Apart from magnificent architecture and charming atmosphere, Lviv is also famous for numerous city legends. Most of these stories are about love, and it`s not surprising: in the ХVI-XVII centuries Lviv was well-known as a city with girls so amazingly beautiful that men completely lost their heads. Maybe, each of these legends contains a grain of truth as well as a little flavor of fantasy that makes a story way more exciting.
Lviv Romeo and Juliette
In 1593, rich Italian merchant Romualdo Mikellini came to Lviv and met Pelagiya Krasovska, a young and very pretty daughter of a Ukrainian tradesman. They fell in love, and despite the fact that Pelagiya was an Orthodox, and Romualdo belonged to Catholic Church, the parents of the girl blessed their marriage, impressed by the power of the couple`s love. However, there was no happy end after all anyway. Pelagiya died during plague epidemic, and her husband, who was looking after her and also became infected, followed her to the grave after a short time. Before his death, Romualdo ordered two similarly looking gravestones, the first of which was installed on a Catholic graveyard, and the second – on Orthodox one.
There was a half meter of ground and a fence between two graves of the dead loving couple, but the both gravestones had the same phrase written on them: “What is bounded by Love, cannot be separated even by God”. In modern Lviv dwellers and tourists can see a sculpture symbolizing this sadly beautiful story.
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War for the Bride in Dominican Church
In the middle of the XVI century, Dominican square in Lviv became a real battlefield, and the battle was held for a bride. This bride was Halshka from Ostrog, also known as Princess Elizaveta Ostrogska, the most beautiful and rich heritress of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of that period. The woman was married to Łukasz Górka, voivode of Poznań, but she did not love her husband, so she escaped from him together with her mother and was hiding in Lviv in Dominican Church. Łukasz did not want to let his wife go: he started a real military siege of the Church, which paralyzed city life of Lviv for several weeks. Meanwhile, Halshka got married to her real love – prince Simeon Slutsky. However, Łukasz got into the Church and forced Halshka to go with him. He took her to Szamotuły city in Poland, where Halshka was imprisoned for more than 10 years in a tower. She could not forget her beloved Simeon and felt desperate, so she was always wearing mournful black gown. Dwellers of Szamotuły called her the Black Princess. People say that Halshka`s soul still comes to our world in the guise of a bird.
King`s Love at First Sight
In 1634, Polish king Władysław IV came to Lviv and occasionally met Jadwiga Łuszkowska, the daughter of an impoverished merchant, who was living near Rynok square. Amazing beauty of the young lady stole the king`s heart right away. Władysław took Jadwiga with him to Warsaw, perturbing Polish nobles and social circuits. The religious authorities were sure that Jadwiga put a spell on the king. In the end, Władysław was forced to marry Austrian princess Cecilia Renata, and Jadwiga became the wife of a Lithuanian nobleman under the pressure of Polish gentry. But the love of Władysław and Jadwiga was so strong that despite their official marriages they used every chance to meet until the king died in the arms of his beloved Jadwiga.
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In 1518, a tragic event took place in Lviv: Armenian man Ivashko and Polish girl Sophia were put to death for their love by the decision of Lviv judges. The only thing that the couple was blamed for was the fact that they belonged to different Christian confessions: Ivashko was Gregorian, and Sophia was Catholic. Unfortunately, in that time it was considered as a heavy sin. Death sentence was executed in a very cruel manner: the lovers, tied with their backs to each other and doused with resin, were holding unfired torches. When Ivashko and Sophia reached the place of sentence execution (supposedly Strat mountain in Lviv), torturers made them fire their torches, literally making the couple kill themselves. Polish king, who learned about this afterwards, became very angry. He ordered to pay a large compensation to Armenian community. However, no one knows if this money was paid or not.
Lviv Romance Triangle
Hanna Vovchkivna was one of the most charming young girls of Lviv in the end of the XVI century. She had numerous admirers, but paid attention to only two of them: local Ukrainian nobleman Pavlo Olenyk and young Italian from Florence – Urban Ubaldini. Pavlo and Urban were invited to a marriage, where both guys asked Hanna for a dance at the same time. She accepted Urban`s offer and came to dance with him. Deeply insulted Pavlo slapped Ubaldini in the face, and then hot-blooded Italian took out his dagger and stabbed Pavlo in the belly. People carried dying Pavlo to the house of his parents, and Urban was arrested and appeared before the court in Lviv Statehouse. According to the laws, Ubaldini was supposed to be sentenced to death, but he was saved by efforts of Lviv women. The wives of Lviv judges, impressed by dramatic love story, picketed the court, demanding to remove penalty from the young Italian. Pavlo, who was already on his deathbed, wrote a letter of forgiveness to Urban, and took all the blame for the incident. After Pavlo had passed away, Urban was released, and then he married his beloved.
So many Lviv legends tell love stories, and it is no surprise: unique spirit of this magic city arouses the most beautiful and strong feelings in people`s hearts.
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