Sightseeing in Lviv
Lviv is an extremely attractive tourist area of Ukraine. It is a city of magnificent architectural landmarks: impressive temples and ancient squares, cozy narrow streets, museums and galleries housing artistic masterpieces of different historical epochs. Carefully preserving the historical heritage, citizens of Lviv always try to demonstrate their keeping-with-the-times. It was in Lviv where traditional celebration of the holidays has received the new format of various themed festivals. The creative spirit of the carved in stones centuries’ mystery is as if invisibly breathing everywhere in Lviv. This city produces the majority of new art and modern culture trends in the country, as well as the ideas of various interesting entertainment.
On the 28th of April 2009, Lviv has been recognized as the cultural capital of Ukraine. This status award was given based on expert research of The State service of tourism and resorts and “The Council on tourism and resorts issues”. The main reasons of such obtaining is the conducting of more than 100 festivals annually, 60 museums, 100 churches of different confessions, and the big tourist interest in Lviv. Among the foreigners, the biggest amount of tourists come from Poland, Germany, Austria, Belarus, USA and Russia. Due to the rich cultural programs, developed infrastructure (now Lviv has more than 8 000 hotel rooms, over 700 cafes and restaurants, free WI-Fi zones in the city center, good connection with many countries of the world) Lviv has the biggest tourist potential in Ukraine.
The city is known as a center of art, literature, music and theater. Nowadays, the indisputable evidences of the city cultural richness is a big number of theaters, concert halls, creative unions, and also high number of many artistic activities. Temples, frescos, paintings, traditions, feasts, festivals – all these are the heirdom of the past and the product of the present geniuses, which can be felt only in Lviv. It’s no wonder that 100 different festivals are listed on the Lviv Calendar of Events annually. Such Lviv events were includes in the top 100 list:
- Publishers’ Forum
- “Have a cup of coffee in Lviv“
- Chocolate Festival
- “Golden Lion” International Theater Festival
- Alfa Jazz Fest
- Batyar’s Holiday (Rascal Day)
- Christmas Festival
- Doughnut Festival
- Beer Festival
- Cheese and wine Festival in Lviv
Top 12 Lviv attractions
1. Rynok Square has been the center of political, public, cultural, and commercial life of the city for 500 years; it is the heart of Lviv, the setting of the historic beginning of the Europeanization of Ukraine. Surrounding it are about fifty unique architectural monuments dating back to the 16-20th centuries.
2. The Lviv Opera House is an architectural gem of Lviv, built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1901, and one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe. Constructed at the beginning of the 20th century, designed by architect Zygmunt Gorgolewski, the Grand Theatre in Lviv has been compared to the Paris and Vienna opera houses. The hall of the Lviv Opera House is remarkable for its perfect acoustics. On offer are performances by celebrated opera and ballet troupes of Ukraine as well as distinguished guest performers from abroad. The Lviv Opera House is the host venue for the recently revived Vienna Balls.
3. Virmenska str. (Armenian Street). The Armenian community, one of the oldest in Lviv, had formed over a period of many years a centre for its national life in Lviv. Its unique architecture portrays the original spirit of this Eastern Christian culture.
4. The Palace of Counts Potockis is a majestic edifice in French Neorenaissance style of late 19th century. The imposing palace is decorated with reliefs, moldings, murals and stained-glass windows. The Palace of Potockis is a bright example of mature historicism architecture and one of the most interesting architectural landmarks of Lviv. It was designed by French architect Louis d’Overnu at the order of governor of Halychyna and Lodomeria Count Alfred II Joseph Potocki (1817-1889).
5. The Chapel of the Boim family is a famous and very unique late Renaissance monument; it has no analogues, neither in Ukraine nor in the rest of Europe. The facade of the chapel is entirely covered in stone carvings featuring the Passion and the figures of Saints Peter and Paul. The interior is decorated with similar splendor. As was tradition at the time, regular people-modelled for multi-figured compositions. Hence we can view the faces of real people of times past.
6. The Dominican Church, now the Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Eucharist, is a magnificent monument of the late Baroque; it is adorned with original sculptures. The Dominican Monastery was founded here in the 13th century upon the request of the wife of Ukrainian Prince Lev Danylovych – the Hungarian Princess Constance, a Catholic, who missed her religion being far from home. A Gothic church stood here from the 15th until the middle of the 18th century. In 1748, the Gothic Dominican Church was dismantled because it was in bad disrepair. In 1748-1764, a new church resembling the Karlskirche in Vienna was built in the late Baroque style. At the time tradition required that everything valuable from the previous church be preserved. As a result, today we can view the alabaster gravestone dating back to the 16th century – a reminder of the old Gothic church that vanished 260 years ago.
7. The Bernardine Monastery (now the Greek Catholic Church of St. Andrew) is an impressive monument in the Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque styles dating to 1600-1630s. This is a fortified medieval monastery. The Monastery of the Bernardines (the Polish version of the Franciscan order) was built outside the city walls; that is why one sees solid, high fortifications well-preserved on the northern and eastern sides. The church interior is adorned with numerous carved altars of the 18th century, and its walls bear original frescos dating from the same period.
8. The Cathedral of St. George. The Greek Catholic Archbishop’s Cathedral of Saint George – magnificent Rococo architectural ensemble dating back to the 18th century (comprising a church, bell tower, metropolitan’s palace and capitulary buildings) dominates the high hill over Lviv, beautifully blending into the urban landscape. An earlier church with a cave monastery was built on this hill in the 13th century by Halychyna-Volyn Prince Lev Danylovych for his uncle Vasylko, who decided to withdraw from secular concerns and dedicate his life to serving God. The Cathedral of St. George is a sacred symbol for Ukraine – a bridge uniting the great achievements of the Christian culture and the spirituality of two branches of the Church: the Byzantine East and the Latin West.
9. The Italian Courtyard – Kornyakt Palace (6 Rynok Square) represents an extremely valuable Renaissance monument dating to 1580; it was the palace of the wealthiest citizen in the whole history of Lviv – the merchant Constantine Kornyakt. Later, it was a Royal Mansion: the property and residence of Polish King Jan Sobieski. Inside the building at the second floor works an exhibition of Lviv History Museum.
10. The High Castle Park (Uzhhorodska and Knyazha Streets): an old shady park on the hill towering above the city, ruins of an old castle, the viewing platform, and breathtaking sceneries. The highest hill in Lviv (413 meters above the sea level and approximately 130 meters above the level of suburbs) was built artificially in the end of the 19th century in honor of the Union of Lublin. And so Lviv obtained a viewing platform the likes of which can not be found elsewhere in Europe. The views from this platform will not leave anyone who dared go up there indifferent. The stone lion which used to stand near the City Hall is now on guard at the foot of the artificial barrow. This lion is more than 400 years old. A fragment of the wall of the castle which stood on the hill since the 14th century can be found nearby.
11. City Arsenal is the fortification of XVI century, Now in Ukraine is the only museum of weapons. Once the main entrance to the city arsenal was decorated with the inscription: “Happy Town, which in time of peace is caring about its future security.” Lviv, which was lying at the intersection of major trade routes of East and West, has always been a tasty morsel for all kind of invaders. After the construction of the two castles and fortification line of defense was completed, there was an urgent need for the construction of city arsenal, where had to be manufactured and stored weapons for the defense of the city.
12. Museum «Lychakivsky Tsvyntar» (Lychakiv Cemetery). The cemetery has been classified as a historic and cultural museum and heritage preserve; it occupies a total area of 40 hectares. It was officially founded in 1786 by the new Austrian government in Lemberg (Lviv), which was then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. The oldest tombstone in the cemetery dates back to 1675. The Lychakiv Cemetery is also famous for some 23 beautifully adorned chapels and shrines, which belonged to wealthy Lviv families.