A couple of days in Lviv

A couple of days in Lviv

This city located in the western part of Ukraine now is called the second capital of the country. Lviv has long and complicated history but it is hardly possibly to over-estimate its influence on cultural and political life of the country. I would like to share my impressions about the city of Lion with you.

Lviv had different names and was part of numerous states and empires. Lwów was the territory of Poland and later it belonged to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Lemberg was part of Austrian and later of Austro-Hungarian Empires. After World War I Lviv was in West Ukrainian People's Republic; then it belonged to Poland again; and afterwards it was within the Soviet Union. In addition, both the Swedes and the Ottoman Turks made unsuccessful attempts to conquer the city.


Lviv was founded in 1256 by King Daniel of Galicia in the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia and was named in honor of his son Lev (lion). The toponym may be translated into English as Leo's lands or Leo's City (hence the Latin name Leopolis). This is what you can read in Wikipedia.

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If you want to feel the city you should take the excursions and also walk a lot. Svobody avenue (Freedom avenue) is the main street of the city and together with Rynok square (Market square) they are the main touristic places of Lviv. Here you can choose some excursions, visit souvenir shops, try famous Lviv sweets and coffee.

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But if you go for excursion with the famous Lviv guide, journalist and historian Igor Lilio you will learn a lot of interesting things that cannot be easily found. For example, I found out that King Daniel didn’t love the city much and presented it as a marriage gift to his son. But till now a monument to him stands in the center of the city. By the way, there is no crown on the King’s head but a kind of bandage. The point is that during the soviet period communist party leaders didn’t want to make the King very famous. They’ve been saying that king can’t wear the crown while sitting on a horse. Nevertheless, King Daniel is still sitting on his horse in the center of Lviv as the father of the city.

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You can take a walk around the city center and enjoy narrow streets with gorgeous churches, old buildings and cozy atmosphere. Opera theatre is a real pearl of the city. Here you can take a carriage with horses, have a lunch in one of many authentic restaurants and go shopping. If you are lucky to stay in Lviv for a couple of days and you have seen the center already you may visit High Hill Castle and Shevchenkivsky Park.

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Geologists say that Lviv is located in volcanic vent. This is the reason for a lot of hills. One of these hills is partially natural, partially artificial. It is the Hill of High Castle. Obviously, it was a proper place for observation of area around the city and it served as protection from enemies.

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When you are up there you can see a wonderful panorama of the city, especially if the weather is good. There are no cars, no noise around, just birds singing and some tourists chattering. You can orient better when you see the entire city from this height. If the weather is grey, thanks to fog and rain, Lviv seems so old and mystic.

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Shevchenkivsky Park is also a nice place for a walk. It is the historic open-air museum of Ukrainian household. Here you can see the houses of different ages and from different regions of Ukraine.

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You can enter the house, make pictures and visit some master classes to learn the art of handmade craft. Wooden churches over here are really impressive, as well as ancient houses. The landscape seams similar to the one of Carpathians. There are hills, area covered by forests and lake.

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You will be very hungry after such an interesting day. But be sure that it is impossible to starve in Lviv. The true Ukrainian cuisine is very tasty. You may try borsch as the first course, meat with potato garnishing could be chosen as the second one and syrnyk is the nice dessert. Syrnyk is really delicious, made of soft cheese, fruits and chocolate. By the way, Lviv is famous with its chocolate, strudels and coffee.

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At night you can go to the center and find some really nice places, pubs and restaurants with live music, nice cuisine and special atmosphere: Darvin, Chorny Kit (Black cat), Bartolomey, Terrace, and authentic Dzyga, Gasova Liampa, Kryivka, Amadeus and many others.

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If you want just to have a break you can sit in a street café, taste some wine with canapka (bruschetta) or drink flavored coffee.
And that moment you will realize that you can stay there for hours, just sitting with the glass of wine or with a cup of coffee, breathing the fresh air, watching people around. Lviv is really unforgettable city with its own way in the world history, unique, cozy and European. You will definitely find the reason to come back here again.

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Anna Vishtak


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