The stormy and extremely interesting history of the unique Ukrainian city Lviv is more than seven and a half centuries long. Lviv emerged in mid-13th century as the capital of a powerful Eastern European state – the Halychyna-Volyn Principality. Owing to its unique geographical location at the intersection of the main trade routes between the West and the East, in the 15th-17th centuries Lviv became the leading trade centre of the Eastern Europe and the largest city in Ukraine. Having spent half of a millennium in the European cultural space, the city turned into a genuine architectural gem, a centre of book printing, crafts and arts.
In the 18th-20th centuries Lviv as a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire became known as the city of technical innovations. For instance, kerosene and the kerosene lamp were invented here. In early 20th century Lviv became the capital of the third largest oil producing region after the USA and Russia. Lviv spent the period between 1939 and 1991 under the reign of totalitarian Soviet Union. From the first days of Ukraine’s independence Lviv obtained the status of the cultural and spiritual capital of the Ukrainian state. In 2004 Lviv acted as the principal social catalyst of the democratic Orange Revolution. Quite recently, in 2006, Lviv celebrated its 760th birthday. Today Lviv is a famous tourist city, here is centered national and culture spirit of Ukraine, this is the place where Ukrainian and visitors from other countries come to get acquainted with the culture of Ukraine and its traditions and enjoy Ukrainian hospitality.
It took centuries and only the best European architects to build Lviv as we see it today. It is truly unbelievable that despite the two World Wars that had swept through Lviv (during the past 100 years the city changed government seven times as a result of military action), all architectural masterpieces reached our times in their original form. Lviv is a unique combination of Western and Eastern cultures. Lviv preserved wonderful samples of Ukrainian, Polish, Armenian, Jewish, German, Austrian and other cultures from the 12th century till now. Lviv has the most historical and architectural monuments in Ukraine - 2500. Especially valuable are the architectural ensembles of Rynok Square (XV-XIX centuries), Armenian Street (XIV-XIX centuries) And Rus’ka Street, which are included in the list of World Architectural Heritage. European scale artistic value has the ensemble of the Uspenska (Assumption) Church (XVI-XVII century), Svyatoyurskiy (St. George’s) (XVII century) And Armenian (XIV-XVIII century) Cathedrals; Dominican church (XVIII century). The city is known as the center of arts, literature, music and theater. Today irrefutable evidences of the cultural wealth of the city are many theaters, concert halls, art groups and the holding of many art events. Temples, frescos, paintings, traditions, holidays, festivals - a legacy of the past and contemporary work of genius, which can be felt only in Lviv. Lviv is a hidden pearl of Europe, that the world discovers today.
In 1606 a merchant from Gdansk named Martin Groeneweg described Lviv in the following way: “All cattle driven from Podillya and Moldavia to Italy goes through this city. I have travelled through half the Europe, I’ve been to the most famous cities of the world, but nowhere have I seen so much bread. There’s a lot of beer and honey here, too, and not just local, but also imported. Wine is brought from Moldavia, Hungary and Greece. Sometimes you can see over a thousand barrels of wine stacked in Rynok Square. In this city, like in the Market of Venice, you can meet people from all over the world in their national clothing: Cossacks in large furry hats, Russians in white hats, Turks in white turbans, Germans, Italians, Spaniards in short clothes. Whatever language you speak, you’ll find it here. The city lies far from the sea, but when you see a crowd of Cretans, Turks, Greeks and Italians gathered around barrels of malmsey in Rynok Square, still dressed for sea voyage, you might think that there’s a port right outside the city gates”.
The cemetery has been classified as a historic and cultural museum and heritage preserve.
The High Castle Park: an old shady park on the hill towering above the city, ruins of an old castle, the viewing platform, and breathtaking sceneries.
The Black House is a remarkable Renaissance building on the Rynok Square in Lviv. It was built for Italian tax-collector Tomaso Alberti in 1577. The architect was probably Piotr Krasowski. The Lviv Historical Museum has been housed in the Black House since 1926.
The Bernardine Monastery is an impressive monument in the Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque styles dating to1600-1630s. This is a fortified medieval monastery.
The Dominican Church, now the Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Eucharist, is a magnificent monument of the late Baroque; it is adorned with original sculptures.
The Chapel of the Boim family is a famous and very unique late Renaissance monument; it has no analogues, neither in Ukraine nor in the rest of Europe
The Potocki Palace is a majestic edifice in French Neorenaissance style of late 19th century.
The Armenian community, one of the oldest in Lviv, had formed over a period of many years a centre for its national life in Lviv. Its unique architecture portrays the original spirit of this Easter Christian culture.
The Lviv Opera House is an architectural gem of Lviv, built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1901, and one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe.
Rynok Square has been the centre of political, public, cultural, and commercial life of the city for 500 years; it is the heart of Lviv, the setting of the historic beginning of the Europeanization of Ukraine. Surrounding it are about fifty unique architectural monuments dating back to the 16-20th centuries.
There are a lot of interesting and famous places in Lviv, which, probably, are visited by all tourists. But there are other interesting things to see in the city. The house-crossword, almost unknown courtyards, non-standard monuments and even the abandoned palace - Village gathered little-known places in Lviv, which are not mentioned by official guides.
Lviv can offer something special for a visitor in any season. While taking a tour you can experience how each era has left its mark on the cities appearance.
You can choose from a large selection of tours of any taste. It can be individual or group, day or night, city or countryside, gastronomic or thematic. You will have the opportunity to discover Lviv in all its beauty and diversity.
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