Lviv (also Lvov) is a city in western part of Ukraine with a great history and a lot of interesting places to visit. The city is an administrative center of Lviv Region, it is also one of the biggest industrial and transport, cultural and educational centers of Ukraine. Lvov is considered to be the center of Western Ukraine and capital of Galicia.
Area of the city is 182 square kilometers.
Lvov population is about 730 thousand inhabitants.
Lviv ZIP (postal) codes are: 79000–79490.
History of Lviv in short
The territory of modern Lvov was settled by the V century AD. But the history of Lviv as a city begins in XIII century.
It was founded by King Daniel of Galicia in about 1250 and named in honor of King’s son Lev (meaning “lion”).
The city was a part of Halych-Volhynia Principality. In 1261 the city was invaded by the Tatars, who destroyed it, but after the death of his father Daniel King Lev rebuilt it around year 1270.
In 1340 Polish King Cazimir III invaded the city, but local people banished the invaders. Still Polish control was established in 1349. In 1353 Lviv was destroyed by Lithuanian prince Liubartas. A new walled city was built by Casimir III, who granted the Magdeburg rights and brought in more Germans (Lviv population consisted of Ruthenians and Germans mostly). After Casimir’s III death King Louis I of Hungary began to rule the city. Lviv was under the Hungarian reign from 1370 to 1387.
In 1389 Lwow (Polish name for Lviv) became the capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship as a part of the Crown of The Kingdom of Poland.
Most of city settlers were polonized and catholicized by the end of XV century; Lviv became a Polish island surrounded by Orthodox Ruthenian population.
In XV-XVI centuries Lviv became one of the major trading centers between Black Sea region and Central Europe. But in XVII century armies of Hungarians, Swedes, Turks, Russians and Cossacks invaded Lviv. In 1648 army of Crimean Tatars and Cossacks besieged city. Lviv was not sacked because Cossacks’ leader Bohdan Khmelnytsky accepted a ransom and marched northwest.
In 1772 Lviv was annexed by Austria. Lviv – Lemberg in German – became one of the most important Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish cultural centers during Habsburg rule and first Austria and then Austria-Hungary Empire (until 1918).
In 1918 Lviv was proclaimed the capital of Western Ukrainian National Republic, but the Poles regained control over the city. In 1939 Lvov was joined to Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. During the World War II more than 200000 people were killed in Lvov ghetto. After the war most of the Polish population moved to Poland. The Poles, the Jews and the Germans were taken away from Lviv or killed by the Soviet regime. Soviet authorities suppressed national movements but after Stalin’s death Lviv regained the status of important center of Ukrainian culture in USSR.
In 1991 Lviv became one of the administrative centers of independent Ukraine.
Places of interest in Lvov
Being a part of different countries, Lvov borrowed knowledge and some part of culture from invaders. It can be seen in Lviv architecture and appearance of different Lviv sights.
Lviv museums will help guests of the city to learn the history of the city and to get acquainted with its rich history and culture.
Lviv National Museum
Address: 20 Svobody Avenue|42 Dragomanov Street. Established in 1905 by Metropolitan Archbishop Andrey Sheptytsky now it is one of the largest museums in Ukraine, dedicated to Ukrainian culture. Those who visit Lviv can see a unique collection of Ukrainian icon painting (XIV-XVII centuries), paintings, manuscripts and sculptures.
Lviv Pharmacy Museum ‘’Pid Chornym Orlom” (“Under the Black Eagle”)
Address: 2 Drukarska Street (Rynok Square). Museum is located in the building where in 1735 a military pharmacist Wilhelm Natorp established a drugstore. The museum was opened in 1966. Now there are 16 exhibit rooms representing more than 3 thousand exhibits. Visitors can see antique pharmaceutical dishes, appliances, medicines, prescriptions. This museum is the only operating Pharmacy Museum not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe.
Address: 5 Pidvalna Street. Erected in 1554-1556 it is the oldest arsenal building in Lviv. Now the building houses an armory museum opened in 1981. Arsenal exhibits a great collection of old fire-arms, cannons and cold steel made in workshops of 32 countries.
Lviv National Art Gallery
Address: 3 Stefanyk Street. Founded in 1897 now it is the leading Ukrainian art museum with more than 60 thousand artworks in its collection. Works of French, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Austrian, Spanish artists of XIV-XX centuries are represented there.
Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet
Address: 28 Svobody Avenue. It was opened in 1900. Theatre repertoire includes 10 Ukrainian music compositions and a few score of operas written by foreign composers. The building of Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet has details and forms of Baroque and Renaissance architecture. It is beautifully decorated outside and inside.
Maria Zankovetska Theatre
Address: 1 Lesya Ukrayinka Street (Prospect Svobody). M. Zankovetska National Academic Ukrainian Drama Theatre was founded in 1842 and was the largest theatre in Europe at that time. It promotes plays with profound national themes and scripts from international cultures. Many Ukrainian National and Honored artists work in this theatre.
Parks and gardens
Stryi Park (Stryiskyi Park)
Address: 15 Stryiskaya Street. This old and popular among citizens and tourist park in Lviv was founded in 1887 for the Agricultural Exhibition Fairground. It covers 58 hectares and features more than 200 species of plants and trees. It is considered to be a national monument of landscape architecture. There is also a magnificent Palace of Art (Austria-Hungarian era) and a pond with white swans.
Ivan Franko Park
Address: Universitets’ka Street. It the oldest Lviv park founded in XVI century. It covers an area of fifteen hectares. There are plantations of trees of different periods, but main stand of trees comes from 1855 and 1980. These years are marked with two last reconstructions. Due to its proximity to the university the benches of the park are often filled with students.
Other Lviv tourist attractions
Address: 1 Rynok Square. This building is one of the most important Lviv symbols. Two sculptures of lions holding shields with the arms of the city guard the main entrance. In XIV century the building of town hall was wooden, but it was reconstructed several times. Present building dates back to early XIX century. The building houses the city council since 1939. If you want to visit the building, guiding Lviv tours are available. During the excursion you will see the clock tower and best panorama of the city from the observation deck of the tower.
Address: 33 Mechnikova Street. Famous historical cemetery of Ukraine established in 1787. Its territory of forty hectares is divided into 86 fields containing about 3500 compositions and monuments. Since its creation Lychakiv cemetery has been main necropolis of middle and upper classes of Lviv and also intelligentsia. In 1991 this cemetery received the status of memorial museum-reserve.
Rynok Square (Market Square)
It is a central square of Lviv established in XIV century. Around the square there are about 40 tenement houses representing different architectural styles (from Modernism to Renaissance). In the four corners of the square there are fountains with sculptures representing figures of Greek mythology – Adonis, Diana, Amphitrite, Neptune. In 1998 the Rynok Square was recognized as UNESCO heritage site together with historic center of the city. Looking for what to see in Lviv? Go tо the Rynok Square.
Lvov is a major cultural, publishing, educational center. The first university was founded there in 1661. The top Lviv universities are:
- Ivan Franko National University of Lviv;
- Danylo Halytsky National Medical University;
- Lviv Polytechnic National University;
- Lviv National Musical Academy named after M. Lysenko;
- Lviv State University of Physical Culture.
Tourist information about Lvov
Airports and stations
Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport is located at about 6 kilometers from the city center. The reconstruction of the airport allowed increasing its capacity up to 2000 passengers per hour. The new airport building meets international technical, architectural and construction requirements and standards. You can fly to Lviv directly from the airports of many European countries.
Lviv Railway station (Lviv-Golovnyi) is the main railway terminal in the city. It was opened to the public in 1904. On a monthly basis Lviv-Golovnyi handles over a million passengers. Lviv railway is often called a main gateway to Europe from Ukraine.
Public transportation in Lviv includes:
If you want to travel to Lviv, the city will provide you with many places to stay at. The most popular Lviv hotels are:
- Atlas Deluxe.
- Reikartz Medievale.
Among the top Lviv restaurants:
- Baczewski Restaurant (8 Shevska Street). Cuisine: European, Polish, Ukrainian.
- Kryivka (14 Rynok Square). Cuisine: Ukrainian, Eastern European.
- Garmata Citadel Inn Restaurant (11 Grabovsky Street). Cuisine: Central European, Mediterranean.
- Kumpel (6 Volodymyr Vinnychenko Street). Cuisine: Polish, Ukrainian, European.
- The First Lviv Grill Restaurant of Meat and Justice (20 Valovaya Street). Cuisine: Steakhouse.
Weather in Lviv
Lviv climate is humid continental with mild summers and cold winters. The average Lviv temperatures in summer is 18,3°C (July) and -3°C (January). There are about 75 sunny days in a year.