Literary Lviv

  • Literary Lviv
  • Literary Lviv
  • Literary Lviv
Issue 20, January 2010.

 Lviv has always been a city of great literary pretensions  and was the home of the region’s first printing  presses in the sixteenth century. You will encounter a   monument to the godfather of Lviv’s printing scene,  Ivan Fedorov, on Pidvalna Street close to Lviv’s book market. This  statue was erected in 1977 by the Soviet authorities and quickly  become a focal point for Lviv’s literary community, with rumours  spreading that the monument itself was not originally intended  to depict the famous printer but was instead meant to represent a proletarian peasant worker. Others claim that the feet of the  monument were originally destined for a statue of a Soviet Red Army soldier. Ten years ago there were plans to move Fedorov from his current home to a location outside the city, but luckily  for Lviv book lovers these efforts were thwarted and he remains in place to watch over the city’s thriving second-hand book trade.

Lviv’s other most celebrated literary monument is the statue of Ukrainian national bard Ivan Franko which stands opposite the entrance to the university which bares his name. Urban legend has it that this statue was also not originally intended to  depict its current subject but was initially planned to be a giant Stalin monument. Built in the early 1950s, the monument is thought to originally have been planned as a tribute to Stalin but the scheme was hastily changed following the denunciation  of Stalin’s personality cult in 1958. Another persistent rumour has it that the monument is radioactive, but many students believe that this particular urban myth is populated by teachers in  a bid to discourage students from hanging around the monument and missing classes!

 To learn more about Lviv literary monuments and explore the urban legends of West Ukraine’s city of lions take a Chudo Train tour from Rynok Square. Tours depart hourly from the cit centre every day!