Lviv holds the status of tourist mecca in Ukraine for many years. The narrow winding streets, famous chocolate and coffee, spirit of the old times and city's undeniable charm lure in thousands each year. What if you've seen it all? There are some unexpected places that Lviv has up its sleeve.
Щось Цiкаве ("Something Interesting") Art Gallery
This place is hidden away in one of the downtown's patios. Founded in 2011 by art association "Prostir", Щось Цiкаве stays the only open-air art gallery in Lviv. Here young photographers and artists present their works on exhibitions and even run workshops. Hand-made shop full of wonderful trinkets and acoustic concerts is one more thing you can enjoy here. The building which patio belongs to was built in the beginning of 17th century, on the place of even older gothic stone building that dates back to 11th century.
Address: 13, Ploshcha Rynok
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One of the lesser known sightseeing spots in Lviv is what you see when you follow Kalicha Hora street in the Halytskyi district. It was built during 1850-56 and consists of four circular towers, as well as barracks. Citadel was frequently used throughout history. First, it was a stop for Russian garrison in 1914-15, then it became a center of bloodbath fights between polish army and Sich kossaks. During WWII, Citadel served as a prison for POWs, and its barracks took in soldiers. Nowadays one of the towers stores books of Vasyl Stefanyk Scientific Library fund.
Address: 14, Akademika Kolessy street
Young Spectator's Theatre Patio
Old dolls, huge butterflies, masks and brooms – all those decorations were carefully turned into a massive art application after they lived their life on scene. The theatre's staff decided to give them a new life in the patio, and Bulgarian street artists Nikolay Bozhinov and Victoria Georgieva added their touch to the wall of fame. One more art object located here is bunch of palms, knitted from colorful yarn. Its author Bozhena Horodnytska presented her work in 2014.
Address: 11, Hnatiuka street
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This Ukrainian relative of Vienna Majolikahaus, a famous Austrian modern building projected by Otto Vagner, is located in downtown Lviv. Façade of the building is decorated with grazed majolika, hence the name. It depicts curious flower motifs, among which a keen eye will spot royal lily, and plant ornaments. Apart from this, Majolikahaus is recognizable thanks to its flat façade and window slits. It was built in 1907 for Isaac Hersh Sandal and was divided into trading and living parts. First floor was taken by a Japanese coffee-shop, and the second occupied by apartments.
Address: 5, Lesia Kurbasa street
Lost Toys Patio
It's not a secret that the most intricate gems are found by those who seek. Keeping your curiosity and peeking into patios of the city is the right spirit when it comes to unexpected discoveries. This patio is a real museum, founded by Vasyl Hlushkovskyi for his grandchildren. Hundreds of plush toys, transformers, garden dwarf figures, kid bicycles, globes and even a rusty merry-go-round all make up an exhibition of a local childhood. Tourists sometimes add their trinkets to curious art-object.
Address: 3, Kniazia Leva street
Lviv Kopalnia Kavy
Literally translated as "coffee mine", this place firmly believes that coffee is a gem to be extracted carefully and tasted longingly. While Lviv Kopalnia Kavy is a branch of cafes, this particular one carries historical value. It is located in a house where Iaroslav Stetsko declared Ukrainian State Act on the 30th of June, 1941, which stated Ukraine's independence. The café takes up the space of the patio and is very light due to the transparent ceiling. Worry not, it is always pleasantly warm here. Moreover, a cup of hot chocolate and live music that can be heard here almost every evening definitely help warming up.
Address: 10, Ploshcha Rynok
Sometimes you don't need a time machine to go back and see the period of your liking. This is exactly the case – dwellers of one of numerous Lviv's patios decided to make a museum out of their shared space. Here you can go "Back to USSR" with the help of communist leaders portraits, old dolls, suitcases, paintings and classical Soviet motivation posters that surround everyone who comes in.
Address: 2, Kniazia Leva street
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Lviv is a city for the curious souls, who aren't afraid to let go of themselves and let their soul wander. Sometimes letting the guidebook lay on the table in your hotel room is the best decision you can make, and make an adventure out of the usual trip.
Photo sources: main picture by @elizabeth_ua_ from Lviv Facebook Page, Щось Цiкаве, Lviv Kopalnia Kavy Facebook pages, lviv.vgorode.ua, uk.wikipedia.org, foursquare.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.