Defending Ancient Lviv

  • Defending Ancient Lviv
  • Defending Ancient Lviv
  • Defending Ancient Lviv
  • Defending Ancient Lviv
  • Defending Ancient Lviv
Issue 21, February 2010.

Like most of Europe’s great medieval cities, Lviv has a rich legacy of fortifications within the architectural ensemble of the Old town area. In the centre of modern Lviv the city’s medieval arsenal. Today’s Lviv arsenal building houses a museum and is a well-known as a local landmark but it is actually the oldest of three surviving arsenals and can be traced back to 1430. Following the famous fire which devastated much of central Lviv in 1570, the present arsenal building was erected in 1574-75 based on designs provided by Lviv architect Pavlo Schasklyvy and the design duo Ganush and Sebastyan. The new arsenal building added a new dimension to the Lviv city defences and provided two new towers to the north and south of the main building which offered valuable new vantage points for defenders. The building suffered extensive damage when it was partially demolished by Swedish forces during the Great Northern War, while in the nineteenth century the Habsburg authorities build new fortifications outside of the old city limits and used the old arsenal building as a general military warehouse. It is said that in the eighteenth century the Polish authorities used the building as a jail and held some imprisoned Haydamak rebels here, making this a site of considerable importance in the struggle for Ukrainian national identity.

In previous centuries the arsenal building is said to have been far more decorative that it is today. Chronicles record that as well as floral sculpture and elegant adornments, the entrance to the arsenal building was topped by a banner which read: ‘Blessed is the city which thinks of security in times of peace.’ Today’s arsenal is a fascinating museum which boasts one of the finest collections of 16th century winged Polish hussar uniforms in the world. These winged legends of early modern cavalry warfare are the most iconic single element of Polish national identity and remain a must-see treat for all visitors to Lviv.

If You are interested to know more facts of Lviv’s remarkable past, take a trip with Wonder Train, to see the actual places of the events or book a guide with Chudo Tour as this is the best chance to listen to fascinating stories of city of Lions.