Love in Lviv on St. Valentine’s Day

  • Love in Lviv  on St. Valentine’s Day
Issue 20, January 2010.

 Lviv is one of the most dreamily romantic cities in Eastern Europe with its ancient cobbled streets and enticing archways leading into a thousand and one intimate courtyards. The fairytale capital of West Ukraine is rich in romantic legend and has inspired architects, writers, noblemen and playwrights for centuries. This was the scene of legendary romances between Polish aristocrats and Ukrainian beauties, a city where Venetian ambassadors would become bewitched and Habsburg dukes unmanned. It was also once the home town of the infamous Mr. Masoch and the setting for many of his erotically-charged tales, giving rise to the modern-day concept of masochism. Today’s Lviv is just as seductive as it was in centuries past, and as the city prepares to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day 2010 we look at a few of the most appealing local options as you plan how to spend the most romantic holiday of the year!

A Cultural Courtship
Not everybody takes full advantage of the wonderful cultural life which Lviv offers, but St. Valentine’s Day is the  perfect opportunity to make up for lost time and serenade the partner of your choice by inviting them to an evening of high-brow entertainment and refinement at one of the city’s many theatres. Tickets are extremely reasonably priced given the high quality of the performances on offer and first time visitors will be delighted to find a previously hidden world of theatrical charm and character once they enter the foyer for the fist time. Anyone looking to experience Lviv theatre for the first time on St. Valentine’s Day 2010 should visit theatre box offices in the week prior to performances to see what’s on offer.

Hip Lovers and Ethno-Accessories
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and when it comes to the prefect St. Valentine’s Day gift you simply cannot beat expensive jewelry, but for the more original (or penny-pinching) this might be the year to consider giving that special someone a new piece of contemporary jewelry in keeping with the current fashion for Ukrainian ethno style. In recent years the ancient folk arts of the West Ukrainian pastoral region have enjoyed a massive renaissance and become genuinely powerful fashion statements, with a whole host of Ukrainian fashion designers working old school Lviv embroidery and Carpathian motifs into their collections. Meanwhile, the handicrafts masters who ply their wares at Lviv’s always intriguing arts market close to the Opera House have noted this developing passion for ethno themes with interest and have begun offering an ever-expanding selection of ethno-inspired accessories and jewelry.

Strolling in the City and Engjoying Lviv Parklife
Lviv is a city which is simply made for strolling and there are hundreds of attractive spots which will serve you well if you wish to take a brisk but romantic St. Valentine’s Day stroll with the person you love. Among the Lviv Today editorial team personal favourites include the recently renovated and repaved park opposite the city’s Ivan Franko University. New benches and lighting have transformed this formerly somewhat shappy space into a stroller’s paradise that offers an echo of the Habsburg age in all its pomp. Alternatively, you could head for the windswept romance of Striyskiy Park, which was originally landscaped for a late nineteenth century Habsburg trade fair which was hosted in Lviv.

Nightlife Lovers on the Prowl
Inevitably, there will be many Leopolitans and guests of the city who will be celebrating St. Valentine’s Day 2010 without anyone special in their lives, and that makes February 14 the perfect night to venture out into the ever expanding world of Lviv clubland. Old favourites like Picasso will be particularly busy in this holiday night, while new venue Rafinad People Club will no doubt attract many of Lviv’s glamour crowd. First timers looking to make an impact on the Lviv party scene can expect to find a friendly and welcoming crowd, but if you are looking for love you will have to make your own luck!

The Ultimate Weekend Away
For those with bigger budgets the most appealing St. Valentine’s Day option in Lviv might actually be to leave the city altogether and escape into the natural splendour of the nearby Carpathian Mountains. The days of miserable Sovietstyle serve standards and shappy little hostels are now long since gone and today the Ukrainian Carpathians are one of the most attractive investment areas among international tourism industry investors. Resorts like Bukovel have sprung up to cater to the skiing community, while throughout the Lviv oblast region there are attractive and often competitively priced hotels catering to young lovers.

Say it with Flowers but be Careful!
If you would like to make the most traditional of St. Valentine’s Day statements and present your lady with a bunch of red roses, then please bear in mind that according to local folk tradition it is considered extremely unlucky to present anyone with an even number of flowers. Even numbers are traditionally only brought to a funeral and so if you invest in 20 red roses for the lady of your heart you might well find that the investment does not bring you any profit!

Dine Your Way to Love

As the old saying goes, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and there is no more romantic way to spend St. Valentine’s Day than with a meal for two in one of Lviv’s top restaurants. Over at Lev Restaurant in Leopolis Hotel (16 Teatralna Street, tel.: 032-2959500) guests can enjoy an unforgettable Valentine’s Day dining experience specially prepared by master of the culinary arts Emanuel Wernbacher, with a special romantic meal accompanied by champagne or wine and followed by a delicious dessert specially create for the holiday and christened ‘The Symphony of Love.’ The price per person is just UAH 350, making this one of the options on St. Vlaentine’s Day 2010

Escape the Winter Blues
St. Valentine’s Day is all about romance, but it can sometimes be hard to feel sexy when your shoes are full of snow and you haven’t seen the sun shine for almost three weeks. To meet the sense of seasonal depression why not take your loved one for a fun afternoon splashing about at a subtropical aqua park? Lviv’s very own Plyazh Aqua Park is just the place to take your mind off the rigors of a long and dreary Ukrainian winter and will also
allow for plenty of flirtation as you and your prospective partner frolid in the waves together, setting you up for an
explosive evening to follow.

Sensual Chocolate
Forget what the scientists say about various vegetable aphrodisiacs! No foodstuff is quite as sexy as chocolate and luckily for lusty lovers this Valentine’s Day Lviv has been a capital of sweet-toothed endeavours since the early Middle Ages when its key role on the Eurasian trade routes of the era saw it established as a centre of spice and dessert delights from the Orient. Chocolate came to the city soon after its arrival in Europe from the New World in the early modern period and has remained a mainstay of the local diet ever since. Today Lviv’s most famous brand name chocolate remains Svitoch, which is currently under the ownership of international confectionary giant Nestle and is one of the leading chocolate brands in the former Soviet Union. Most supermarkets offer a wide range of these and other locally produced chocolates and it is no surprise that colourfully decorated boxes of Lviv chocolates tend to be bought up enthusiastically by visiting expats as gifts for their friends and family.