Lviv is probably the only place in Ukraine that I really wanted to visit. You see, I come from Eastern Ukraine where culture is influenced by Russia. The language we speak is Russian. On the other hand, Lviv is western Ukraine. It is influenced by Poland, Hungary and other western countries. People there speak Ukrainian. Lviv is also the most touristy city of Ukraine, so I had to go there…
Lviv leaves mixed feelings. The city centre has a truly amazing old architecture. However as soon as you take tram to escape it, it turns into a typical boring Soviet-style city. Pay attention to the horizon.
This old architecture, unfortunately, isn’t achievement of Ukraine. It’s called Old Town and it was built by previous inhabitants who were mostly Austro-Hungarian people.
This gift, which they left us, Ukrainians, is not really appreciated. It hurts me when I see graffitis on old walls, doors, or anywhere in the city centre. I am not nitpicking, they are everywhere.
Soviets also didn’t appreciate what Austro-Hungarians built. It is a real crime to build something like what you can see on the left next to something like what you see on the right.
A lot buildings and architectural whistles in Old Town badly need maintenance. If you don’t come too close, everything look amazing. Like this palace.
But if you look down at your feet, ugly details will start showing up.
Modern Ukrainian culture leaves no chances for survival. Designers of this bench were probably imagining that it would be used by poets to write books, musicians to compose music, dreamers who dream about their love, students who prepare for their exams… Instead, it is used by alcoholics.
I actually managed to find them. How dare you, Mr Bear!
Yeah, I managed to find all of the perpetrators. How can you explain yourselves, guys?
Despite anything, Lviv is packed with amazing architecture. It is home for many architectural wonders.
It’s not just the facade. The insides of some buildings were created with extra love.
Lviv has a lot of Catholic presence, which is not so common for Ukraine. That’s why you can see a lot of bas-reliefs related to religion, and especially Catholicism.
It’s not just on the walls. You need to lift your head up and look into the skies to see everything.
So yeah, Lviv is the centre of tourism in modern Ukraine. Old Town is full of tourists from all over the world. Polish children even organise field trips to the city.
The shops have a lot to offer. Lviv has its own identity. It’s proud of numerous things. For example, coffee and chocolate.
It’s proud of beer (it says “pivo” in Ukrainian).
And finally, it’s proud of lions! Lviv in Ukrainian roughly means “the city of lions”.
Old Town never sleeps. There are always restaurants that are ready to serve clients any time, any day.
There are always people who entertain.
There are a lot of thematic restaurants all around Old Town. One restaurant won’t let you in if you don’t know their password. Another restaurant serves only Jewish food. When you are ready to pay your check, you are supposed to bargain about the price of the meals you consumed. Another restaurant will make you pay astronomical prices for their meals unless you ask a “90% discount”.
You would need 3-4 days to cover most of the Old Town.
It’s very convenient that there are tram lines connecting Old Town with the rest of Lviv.
I realise that most of what I showed is about Old Town. You may be wondering now, what about New Town, the rest of Lviv? Well, I did manage to explore it a few times and unfortunately there’s nothing worthy of your attention there. Soviet Lviv is not exciting. Hey, let’s just focus on the pictures of Old Town!
And if you want to escape it…
You’d better go somewhere high, so that you can appreciate it from the distance! Because Lviv is all about Old Town.
In my previous life I was probably a citizen of Lviv.