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Interesting Facts Lviv

    Ivan Fedorov published the first eastern-slavic alphabet in 1574 in Lviv. There were lots of printing-houses in the city, big professional and small amateurish, which were called «kurnyk». By the beginning of the World War II there were about 300 periodicals.

    Persian carpets made in Lviv production were valued sometimes even more than originals!

    1776 – First newspaper in Ukraine " Gazett d'Leopol " was published in Lviv.

    1873 – one of the oldest museums in Europe was founded in Lviv – Nature Museum.

    1874 – first Ukrainian secondary school (gymnasium) was opened in Lviv.

    1882 - 1883 – the first Institute of Geography in Ukraine was opened in Lviv.

    1894, July the 14th – first football history match in Ukraine was between teams from Lviv and Krakow. The match was played in Lviv.

    1897 – the biggest art museum of Ukraine – European Art Gallery (now Lviv Art Gallery) was opened in Lviv. There are more than 50 thousand works of art.

    End of 19th c. – The first luminescent street lamps in Ukraine appeared on Teatralna Street in Lviv.

    Beginning of the 20th c. – Lviv was the only city in the world where the residences of three Catholic archbishops were: Rome-Catholic, Greek-Catholic and Armenian-Catholic.

    1900 – according to the project of the architecture Zigmund Gorgolyevs’kyi, one of the most beautiful opera houses in Europe was built – Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre.

    1905 – first Ukrainian National Museum was opened.

    1905 – first Ukrainian Art trade fair was held in Lviv.

    20-30th of the 20th c. – Lviv is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe, counting the amount of parks and gardens per square kilometer.

    1929 – first ice hockey team in Ukraine was created in Lviv - CT “Ukraine”. The goalkeeper M. Skrypiy was one of the first in the world to use a protective goalkeeper mask, which he made out of a Polish soldier’s helmet!

    1932 – the biggest organ in Ukraine was made in Czech and placed in Maria Magdalena Castle in Lviv.

    May 1951 – Lviv bus factory produced the first buses in Ukraine.

    1975 – the first architectural reserve in Ukraine was created in Lviv, which combined the whole area of the medieval core of the city.

    1981 – the first and only Arms Museum in Ukraine and in the former Soviet Union was founded in Lviv in the building of the City Arsenal.

    May 14-15, 1999 – Lviv became the only Ukrainian city, to welcome nine leaders of states simultaneously, during the Summit of Heads of States of Eastern and Central Europe.

    Culture and Food

    L'viv Coffee Shop
    L'viv Coffee Shop

    Like everywhere else during the dark ages epoch, the basis of menu was grain, cereals and vegetables. Meat was quite expensive, so the rich citizen ate it 1-2 times per week. Fish has been used more widely and was a meat substitute, especially during fasts, which were taking more than half of the year. It could sound strange nowadays, that Lviv has been getting great income from trading salted fish. There were many private fishponds in suburbs. But the city was a mediator in this business as it was controlling fish quality.

    Among the long list of Lviv goods only two (!) had a quality guarantee – a city stamp: blocks of beeswax and tubs with the salted fish. It was a great misfortune for a merchant to have even one bad fish! Bread was very popular in Lviv. There were separate workshops of bakers of white and dark bread. Vegetables like cabbage, beets, cucumbers, garlic and onions were very popular in Lviv as well.

    Before the epoch of crusades nearly the whole of Europe did not know about spices (pepper, nutmeg, saffron, cinnamon, and others). Meals were seasoned by saltpetre, which was considerably cheaper than salt. During dark ages salt was an expensive product, as there were just a few salt deposits for all Europe.

    Apparently, the old Ukrainian saying “accidentally scatter salt on the table, floor, etc.”, which means to have a fight or a quarrel, is somehow connected with this fact. Crusades acquainted Europeans with spices, but the roads by which they were brought to the West were blocked by Turks. Therefore no wonder that an ordinary black pepper cost twice the price of gold on the markets of Western Europe. By now you might ask: and what does Lviv have to do with it? So the answer is: Lviv was one of a few cities, through which spices among other so-called Eastern goods like jewels, high-quality Indian and Persian cold steel, Chinese silk, Indian muslins and Persian brocade were getting into Europe.

    Lviv had, like they were talking that time, an exclusive “storage” right of the eastern goods. It was the system of laws and statements, which looked like the following: all eastern goods would have to be sold only in Lviv, only to Lviv citizens and only at those prices, which were set by Lviv. Violation of this “storage” right was punished by confiscation of the caravan. It is easy to understand that some of Lviv merchants have concentrated a lot of expensive goods, which later were re-sold to the West with a great profit.

    Lviv cooks were making different kinds of gravies and sauces.

    Sugar in Lviv, as well as in Europe, was very rare. It was brought from Asia, and later from America. Therefore honey was widely spread and used. Food of the majority of Lviv dwellers was poor and monotonous: borsch, porridge (oatmeal, buckwheat, rye) with hemp or flax oil, fish, and sometimes a piece of cheap meat.

    Great attention was paid to drinks in Lviv.

    It is possible to say that people were drinking more than eating, which was typical for that time. Lviv citizens had the exclusive rights to produce and sell “horilka” (vodka) in a radius of three miles from the city center. At the beginning they were producing a small amount of it and it was very expensive, but later horilka production increased. “Tsytvarna” horilka was considered the best; “ganusova” was just good. “Sugar” and “adamashkova” were the most expensive. “Ginger” and “cinnamon” horilka / vodka was very popular. But horilka / vodka consumption was low in Lviv, mostly it was produced for sale outside of the city.

    Preferences were given to wines: Greek, Hungarian, Italian, and Spanish, which were brought to Lviv in big amounts. They were also drinking wine of their own production. Some vineyards were growing on the place of the modern Lysenko Street. Grapes were of a low quality, because of the wrong soil and lack of sun, but it was ok for a homemade wine.

    Like in all Slavic lands, honey was also very popular in Galychyna among all those who loved “entertaining” drinks. Ordinary bee honey was cooked with vodka with the addition of berries. Ready vodka-honey drink was poured out in tubs, which were buried underground otherwise the hoops could burst. It was kept underground to mature for several years and after that it was possible to pour it into bottles.

    But no doubt, the most popular drink in Lviv is beer. It is possible to judge about its quality by the fact that it was exported to such a beer-loving country as Bavaria. Beer was transported there in six weeks by oxen and it wasn’t getting bad!

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