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Facts and figures

 

 

 

LVIV (Ukrainian: , L’viv [ljviw]; Polish: Lwów; German: Lemberg; Russian: , L'vov;  is a major city in western Ukraine.

 

It is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of Ukraine. In 2001, it had 725,000 inhabitants, of whom 86 % were Ukrainians, 9 % Russians (down from 16 %in 1989) and 1 %Poles. A further 200,000 people commuted daily from suburbs.

 

The city has many industries and institutions of higher education such as the Lviv University and the Lviv Polytechnic. It has a philharmonic orchestra and The Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. The historic city centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lviv celebrated its 750th anniversary in September 2006.

 

For many centuries it was contested: first it belonged to the Kievan Rus', since 1340 to the Kingdom of Poland, and subsequently to the Polish half of the Commonwealth. In 1772 it became part of Austria, and after the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city belonged to the Second Polish Republic. As a result of the joint Nazi-Soviet attack on Poland, Lviv was taken by the USSR. Now, it belongs to the independent Ukraine.

 

 

In 1772, following the First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the city, known in German as Lemberg, became the capital of the Austrian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. After Poland was reconstituted following World War I, Lviv was the centre of ethnic-political controversy and tension between nationalistic Austro-Germans, Poles, Jews, and Ukranians, for a short time becoming the capital of the Western Ukrainian Republic, eventually it was conquered by the newly reestablished Poland. After World War II Poland's borders were relocated generally towards the west and the city fell to the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the U.S.S.R. it became part of the newly independent Ukraine—for which it currently serves as the administrative centre of Lviv Oblast, and designated as its own raion (district) within that oblast.

 

 


 Geography


 

Location

Lviv is on the edge of the Roztochia Upland, about 70 km from the Polish border and about 160 km (100 miles) from the eastern Carpathian Mountains. The average altitude of Lviv is 296 m above sea level, although it has many hills. Its highest point is the Vysokyi Zamok (High Castle), 409 m above sea level. This has a commanding view of the historic city centre with its distinctive green-domed churches and intricate architecture.

The old walled city was at the foothills of the High Castle on the banks of the river Poltva. In the 13th century, the river was used to transport goods. In the early 20th century, it was covered over in areas where it flows through the city. The river flows directly beneath the central street of Lviv, Freedom Avenue (Prospect Svobody) and the famous Opera House.

 

Climate

Lviv's climate is moderate continental. The average temperatures are −4°C (27°F) in January and +20°C (65 °F) in June. Average annual rainfall is 660 mm (26 inches), with a maximum in summer. Cloud coverage averages 66 days per year.

 

 


 Transport


 

Buses

The public bus network is represented by mini-buses. They are called marshrutki, and they go all over the city. Marshrutki have no fixed stops or timetable but are cheap and fast. This kind of transport is so popular and convenient that mini-buses are often overcrowded during rush-hours. The marshrutki also run on suburban lines to most suburbs and nearby towns, e.g. to Shehyni at the Polish border. The price of a ride in marshrutka within the city is 1.50 UAH (September 2008) not depending on a distance.

 

Tramways

The first tramway lines were opened on 5 May 1880 and the last horse-powered line was electrified on 31 May 1894. In 1922 the tramways were switched to driving on the right-hand side. After World War II and the annexation of the city by the Soviet Union, several lines were closed but most of infrastructure was preserved. The tracks are narrow-gauge, unusual for the Soviet Union, but explained by the fact that the system was built while the city was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and needs to run on narrow medieval streets in the centre of town.

The Lviv tramway now runs about 220 cars on 75 km of track, most of which is in very poor condition. The trams are in fair condition but can be very full during rush hours.

 

Trolleybuses

After the war and expulsion of most of the population, the city grew rapidly, due to evacuees returning from Russia and the Soviet Government's vigorous development of heavy industry. This included transfer of entire factories from the Urals and other distant places to the newly "liberated" (acquired) territories of the USSR, including Lviv.

The city centre tramway lines were replaced with trolleybuses on 27 November 1952. Later, new lines were opened to the blocks of flats at the city outskirts. The network now runs 200 trolleybuses, mostly of the 1980s 14Tr type. In 2006-2008 ten modern low-floor trolleybuses built by the Lviv Bus Factory were purchased.

 

Railways

Modern Lviv remains a hub on which nine railways converge, providing local and international services. Lviv railway is one of the oldest in Ukraine. The first train arrived to Lviv arrived on November 4, 1861. The building of the main Lviv Railway Station was bilt in 1904 and was considered one of the best in Europe from the architectural and from the technical aspect as well. Several trains cross the nearby Polish-Ukrainian border (mostly via Przemyśl). There are good connections to Slovakia (Košice) and Hungary (Budapest). Many routes have overnight trains with sleeping compartments. Lviv railway is often called a main gateway from Ukraine to Europe.

 

 

Airport

Lviv International Airport (LWO) is 6 km from the city centre.

 

 


 

Architecture
 

Lviv's historic churches, synagogues, buildings and relics date from the 13th century. In recent centuries, it was spared some of the invasions and wars that destroyed other Ukrainian cities. Its architecture reflects various European styles and periods. After the fires of 1527 and 1556 Lviv lost most of its gothic-style buildings, but it retains many buildings in renaissance, baroque, and classic styles. There are works by artists of the Vienna Secession, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco styles.

 

 

The buildings have many stone sculptures and carvings, particularly on large doors, hundreds of years old. The remains of old churches dot the central cityscape. Some three- to five-storey buildings have hidden inner courtyards and grottoes in various states of repair. Some cemeteries are of interest, for example the Lychakivskiy Cemetery, where Polish elites were buried by centuries. Leaving the central area, the architectural style changes radically as Soviet-era high-rise blocks dominate. In the centre, the Soviet era is reflected mainly in a few modern-style national monuments and sculptures.

 

Every day the book market takes places around the monument to Ivan Fedorov. He was a Russian typographer in the 16th century who fled Moscow and found a new home in Lviv. New ideas came to Lviv during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the 19th century, many publishing houses, newspapers and magazines were established. Diverse literature written in Lviv contributed to Austrian, Ukrainian, Yiddish and Polish literature. Translation work took place between these diverse cultures, creating a truly unique European culture that transcended borders. The annual Lviv Book Fair continues this tradition.

 

Lviv's historic centre has been on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list since 1998. UNESCO gave the following reasons for its selection:

Criterion II: In its urban fabric and its architecture, Lviv is an outstanding example of the fusion of the architectural and artistic traditions of eastern Europe with those of Italy and Germany.

Criterion V: The political and commercial role of Lviv attracted to it a number of ethnic groups with different cultural and religious traditions, who established separate yet interdependent communities within the city, evidence for which is still discernible in the modern townscape.

 


 

Religion

From its establishment Lemberg was a city of religious variety and conflicts between different faiths. At one point over 60 churches existed in the city. The largest Christian churches have existed in the city since the 13th century. The three major Christian groups (the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv, the German-speaking and Polish Catholics, and the Armenian Church) have each had a diocesan seat in Lviv since the 16th century. In the 1700s the Orthodox community took their allegiance to the Pope in Rome and became the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. This bond was forcibly dissolved in 1946 by the Soviet authorities, while the Roman Catholic community was forced out by the expulsion of the Polish population. Since 1989 religious life in Lviv has experienced a revival.

Lviv is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lviv, the centre of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine and (until 21 August 2005) was the centre of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. About 35 per cent of religious buildings belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, 11.5 per cent to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, 9 per cent to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate and 6 per cent to the Roman Catholic Church.

Until 2005 Lviv was the only city with two Cardinals: Lubomyr Husar (UGCC) and Marian Jaworski (RCC).

In June 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the Latin Cathedral, St. George's Cathedral, and the Armenian Cathedral.

Lviv historically had a large and active Jewish community, as witnessed today by its synagogues. Until 1941 at least 45 synagogues and prayer houses existed. Even in the 16th century, two separate communities existed. One lived in today's old town, the other one in the Krakowskie Przedmieście. In the 19th century a more differentiated community started to spread out. Liberal Jews sought more cultural assimilation and spoke German and Polish. On the other hand, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews tried to retain the old traditions. Between 1941 and 1944 the Nazis in effect completely destroyed the centuries-old Jewish tradition of Lviv. Most synagogues were destroyed, the Jewish population forced into a ghetto, from which they were later transported into concentration camps where they were murdered.

Under the Soviet Union synagogues remained closed and were used as storage facilities or movie houses. Only since the fall of the Iron Curtain has the remainder of the Jewish community experienced a faint revival.

 

 


 Arts


The city was for years one of the most important cultural centers of Eastern Europe with such writers as Aleksander Fredro, Leopold Staff, Maria Konopnicka, Jan Kasprowicz living in Lviv.

 

The "Artes" Group

It was a young movement founded in 1929. Many of the artists studied in Paris and had travelled throughout in Europe. They worked and experimented in different areas of modern art: Futurism, Cubism, New Objectivity and Surrealism. A lot of cooperation took place between avant-garde musicians and authors. Altogether thirteen exhibitions by Artes took place in Warsaw, Kraków, Łódz and Lviv. The Nazi occupation put an end to this group. Otto Hahn was executed in 1942 in Lviv, Aleksander Riemer murdered in 1943 in Auschwitz. Henryk Streng and Margit Reich-Sielska were able to escape the Shoah. Most of the surviving members of Artes lived in Poland after 1945. Only Margit Reich-Sielska (1900–1980) and Roman Sielski (1903–1990) stayed in Soviet Lviv.

 

 

Theatre and opera

Lviv is historically strong on culture. In 1842 the Skarbek-Theatre was opened, making it the third largest theatre in Europe. In 1903 the sumptuous opera house (at that time called the City-Theatre) was opened, emulating the Vienna State Opera house. The house initially offered a changing repertoire such as classical dramas in German and Polish language, opera, operetta, comedy, and theatre. The opera house is named after the diva Salomea Krushelnytska, who worked here.

 

Museums and art galleries

First museum of Lviv was the Lubomirscy Museum, opened in 1827. It displayed a wide collection of art and historical objects, connected with history of Poland. In 1857 the Baworowski Library was founded, whose most precious books are now kept in Krakow. The most notable of the museums and art galleries are the National Gallery, the Museum of Religion (formerly the Museum of Atheism) and the National Museum (formerly the Museum of Industry).

 

Music

Lviv is the hometown of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 winner Ruslana, who has since become well known in Europe and the rest of the world.

Music and radio have a strong tradition and deep roots in Lviv. The classical pianist Mieczysław Horszowski (1892–1993) was born here. The opera diva Salomea Kruszelnicka in the 1920s to 1930s called Lviv her home. Adam Han Gorski (1940- ), considered a world class violinist, was born here. "Polish Radio Lwów" was a Polish radio station that went on-air on 15 January 1930. The programme proved very popular in Poland. Classical music and entertainment was aired, as well as lectures, readings, youth-programmes, news and liturgical services on Sunday.

Popular throughout Poland was the Comic Lviv Wave, a cabaret-revue with musical pieces. Jewish artists contributed a great part to this artistic activity. Composers such as Henryk Wars and songwriter Emanuel Szlechter, the actor Mieczysław Monderer and Adolf Fleischer ("Aprikosenkranz und Untenbaum") were working in Lviv. The most famous stars of the shows were Henrik Vogelfänger and Kazimierz Wajda, who together appeared as the comic duo "Szczepko and Tonko", who were similar to Laurel and Hardy.

After World War II, many of the Jewish artists and entertainers were either killed or fled; the Polish artists had to leave for the new Poland that had the Oder-Neisse Line and the Curzon Line as its frontiers as a result of the Yalta Conference.

 

 


 

 Prints and media

 

 

Starting in the 1900s a new movement started under with young authors from Eastern Europe. Young Jewish authors in particular were searching for a new identity through modern, Yiddish literature. In Lviv, a small neo-romantic group of authors formed around the lyricist Schmuel Jankev Imber. Small print offices produced collections of modern poems and short stories. Through emigration a large network was established.

A second, smaller group tried in the 1930s to create a connection between avantgarde art and Yiddish culture. Members of this group were Debora Vogel, Rachel Auerbach and Rachel Korn. The Shoah destroyed this movement violently. Debora Vogel was, amongst many other Yiddish authors, murdered by the Nazis in the 1940s.


 

Economy

 

 

Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine and is growing rapidly. It typifies a post-Soviet era developing city. It has problems with infrastructure and pollution, including heavy downtown car pollution on weekdays, some local corruption and irregularities in water supply (especially hot water).[citation needed]

According to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, the average salary in the Lviv Oblast is a little less than the average for Ukraine, which, in September 2006, was about 1000 UAH or roughly 200 USD.

In 2006, Ukraine's economic freedom was rated at 3.24, where a rating 1.0 is "freer" than a rating 5.0. According to the World Bank classification, Lviv is a lower middle-income city.

There are many street vendors of food, books, clothes, traditional cultural items and tourist gifts. There are many restaurants and shops, some of which sell expensive western-made goods.[citation needed]

In an interesting mixture of the past and present, peasants from the countryside sell their goods beside a cellphone shop in a medieval building.

Banking and money trading are an important part of the economy, with many banks and exchange offices throughout the city.

 

 


 Education


 Lviv is an important education centre of Ukraine. It is home to three major universities and a number of smaller schools of higher education. There are eight institutes of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, more than forty research institutes, three academies and eleven state-owned colleges. Another institute that was and is renowned in the region is the Lviv Polytechnic (in Polish: Politechnika Lwowska).

 

Universities and academia

Lviv University is one of the oldest in Central Europe. Its founding goes back as a Jesuit school in 1608. Its prestige greatly increased through the work of philosopher Kazimierz Twardowski (1866–1938), one of the founders of the Lwów-Warsaw School of Logic. This school of thought set benchmarks for academic research and education in Poland. Very well-known were the mathematicians Stefan Banach, Juliusz Schauder and Stanislaw Ulam, who turned Lviv in the 1930s into the "World Centre of Functional Analysis". Although the scientists faced many obstacles at the universities, their share in Lviv academia was very substantial.

 

Mathematics
Lviv is the home of the Scottish Café, where, in the 1930s and the early 1940s, Polish mathematicians from the Lwów School of Mathematics met and spent their afternoons discussing mathematical problems. Stanisław Ulam (later, a participant in the Manhattan Project and the proposer of the Teller-Ulam design of thermonuclear weapons), Stefan Banach (one of the founders of functional analysis), Hugo Steinhaus, Karol Borsuk, Kazimierz Kuratowski, Mark Kac, and many other famous mathematicians would gather there. The café, originally on Akamemichna, is now called the Desertniy Bar, and is located at 27, Taras Shevchenko Prospekt.


 

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