The charm of Lviv is catching and can transform one’s mood from the moment of arrival. Phil Black at CNN in London called Lviv, “The European cultural capital you’ve never heard of” (July, 2012). It’s vibrant population of 750 000 people is young and is seen everywhere in bustling outdoor cafes and beer gardens with a paint box of colorful flowers and mix of European cuisine. The Lonely Planet ranked Lviv in the TOP 10 best destinations in Europe in 2016. And Anne Applebaum wrote, “Lviv has the ambiance of Prague of Krakow, but without the prices or the crowds”. (The Wall St.Journal, June 2, 2015).
1. MEDIEVAL LVIV
This tour is especially recommended to those who visit Royal Lviv for the first time. Walking along Rynok Square and nearby streets, you will be fascinated by the diversity of architecture, and the tour guide’s intriguing stories will help you to have a good look, to feel and understand all its beauty. Some stunning
Medieval gems we are going to visit:
According to the legend, the Polish king Casimir III the Great laid the foundation’s first stone in the second half of the 14th century. Being the main temple of Roman Catholics in Ukraine, it is the only one in Lviv that has preserved its initial Gothic look until today. Do you know what part of the temple shows the Polish protesting against the Austrian occupation? Have you seen the silent memories of Lviv wars? Why was the second tower of the cathedral not finished? You will definitely find out.
Rynok SquareThis place has been considered the heart of Lviv since the 14th century until today. The main square of Royal Lviv was built by the German colonists on the instructions of the Polish King Casimir III Great, as a classic European square with the City Hall. Back in the day, such famous people as Peter the Great, Franz Josef and Pope John Paul II visited the square.
So why is it called Rynok? How many times was the City Hall rebuilt? What was in its dungeons? What was special in the way the rich Leopolitans were bringing up their gilded youth? Who takes care of the 150-year-old clock? We will tell you.
Royal stone house and Italian courtyard
Being one of the oldest stone buildings of royal Lviv, it was constructed in 1580 according to the project of Italian architects in the Italian Renaissance style. From 1678 it was the residence of Polish king Jan III Sobieski. This is the same building where the Treaty of Eternal Peace was ratified between Moscovia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Here you can find the only Venetian courtyard in Ukraine and one of the first balconies in Lviv.
The city arms depot has been located at this place since 1430. It was rebuilt after the fire of 1571 and the defeat by the Swedes of 1704. Did you know that the Swedes took Lviv? In addition to the weapons depot, the building also contained a prison and the apartment of the city executioner, where he lived with his family. But this fact did not prevent him from conducting various tortures there.
Today it is the Museum of weapons, opened in 1981, the only one in the entire territory of the former USSR
2. THE LYCHAKIV NECROPOLIS
The journey through Lviv cannot be called complete if you didn’t visit its most mysterious place – the Lychakiv necropolis. It is one of the oldest cemeteries of Europe, which emerged on the slopes of Lychakiv back in 1786.
No visitor has left indifferent after seeing its greatness and calmness.We are not going to look for ghosts, no way. We are going to talk about Leopolitans: the famous ones, the very famous ones and those who were not well-known to general public, who in their time lived in our city, who created, loved, suffered and joked. In short, we will talk about people who created the history of Lviv, the history as we know it today, thanks to them, in particular.
These are Ivan Franko, Solomiya Krushelnytska, Markian Shashkevych, Volodymyr Ivasyuk, Stanislav Lyudkevych, Iryna Wilde, Ivan Krypiakevich, Sigmund Gorgolevsky, Stefan Banach, Arthur Grogeter, Josef Adam Bachevsky, Josef Torosevich ….
Famous Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Armenians – all of them were primarily Leopolitans, who left us the things we should remember, things we should be proud of and should never lose.
These are only some of the topics we are going to talk about during our tour of Lychakiv necropolis.
3. AUSTRIAN LVIV
At the end of the eighteenth century, as a result of the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Lviv and its region came under Habsburg rule as the eastern half of a new Crown Land province called “Galizien-Lodomerien” or simply “Galizien”.
Habsburg rule brought Lemberg economic growth and changed its look. Lemberg’s architects introduced a neoclassicist style meant to imprint a new, rational order on the cityscape, and travelers duly praised Lemberg for looking not like itself but like a little “Vienna of the East”.
Around the turn of the century, Lemberg boomed and its architects turned it into a jewel of Secesja or Jugendstil building.
During this tour we are going to visit some of the the most beautiful buildings, such as the Seym (Parliament) of Galizien, which is now one of the biggest and the most prestigious universities in Ukraine, Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet and other Art Nouveau style masterpieces. Near the University there is a Park, which is known as the oldest municipal Park in Ukraine.
Also we will visit Nobel casino, the most fashionable club of Lviv elite from the end of nineteenth century (now the House of Scientists) which interior is unique in its beauty.
4. TOUR TO THE OLDEST AND LARGEST LIBRARY OF UKRAINE
Scientific Library of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv is the main scientific library of the University, one of the largest and most ancient scientific libraries of Ukraine with a collection of more than 3 million volumes. Founded in 1608 as a book collection of the Jesuit College in Lviv.
The library’s holdings today comprise more than three million books, 120,000 of which are unique old printed books and manuscripts, the oldest of which dates from the 13th century.
The library saved many unique books and manuscripts. In particular, the holdings of the library include books from the personal library of the French Cardinal Mazarini, the French King Louis XV, the Polish King Sigismund II, Hetman Ivan Mazepa.
At the end of the eighteenth century, the university’s scientific library was the only state depository of the documents of the Commonwealth, and with the liquidation of state and church institutions, documents and books were transmitted here. At that time, books from the 147 abolished monasteries, including those from Skit Maniavsky, were included in the book collection.
Since 1807, the library has received a compulsory copy of periodicals and scholarly publications appearing in the territory of the state. This rule was in force until 1939. That is why the periodical fund in this library is the largest in Ukraine.