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Ukraine Travel Center
General review Lviv

    General information

    L'viv Opera House, Ukraine
    L'viv Opera House, Ukraine

    Lviv with confidence could be called the tourist capital of Ukraine. Daily the city welcomes thousands of tourists from all over the world. Not only rich history and remarkable architecture attract visitors to Lviv, but the unique spirit of the city creates its artistic life; especially patriotic character of its inhabitants, and also the aromatic smell of coffee, saturating the cosy coffee shops of Lviv.

    On June 12, 2009 the Ukrainian magazine Focus among 55 cities assessed Lviv as the best city in Ukraine to live. Lviv’s top rank was assured by high scores in all criteria. Especially the estimated business and educational potential of Lviv, as well as the level of cultural events and tourist attractiveness. It the two last criteria Lviv has scored the maximum amount of points.

    L'viv architecture
    L'viv architecture

    L'viv (Lvov, Lwow, Loewenburg, Lemberg, Leopolis) is a major city in western Ukraine. Historically, it was one of the main cultural and scientific centers of Ukraine, Poland and Europe. It is located about 70 km from the Ukraine’s border with Poland and about 160 km (100 miles) from the eastern Carpathian Mountains. There are many hills in L'viv. Its highest point is the Vysokyi Zamok (High Castle), 409 m above sea level. This has a commanding view of the historic city centre with its distinctive green-domed churches and intricate architecture.

    Lviv is divided into six raions (districts), each with its own administrative bodies:

    • Halytskyi
    • Zaliznychnyi
    • Lychakivskyi
    • Sykhivskyi
    • Frankivskyi
    • Shevchenkivskyi



    L'viv Coat of Arms
    L'viv Coat of Arms


    Notable suburbs include:

    • Vynnyky
    • Briukhovychi
    • Rudne


    Lviv's climate is moderate continental. The average temperatures are - 4°C (27°F) in January and +20°C (65 °F) in June. Average annual rainfall is 660 mm (26 inches) with the maximum being in summer.

    A little bit of the history

    L'viv, Ukraine
    L'viv, Ukraine

    5th century A.D. - Slavonic settlement in the area of the modern Rynok Square.
    Х-ХII c. - Old Russian settlement on Zamkova Gora (Mountain).
    1238 - 1264 - Rule of King Danylo Galytskyi.
    1256 - First written record about Lviv.

    L'viv was founded in the middle of the 13th century by Prince Danylo Halytskiy, of the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named after his son Leo or Lev ("Lion") Leopolis. The first record of Lviv dates back to 1256 A.D. When Danylo died Leo made Lviv the capital of Halych-Volhynia. Initially it belonged to the Kyivan Rus'. For many centuries it was fought over and incorporated into many different countries and empires. It was captured by Poland in 1340 and, in 1349, the territory of L’viv region was conquered by the Polish King Kazimir III, who granted the Magdeburg rights in 1356, which implied that all city matters were to be resolved by a council, elected by the wealthy citizens.

    At the beginning of June 1527 Lviv was completely destroyed by a terrific fire. The summer was very hot and dry with a strong wind. Just one little sparkle was enough in one of the Lviv breweries to leave only the city hall and one house in the suburbs of Lviv standing.

    Lviv people believed, that the suburbian house was saved because of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, so afterwards it was giben a particular reverence. This building was destroyed only in 1786. The fire in 1527 destroyed stone fortifications, in particular the Galychyna gates with all artillery armaments. Bells of the churches melted. The wind brought the fire to the High Temple (Vysoky Zamok), where one of the towers caught fire and burned.

    L'viv, Ukraine
    L'viv, Ukraine

    The temperature became very high at the ignition of the wooden buildings. This caused a sudden effect on atmospheric pressure and the motion of the air currents, stoking up the fire even more. Taking everything into consideration, such a phenomenon, which was called in the 20th c. a "fire whirlwind”, had taken place in Lviv.

    The City Counsil banned wooden construction in the city in 1540. By the end of the 16th century most of the buildings were made out of stone in the center of Lviv.

    As part of Poland (and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), Lviv became the capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship. The 17th century brought invading armies of Swedes, Hungarians from Transylvania, Russians and Cossacks to its gates.

    However, Lviv was the only major city in what was then Poland that was not captured by the invaders. In 1672 it was besieged by the Ottomans, who also failed to conquer it. Lviv was captured for the first time by a foreign army in 1704, when Swedish troops under King Charles XII entered the city after a siege.

    L'viv, Ukraine
    L'viv, Ukraine

    In 1772, following the First Partition of Poland, Lviv the city known in German as Lemberg became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. It was briefly captured by the Russian army in September 1914 but retaken by Austria–Hungary in June the following year.With the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy at the end of World War I Lviv became an arena of conflict between the local Ukrainian and Polish-Jewish populations. Soon afterward, Lviv was attacked by the Red Army under the command of Aleksandr Yegorov and Stalin during Polish-Soviet War, but the city resisted. For the courage of its inhabitants Lviv was awarded the Virtuti Militari cross by Józef Piłsudski on 22 November 1920. Between the World Wars, it was the third largest city in Poland (after Warsaw and Łódź) and the seat of the Lwów Voivodeship with a large Jewish population. In the Soviet invasion of Poland (1939), the Soviet Union took Lviv (Lwów), which became the capital of the Lviv Oblast.

    In the initial stage of Operation Barbarossa (late June 1941), Lviv was taken by the Germans. This was a period of massacres in Galicia.

    On 30 June 1941, Yaroslav Stetsko declared in Lviv the Government of an independent Ukraine. This was done hastily without approval of the Germans, however Galicia was subsequently incorporated into the General Government as Distrikt Galizien.

    L'viv, Ukraine
    L'viv, Ukraine

    As Germany viewed Galicia as already aryanized and civilized, the non-Jewish Galicians escaped the full extent of German intentions in comparison to many other Ukrainians who lived further eastward. Despite the more lenient extent of German control over the majority of the Galician population, the Jewish Galicians were deported to concentration camps. The Soviets retook Lviv in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive of July, 1944. Lviv and its population suffered greatly from the two world wars as the wars were fought across the local geography causing major collateral damage and disruption. Because of immigration, in part, it recovered somewhat faster between the wars than comparable cities.

    Lviv quickly became the shopping and economic center of the region. A favorable geographical location of the city on the crossroad of important trading ways from Western Europe to Asia and from Scandinavia to Byzantium caused a rapid economic growth. Geographical position and natural resources attracted lots of different nationalities: Tatars, Germans, Hungarians, Poles, Lithuanians, Austrians and Swedes.

    During many centuries they’ve been bringing their culture, religion and traditions here. That’s why Lviv architecture is a mixture of Gothic and Baroque, the Renaissance and Roman styles, Rococo and Empire styles, Modern Eclecticism and Constructivism. However, during all these periods the Ukrainian culture remained predominant in Lviv.

    Lviv celebrated its 750th anniversary in September 2006.

    Economy review

    L'viv University
    L'viv University

    Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine and is growing rapidly. It is an important industrial centre of Ukraine. Lviv became known as a city of technological innovation, especially after the invention of kerosene and a kerosene lamp.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, businesses relating to the production of consumer goods and food industries, as well as factories producing building materials prevailed in the Lviv economy. However, the financial capital was concentrated mainly in the hands of Poles, the Austrians and the Jews. There were only a few Ukrainian businessmen in the region. At that time, Ukrainians formed the majority of the population of Lviv region but were mostly engaged in agricultural production and processing. In 1920-1930, new industries started to develop in the region: tool-making and machine building, printing, woodworking and oil refinery.

    There are many street vendors of food, books, clothes, traditional cultural items and tourist gifts in Lviv. There are also many restaurants and shops, some of which sell expensive western-made goods.

    In an interesting mixture of the past and present, peasants from the countryside sell their goods beside a cell phone shop in a medieval building.

    Banking and money trading are an important part of the economy, with many banks and exchange offices throughout the city.

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