 19th c. Lviv - Lemberg turned to be the capital of the Austrian province Halychyna, which occupied a great territory and had a wide autonomy. The modern central part of Lemberg with wonderful Secession (Modern style) constructions has been formed just at that period adding to the city the inimitable colour of the Central Europe. Lviv - Lemberg was lucky also in the 20th c.: it’s houses, streets and squares in general successfully went through two world wars and numerous changes of state power and ideology.

Nowadays the city of Lviv is a regional center of Ukraine with approximately 800 thousands inhabitants, more than 50 museums, about 100 churches and cathedrals, many higher educational institutions and a dozen of theatres. In 1998 the central part of Lviv was included in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage. As well, there are many monuments of history and art at the territory of Halychyna - Galicia and Volyn, accessible during the conducted / guided tour. In particular the tour guide may show You the castles of Golden Horseshoe, the unique Renaissance Zhovkva city, medieval fortified abbeys of Krechiv, Pidkamin, Univ, Plisnesk, Dobromyl, Lavriv, the magnificent Pochaiv Lavra. Due to the conducted / guided tours in Lviv and Galicia provided by the experienced tour guide ( me :) ), the acquaintance with Lviv - Lwow - Lemberg - Lvov - Leopolis and its places of interest will leave You the unique impressions!


Lviv - the secret meeting place of two dictators.

According to U.S. intelligence and to a number of other sources Lviv city was the place of covert personal talks between the two dictators - Hitler and Stalin. The meeting was held in October 1939 and took place near the central railway station of Lviv. It was a honeymoon period for two empires when the inter-war Poland was destroyed by joint efforts. Stalin and Hitler came to Lviv by their personal trains masked as international passenger trains. The meeting took place in Hitler's personal train and went on for a couple of hours. After that the two friends parted again - each in his own affairs.

The largest armour battle in world history.

At the beginning of the German - Soviet war, in June 1941 a great tank battle took place to the North - East from Lviv, in the area limited by cities Lutsk - Brody - Rivne. The battle in scale is considered to be the largest in world history among the armour battles. The first Panzer Group (army) of the German group of armies "South" was fighting against several mechanized corpses of the Soviet South - West Front. The most powerful Soviet mechanized corpse was commanded by well-known general Vlasov - a hero, and then - since 1942 - a traitor. Despite the huge disparity of forces (totally about 4,000 Soviet tanks against 800 German), the victory went to the Germans. The battle ended June 29, when marshal Zhukov commanded general retreat of the soviet troops. So many burnt soviet tanks remained at the great battlefield, that the Germans until 1943 were taking there foreign correspondents.

Catholic communities of Lviv.

In the early medieval period (14th - 16th centuries). Lviv had only one Catholic (Roman Catholic) community, which included the Poles, the Germans and other immigrants from the Western Europe, in particular - the Italians. In the 17th c. the Ukrainians and Armenians in Galicia signed the religious Unity with Roman Catholic church. Thus, for some period Lviv was the only city in the world where three Catholic archbishops - Roman Catholic (as the spiritual head of the Polish community), Greek Catholic and Armenian Catholic - resided.

©Igor Holyboroda, 2012