Exploring Lviv: A Guided Tour for Foreign Volunteers
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September 19, 2023

Exploring Lviv: A Guided Tour for Foreign Volunteers

A significant portion of international volunteers arriving in Ukraine often enter country through Lviv city. A city renowned for its stunning architecture and profound historical significance. Situated in western Ukraine, approximately 70 kilometers from the Polish border, Lviv offers a unique opportunity to delve into its rich history. For a rich immersion in the captivating history of the city, let the expert travel guide Anastasiia Verba, known for her extensive knowledge of Lviv, lead you on a delightful journey with the "Beginning of Lviv" walking tour. In this curated experience, she recommends visiting several key locations in the city center, all conveniently situated within a short walking distance from one another, ensuring an effortless and engaging exploration of Lviv's historical treasures.

Lviv Arsenal

Lviv Arsenal
Lviv Arsenal

For precise location details, please refer to the following Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/367EnKFrdNCKQJ7j9

The Lviv Arsenal, also known as the Ruska Arsenal or Arsenal of Danylo of Halych, was built during the reign of Prince Danylo Romanovych, known as Danylo of Halych. It is located on Pidvalna Street, near the Old Town, and is an important historical and architectural landmark of Lviv.

The Arsenal was founded by Danylo of Halych in the 13th century, around 1340. Its main function was to store and produce military weapons and equipment. The Arsenal served as a significant center for military industry and defense of the city. The building of the Arsenal features distinctive Gothic architecture with massive walls, towers, and defensive battlements. It consists of several floors and basements. Inside the building, there were workshops, ammunition depots, and repair shops for military needs.

The Arsenal played a crucial role in the defense of the city and protection against enemy attacks. Throughout its history, it underwent several reconstructions and modernizations. At different periods, it was also used as a storage facility, repair workshops, and artillery base. In the 16th century, there was a need to store weapons, and the Arsenal became a military warehouse where weapons, ammunition, and equipment for the city's defense were kept. It became a key point for military supplies. The Arsenal structure has a large courtyard surrounded by massive walls and towers. It impresses with its architecture that combines elements of Renaissance and Baroque styles. The facade of the building is adorned with various sculptures and reliefs.

Lviv Historical Museum "Arsenal"
Lviv Historical Museum "Arsenal"

Over time, the function of the Arsenal changed, and it was transformed into a military workshop where weapons were manufactured and repaired. Throughout its history, it was also used for various civilian purposes, such as a place for repairs or storage of art treasures.Today, the Arsenal is a popular tourist landmark. Inside the building, the Lviv History Museum is located, where visitors can see exhibitions dedicated to the city's history, wars, culture, and craftsmanship. Additionally, the Arsenal is used for hosting various cultural events, exhibitions, concerts, and festivals. The Lviv Arsenal is a testament to the city's important military-historical and cultural heritage, attracting visitors with its grandeur and historical significance.

Where to Dine Nearby?

Pstruh, Khlib Ta Vyno:

Menu: https://sites.google.com/view/pstrughlibvynoua/menu-en?pli=1

Step into the enchanting ambiance of this inner courtyard hideaway. At Pstruh, Khlib Ta Vyno, you'll have the opportunity to savor the exquisite flavors of trout, meticulously prepared according to authentic Hutsul recipes. Complement your meal with freshly baked bread accompanied by an array of Ukrainian spreads, and enhance your experience with a selection of fine wines and liqueurs.

Rebernia under the Arsenal:

Menu: https://rebernia.choiceqr.com/en

Located just below the Arsenal, Rebernia offers a delectable culinary experience in a tourist-friendly setting. The owners' dedication shines through in their perfected rib recipe, honed over three years of meticulous testing. Notably, they have introduced special grills, a one-of-a-kind innovation, allowing for open-fire cooking that imparts a tantalizingly crispy crust and a smoky depth of flavor to the ribs.

Rebernia under the Arsenal, Lviv.
Rebernia under the Arsenal

Remains of fortifications

For precise location details, please refer to the following Google Maps link:  https://goo.gl/maps/rjNvaaJBoX2KD8dB8

Near the Arsenal, you can see remnants of historical walls. They were constructed during the reign of Prince Lev I, enclosing the Old Town and its central part, running along the city's perimeter and encompassing its main streets and districts. These walls were built in the 13th and 14th centuries to defend the city against enemy attacks. They served a crucial defensive function and consisted of brick walls, massive towers, and fortifications that ensured a high level of fortification for the city.

Remains of fortifications near Arsenal, Lviv
Remains of fortifications near Arsenal, Lviv.

The Eastern Walls along Ruska Street have undergone restorations and reconstructions throughout history. In some sections, they have been preserved in relatively good condition. They serve as a testament to Lviv's historical past and an important cultural heritage site.

Today, the Eastern Walls along Ruska Street play a significant role in creating the atmosphere of medieval Lviv. They are an appealing attraction for tourists and a place where one can glimpse into the city's past.

Uspenska Church

For precise location details, please refer to the following Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/9AYVUnV6qNPMSjxH6

Uspenska Church, Lviv
Uspenska Church, Lviv.

It's hard to imagine, but the Korniakt Tower (bell tower of Uspenska Church) once played an important role in the city's defense. The architectural ensemble of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church reflects the history of the Ruthenian community in medieval and Renaissance Lviv. Be sure to visit one of the most fascinating UNESCO sites, which can be accessed through the arch and courtyard from Ruska Street.

Nestled within the courtyard is a small rectangular chapel made of hewn stone, devoid of columns and pillars. It is crowned with three symmetrical spires adorned with Renaissance lanterns. The walls feature symmetrical pilasters, a large intricately carved stone portal with grapevine elements, and arched windows with figurative reliefs.

Monument of Ivan Fedorov

Monument of Ivan Fedorov, Lviv
Monument of Ivan Fedorov, Lviv.

Near the church, you can see the monument of Fedorov, and around it, there is a gathering of people selling various old books, coins, and many other interesting historical trinkets.

Ivan Fedorov (c. 1530 - c. 1583) was an outstanding figure in culture, a writer, printer, and publisher who made a significant contribution to the publishing industry. He worked in various places, including Lviv, where his printing house became a center of Polish printing in the 16th century.

Fedorov is one of the first printers and publishers in the East Slavic countries. He received education in Krakow and Prague, where he mastered the art of printing. In 1572, Fedorov made an agreement with the renowned writer and publicist Petro Mohyla and opened a printing house in Lviv. Together, they printed the first complete Slavic Bible, known as the Ostroh Bible, which was printed in Cyrillic script. The publication of the Ostroh Bible was a significant event in the development of printing and cultural life. It was the first complete translation of the Bible into the Slavic language, greatly improving the accessibility of religious texts for a wide audience. Additionally, Fedorov published other religious, scientific, and literary works, contributing to the spread of education and culture.

Ivan Fedorov's contribution to the publishing industry extended beyond book publication. He also contributed to the development of printing art, the introduction of new technologies, and the improvement of publishing processes. His work influenced the further development of printing and book culture in Eastern Europe.

Today, the memory of Ivan Fedorov is honored as a prominent publisher and printer. His name is associated with the establishment of Ukrainian and Slavic literature and holds great significance for Ukrainian culture and the history of publishing.

Dominican Cathedral

For precise location details, please refer to the following Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/JzQuewDJpGf9f1Ma6

The Dominican Cathedral in Lviv, also known as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, is one of the most significant historical and architectural landmarks of the city. This magnificent cathedral is located in the central part of Lviv, near the Market Square.

Dominican Cathedral Lviv
Dominican Cathedral, Lviv.

The construction of the cathedral began in the 13th century, but its completion took several centuries. Architecturally, the cathedral combines various styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance, making it unique and interesting for visitors. Inside the church, there is a series of tombs, the most valuable of which is the tomb of Countess Dunin-Borkowska, the work of the world-renowned Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1816). The Lviv School of Sculpture is represented by the monument to the Governor of Galicia, Hauser, created by Shimzer (1824). In 1880, a monument to the famous Polish artist Artur Grottger, created by the sculptor Gadomski, was installed here.

During the Soviet era, the Corpus Christi Church was closed, and like many other churches in Lviv, it was used for storage. In 1970, the Museum of Religion and Atheism was opened here, and a pendulum by Foucault was installed under the dome of the church, which demonstrated the rotation of the Earth. The museum had a lecture hall where lectures on atheistic topics were held, and atheistic scientific popular films were screened.

Since the 1990s, the Dominican Cathedral has become a Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Eucharist and has gained popularity among Lviv's intellectual and nationally conscious youth.

Dzyga

To conclude our mini-walk, I suggest visiting the Dzyga Art Center.

For precise location details, please refer to the following Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/fEgwcRqsTmpB2tUd8

Dzyga Art Center, Lviv
Dzyga Art Center, Lviv.

Established in 1993 through the merger of the community of public figures from the Student Movement during Ukraine's struggle for independence ("Student Brotherhood" 1989-1993) and notable Lviv artists (Markian Ivashchishin, Andriy Rozhnyatovskiy, Yaroslav Rushchyshyn) along with renowned Lviv artists (Serhiy Proskurnia, Vlodko Kaufman). In March 1997, the contemporary art gallery "Dzyga" opened in the former Dominican monastery, becoming the physical center of "Dzyga" initiatives.

"Dzyga" is a creative platform where diverse ideas, projects, and artistic events are born and realized, resonating far beyond Lviv and Ukraine. "Dzyga" rebels against conformity and mass culture, against marginal conformity, stereotypes, passivity, mediocrity, indifference, and bad taste. Or perhaps it doesn't rebel, but rather observes, at times. Its main principles include freedom of self-expression, moderate social responsibility, creativity, nurturing one's own complexes, movement, excessive ambitions, and, most importantly, subjectivity.

Thank you for your attention, and I hope to meet you on the streets of Lviv!

Stay connected with the amazing Anastasiia Verba across her social media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/verba_nastya

Instagram (English content): https://www.instagram.com/anastasiiaverba.guide/

Instagram (Ukrainian content): https://www.instagram.com/nastyaverba.guide/

You also have the opportunity to join her on a wonderful walking tour, show your support by buying her a coffee, or dive into her other intriguing posts by visiting.

Your engagement and support mean the world to her!

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