Coat of arms of Lviv
The lion was a traditional symbol of the city throughout the ages. The first such depictions occurred on 13th century seals of dukes Andrew and Leo of Volynia, rulers of mediæval Ruthenian duchy of Halych-Volynia. The earliest known emblem of the city features a lion passant through a city gate pointed with three towers. It was featured on a city council seal, used by the magistrate in 1359.
In 1526, after the city came directly under Polish rule, King Sigismund the Old began the fortification of the city and formally accepted the coat of arms. A royal crown was added to the coronet to emphasise the city’s allegiance to the crown,. In later years, although the colours and shapes of elements varied, their number remained the same. In 1586 Bishop Jan Dymitr Solikowski, royal diplomat and a Bishop of Lwów (as the city was called back then), was accepted for audience by the Pope Sixtus V, and the city was granted the privilege of adding the papal coat of arms to its own. The lion passant was replaced with a lion rampant, and the coat of arms now included the papal emblem of three helmets and an 8-pointed star. During the Partition of Poland, after annexation by Austria, the coat of arms was again confirmed by the highest authorities — Emperor Joseph II of Austria, on November 6, 1789.
During the Galician period the city emblem remained unchanged. After the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1919—1920, Lviv returned Polish rule. In recognition of the city’s heroic per¬formance during the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918, Lviv was awarded Poland’s highest military decoration, the Virtuti Militari medal. This medal was featured within the emblem and the city's motto “semper fidelis” was added.
After the World War II the city was an¬nexed by Soviet Union and in 1967, a new, simplified coat of arms was approved by Soviet authorities. It featured the lion rampant, below a three-towered city gate, with a hammer and sickle in the centre, on an azure background. After Ukraine’s in¬dependence, the city council passed a new coat of arms, looking back towards the original emblem from the times of Ruthenia. This current yet historical emblem has been a symbol of Lviv since July 5, 1990.