Lviv History

1917 CENTENARY: Time to remind the world of Ukraine’s first war of independence

Issue 98, February 2017.
The coming year will see a torrent of international media coverage focusing on the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Ukraine should take advantage of this media spotlight to remind the world that 2017 is also the hundredth anniversary of the first modern attempt to establish an independent Ukrainian state. This would improve international understanding of the current hybrid war with Russia, which many in Ukraine regard as merely the latest chapter in a much longer struggle for independence.

Charming Virmenka Brings Back Memories

Issue 94, October 2016.
It was back in 1979 when on one of Lviv’s oldest streets – Virmenska – at House №19 opened up coffee-shop Virmenka. Located in the Polish-era mansion of Bijouterie master Bader, the coffeehouse became an instant Leopolitan hit. Featuring delicious Cezve-style coffee prepared on sand, Virmenka became popular among the “flower children”, or the hippies. By the 1990s, this venerable venue began attracting historians, poets, musicians, and students to share politics, music, and forbidden samizdat books that were censored and published by hand underground. The venue brought together many from outside the mainstream, including pacifists, artists, painters, musicians, and actors from all over the Soviet Union – Moscow, Leningrad, Vilnius, and Tallinn. “There were days when over 100 people were crowded inside and the exterior turned into an incredible free-spirited gathering” remembers Alik Olisevych, the son of political prisoners and a local hippie. Virmenka was nearly as famous as Leningrad’s ‘Saigon’.

A Spider for Christmas?

Issue 85, December 2015.
Fastidious housewives usually shoo spiders and their webs from the corners of the house, or from their hiding places in furniture. But in Ukraine, what says Christmas more than a spider and its spider web? Well, considering that Ukrainian holiday traditions include such memorable and special seasonal symbols as poppy seeds, garlic, stalks of wheat, and even cross-dressing (for special travelling Christmas plays called Vertep) – why not include the “pavuk” (spider).

The Ukrainian Inventor of the X-Ray

Issue 83, October 2015.
When people speak about the origins of the x-ray, one man’s name usually comes to mind – German scientist Wilhelm Roentgen. Roentgen, of course, was the winner of the very first Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on the x-ray and has even had a periodic element named after him (Roentgenium – 111). What most are unaware of, however, is the contribution of Ukrainian physicist Ivan Puluj in the foundational discovery. In fact, it could be argued that Puluj himself was the original inventor of the groundbreaking medical technology.

Vytynanky: The Cutting Edge Craft

Issue 72, October 2014.
Vytynanky – the art of cutting paper designs – is just one of the many features of traditional Ukrainian culture. While not as prominent as its artistic cousins embroidery or pysanka-writing (Ukrainian Easter Eggs), it is nonetheless an important part of the genetic memory of the nation and deserves to be promoted as an integral part of traditional Ukrainian culture.

Wooden Churches

Issue 71, September 2014.
Find out more about 16 wooden churches added to UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites -eight in Poland and eight in Ukraine, of which Lviv oblast have four, while Ivano-Frankivsk and Zakarpattia oblasts have two each.

Lviv’s Footballing Legacy

Issue 70, July 2014.
While football fans around the world are glued to their TV sets to watch the world’s biggest football spectacle in Brazil, Lviv Today takes the opportunity to look at our own footballing heritage. While Ukraine has existed as an independent state since only 1992, our football history goes much further back. The history of football in Lviv dates back to the late 19th century with the rising popularity of the sport and the first decades of football in Lviv are associated with the history of football in Austria and Poland.

“Thermal Power Station #1” – Possible Tourist Attraction?

Issue 63, December 2013.
There exists a wonderful opportunity to study the history of the world’s technological equipment right here in Lviv as one can find in the houses of city centre electrical equipment produced by “Siemens” during the times of Austria’s Emperor Franz Joseph I. Indeed, one may also find working thermoelectric networks from Japan, the USA, and Germany which predate the world wars.

Baczewski Family: Alcohol Magnates, Art Patrons, and Socialists

Issue 62, November 2013.
Enjoy our monthly culinary tales of Stefko Rondel telling about “Baczewski Family: alcohol magnates, art patrons and socialists“

The Old Tramway

Issue 60, September 2013.
It is difficult to imagine the city of Lviv without its charming trams. One of the city’s great symbols, its 130-year history is intertwined with the city. From its humble beginnings with its Austro-Hungarian horse-drawn carriages to the modernization of its electric cars during the Polish Republic, from withstanding the armed foreign invasions during the Second World War to its current, modern European low-floor carriages, Lviv trams have long inspired Leopolitan lovers and artists. Immortalized in song by Lviv’s own “Pikkardiyska Tertsiya”, let’s take a look at how this Lviv institution came to be.