Lviv’s medieval urban topography was preserved virtually intact along with many fine Baroque and later buildings until nowadays. This unique ensemble puts Lviv’s historic center into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The city of Lviv was founded in the late Middle Ages on the territory, where a settlement had existed since the 5th and 6th centuries. It flourished as an administrative, religious and commercial center due to its favorable geographical position for trade and political development. Today, the surviving architectural and artistic heritage reflects a synthesis of Eastern European traditions influenced by those from Italy and Germany. Its historic center ensemble consists of two components: the primary area, encompassing the castle, its surrounding area and the city center, and a smaller area on St. Yuri’s Hill to the southwest.
Lviv’s historic center includes many distinct parts representing different stages in its development. The Vysokyi Zamok (High Castle) and Pidzamche (area around the castle) are the main and oldest part of the town, dating to the 5th century. It retains its original topography with a hill, on which the castle sits, and lowlands, where a system of streets and squares developed between the 13th and 17th centuries. Evidence of occupation by separate ethnic communities is seen in the surviving buildings, including a mosque, a synagogue and a variety of religious buildings from the Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic churches.
The Seredmistia, or city center, developed in the 14th century and now features well-preserved Eastern European urban buildings, including many monasteries and residences of the Renaissance and Baroque traditions, as well as parks built on the original site of the medieval fortifications and more recent buildings, dating to the last two centuries.
Read: A couple of days in Lviv
Located on a mountain plateau to the southwest of the medieval city is the Ensemble of St. Yuri (St. George's Cathedral). This complex was the heart of Halychyna Church Metropolis and features buildings primarily in Baroque style with a high artistic value.
The surviving buildings and ancient street pattern, illustrating the history of Lviv with its diverse ethnic and religious influences, make an important part of UNESCO World Heritage List.