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View of the historic Old Town of Lviv.


Coat of arms

Motto: "Semper fidelis"
Map of Ukraine (blue) with Lviv (red) highlighted.
Coordinates: 49°51′0″N 24°01′0″E / 49.85°N 24.016667°E / 49.85; 24.016667Coordinates: 49°51′0″N 24°01′0″E / 49.85°N 24.016667°E / 49.85; 24.016667
Country  Ukraine
Oblast Flag of Lviv Oblast.png Lviv Oblast
Raion Lviv City Municipality
Founded 13th century
Magdeburg law 1353
 - City Chairman Andriy Sadovyi
 - City 171.01 km2 (66 sq mi)
Elevation 296 m (971 ft)
Population (2007)
 - City 735,000
 Density 4,298/km2 (11,131.8/sq mi)
 Metro 1,040,000
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 79000
Area code(s) +380 32(2)
Licence plate BC (before 2004: ТА,ТВ,ТН,ТС)
Sister cities Corning, Freiburg, Grozny, Kraków, Novi Sad, Przemyśl, Saint Petersburg, Whitstable, Winnipeg

Lviv (Ukrainian: Львів L’viv, IPA: [lʲwiw]( listen); Polish: Lwów; Russian: Львов, L'vov; German: Lemberg; Latin: Leopolis; see also other names) is a major city in western Ukraine.

The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine[1] and historically also for Ukraine’s neighbour, Poland. The historic centre of Lviv with its old buildings and cobblestone roads has survived the Second World War and the Soviet presence largely unscathed. 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 with a son et lumière in the city centre in September 2006.

Lviv was founded in 1256 in Red Ruthenia by King Danylo Halytskyi of the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honour of his son, Lev. Together with the rest of Red Ruthenia, Lviv was captured by Kingdom of Poland in 1349 during the reign of Polish king Casimir III the Great. Lviv belonged to the Kingdom of Poland 1349-1569, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1772, the Austrian Empire 1772-1918, the Second Polish Republic 1918-1939. With the outbreak of WWII the city of Lviv with adjacent land were annexed and incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR 1939-1941. Between July 1941- July 1944 Lviv was under German occupation and was located in the General Government. In July 1944 it was captured by the Soviet Red Army and the Polish Home Army. According to the agreements of the Yalta Conference Lviv was integrated into the Ukrainian SSR again.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the city remained a part of the now independent Ukraine, for which it currently serves as the administrative centre of Lviv Oblast, and designated as its own raion (district) within that oblast.

On June 12, 2009 the Ukrainian magazine Focus assessed Lviv as the best Ukrainian city to live in.[2]




Lviv is located on the edge of the Roztochia Upland, approximately 70 km from the Polish border and 160 km (100 miles) from the eastern Carpathian Mountains. The average altitude of Lviv is 296 m (971.13 ft) above sea level. Its highest point is the Vysokyi Zamok (High Castle), 409 m (1,341.86 ft) above sea level. This castle 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, the Poltva 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 renowned Lviv Opera House.


Lviv's climate is moderate continental. The average temperatures are −4 °C (25 °F) in January and 20 °C (68 °F) in June. Average annual rainfall is 660 mm (26 inches) with the maximum being in summer. Cloud coverage averages 66 days per year.


Market square (Ukrainian: Ploshcha Rynok) of Lviv. The Lviv City Hall (Ukrainian: Ratusha) is situated there.

Early History

According to the legend, Lviv was founded by King Daniel of Galicia, in the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honour of his son, Lev. When Daniel died Lev made Lviv the capital of Galicia-Volhynia.[3] The city is first mentioned in the Halych-Volhynian Chronicle, which dates from 1256.

Capital of Halych-Volyn Prinicpality

By 1272 Lviv had become the capital of the Halych-Volyn Principality. It was captured by the Lithuania in 1340[citation needed] and ruled by Voievoda Dmitri Detko, the favourite of the Lithanian prince Lubart until 1349.

Kingdom of Poland

In 1356, Casimir III of Poland brought in German burghers and within 7 years granted the Magdeburg rights which implied that all city matters were to be resolved by a council, elected by the wealthy citizens. The city council seal of the 14th century stated: S(igillum): Civitatis Lembvrgensis. As part of Poland (and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), Lviv became the capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship.

Fedorovych's autograph from July 23, 1583

In 1572 the first publisher of books in Ukraine, Ivan Fedorovych, a graduate of the University of Krakow settled in Lviv after a brief period wher he was chased out of Moscow. The city becomes a significant centre for the Eastern orthodoxy with the establishment of an orthodox brotherhood and a Greek-Slavonic school and a printery that published the first full versions of the Bible in Church-slavonic in 1580.

As Lviv prospered, it became religiously and ethnically diverse. The 17th century brought invading armies of Swedes, Hungarians from Transylvania, Russians and Cossacks to its gates. However, Lviv was the only major city in Poland that was not captured by the invaders. In 1672 it was besieged by the Ottomans, who also failed to conquer it. Lviv was captured for the first time by a foreign army in 1704, when Swedish troops under King Charles XII entered the city after a siege.

Habsburg Empire

In 1772, following the First Partition of Poland the region was annexed by Austria. Being known in German as Lemberg, the city became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria.

In 1773 the first newspaper in Lviv "Gazette de Leopoli" began to be published. In 1784 a German language University was opened which was closed in 1805. In 1817 the University was re-opened.

In the 19th century the Austrian administration attempted to Germanise the city. Many cultural organizations which did not have a pro-German orientation were closed. After the revolution of 1848, the language of instruction at the University shifted from German to also include Ukrainian and Polish.

In 1853 it was the first European city to have street lights due to innovations discovered by Lviv inhabitants Ignacy Łukasiewicz and Jan Zeh. In that year kerosene lamps were introduced as street lights which in 1858 were updated to gas, and in 1900 to electricity.

In the early stage of First World War Lviv was briefly captured by the Russian army in September 1914 but retaken by Austria–Hungary in June the following year.

Polish-Ukrainian War

With the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy at the end of World War I Lviv became an arena of battle between the local Polish populations and the Ukrainian soldiers Sich Riflemen. Both nations perceived Lviv as integral part of their new states, forming that time in the former Austrian territories. On the night of October 31–1 November 1918 the Western Ukrainian National Republic was proclaimed with Lviv as its capital. 2,300 Ukrainian soldiers from Sichovi Striltsi (Sich riflemen) units, previously a legion in the Austrian Army, took control over Lviv. City's Polish majority discarded the Ukrainian rule and begun to fight off the Ukrainian troops.[4] During this combat an important role was taken by young Polish city defenders called Lwów Eaglets. For the courage of its inhabitants Lviv was awarded the Virtuti Militari cross by Józef Piłsudski on 22 November 1920.

The Ukrainian forces withdrew behind Lviv's confines by November 21, 1918, laying siege to the city immediately after the withdrawal. The Sich riflemen reformed into the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA). The Polish forces with the aid from central Poland, including general Haller's Blue Army equipped by the French, relieved the besieged city finally in May 1919, forcing the UHA to the east. Despite the Entente's mediation attempts to cease hostilities and reach a compromise between belligerents, the Polish–Ukrainian War continued till July 1919, when the last UHA forces withdrew east of the river Zbruch. Border on the river Zbruch was confirmed at the Treaty of Warsaw (1920).

In April 1920 Polish government signed an agreement with Symon Petlura where for military support against the Bolsheviks, the Ukrainian People's Republic renounced its claims to the territories of Eastern Galicia.

Polish sovereignty over Lviv was internationally recognized when the Council of Ambassadors ultimately approved it in March 1923.

Second Polish Republic

In August 1920 Lviv was attacked by the Red Army under the command of Aleksandr Yegorov and Stalin during Polish-Soviet War, but the city resisted again.[5]

In the interbellum period Lviv held the rank of Poland's third most populous city (after Warsaw and Łódź) and became the seat of the Lwów Voivodeship. It was then, after capital Warsaw, the second most important cultural and academic centre of Poland (in academical year 1937/38 there were 9,1 thousand students, attending 5 higher education facilities including widely renown university and institute of technology).[6]

In 1928 Professor Rudolf Weigl of the Lviv University discovered the vaccine against typhus.

Main language of Communication
for the population of Lviv
according to the census of 1931

Polish 198.212 (63,5 %)
Yiddish 75.316 (24,1 %)
Ukrainian 24.245 (7,8 %)
Ruthenian 10.892 (3,5 %)
Other 3.566 (1,1 %)
Total 312.231

Although eastern part of the Lwów Voivodeship had a relative Ukrainian majority in most of the rural areas, the city itself did not. Prewar Lviv had also a large Jewish population. According to the 1931 Polish Government Census, Poles numbered 198,212 (63.5%) of the population, with Jews numbering 75,316 (24.1%) and Ukrainians numbering 35,137 (11.3%). Because of a such mix the local population of the city spoke its own distinct dialect.

Note: In the table to the right Ruthenian nationality includes: Russian, Belorussian, Slovak, and others non-Ukrainian.

WWII and Soviet occupation

Following the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Subsequently the Soviets invaded on September 17. The Soviet Union annexed eastern part of prewar Poland including the city of Lviv which capitulated to the Red Army on September 22, 1939.

Lviv became the capital of the newly formed Lviv Oblast. Immediately Soviets started to repress local Poles and Ukrainians, deporting many of the citizens. Waves of deportations were aimed at the Polish elites, then the Jews who refused Soviet passports, then the Ukrainian nationalists.

Nazi occupation

On June 22, 1941 the Germans attacked the USSR.

In the initial stage of Operation Barbarossa (late June 1941), Lviv was taken by the Germans. The evacuating Soviets killed most of the prison population. Wehrmacht forces arriving in the city discovered evidence of the mass murders[8] committed by the NKVD and NKGB. Ukrainian nationalists organized as militia and civil population were allowed to take revenge on the "Jews and the bolcheviks" and indulged into several pogroms in Lviv and the surrounding region. The Lviv pogroms took a toll of 4000 to 10.000 Jews. The Germans during the occupation of the city committed numerous other atrocities. In July 1941 Germans and Ukrainians also executed Polish professors with their families.

On 30 June 1941, Yaroslav Stetsko proclaimed in Lviv the Government of an independent Ukraine. This was done without pre-approval from the Germans and within 3 days the organizers were arrested. Eastern Galicia was subsequently incorporated into the General Government as Distrikt Galizien.

Germany viewed Galicia, former Austrian crown land, as already aryanized and civilized, and as a result the Ukrainian Galicians escaped the full extent of German intentions in comparison to Ukrainians who lived in Eastern and Central Ukraine. German policy towards Polish population was more harsh and comparable to the situation in the rest of the General Government. According to the Third Reich's racial policies Galician Jews became the main target of German repressions. Almost all of the Jewish Galicians were deported to concentration camps or killed. In 1941 there were approximately 200,000 Jews in Lviv.[9] By the end of the war the Jewish population was virtually wiped out with only 200 - 300 Jews left alive.[10]

Soviet re-occupation

The Soviet 3rd Tank Army entered Lviv again after the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive of July 22–24, 1944.

After the city was taken by Soviet forces with the help of Armia Krajowa, the local commanders of the Polish AK were invited to a meeting with the commanders of the Red Army, where they were arrested by the NKVD.

In January 1945 the local NKVD arrested many Poles in Lviv (where, according to Soviet sources, on 1 October 1944 Poles still made a clear majority - 66.7% of population) to encourage their emigration from their city. Those arrested were released after they signed papers agreeing to emigrate to Poland, which postwar borders were shifted westwards leaving the city in the Soviet Union. It is estimated that from 100,000 to 140,000 Poles were resettled in the Recovered Territories. Little remains of Polish culture in Lviv except for the Italian-influenced architecture.[11] The Polish history of Lviv is still well remembered in Poland, and those Poles who stayed in Lviv, have formed their own organization, the Association of Polish Culture of the Lviv Land.

Lviv and its population suffered greatly during the two world wars as many of the offensives were fought across the local geography causing significant collateral damage and disruption.

On August 16, 1945 a border agreement[12] between Soviet puppet-government of Poland and the government of the USSR was signed in Moscow, in which now-communist Poland formally ceded its prewar eastern part to the Soviet Union, agreeing to the Polish-Soviet border drawn according to the so called Curzon Line. Consequently, the agreement had been ratified by February 5, 1946. Thus since February 1946 Lviv legally became a part of the Soviet Union.

Soviet Union

National makeup of Lviv
according to the census of 1989

Ukrainians 622.800 (79,1 %)
Russians 126.418 (16,1 %)
Jews 12.837 (1,6 %)
Poles 9.697 (1,2 %)
Belorusyns 5.800 (0,7 %)
Armenians 1.000 (0,1 %)
Total 778.557

Numbers do not include regions
and surrounding towns

Expulsion of the Polish population, together with migration from Ukrainian-speaking rural areas around the city, as well as from other parts of the Soviet Union, altered the traditional ethnic composition of the city, which became mostly Ukrainian.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the city significantly expanded both in population and size, mostly due to the city's rapidly growing industry.

In the period of liberalization of the Soviet system in the 1980s the city became the centre of political movement advocating Ukrainian independence from the USSR.

Independent Ukraine

Citizens of Lviv strongly supported Viktor Yushchenko during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election and played a key role in the Orange Revolution. Hundred of thousands of people would gather in freezing temperature to demonstrate for the Orange camp. Acts of civil disobedience forced the head of the local police to resign and the local assembly issued a resolution refusing to accept the fraudulent first official results.[13]

Lviv remains today one of the main centres of Ukrainian culture, and the origin of much of the nation's political class.


In 2001 Lviv had 725,000 inhabitants, of whom 88 percent were Ukrainians, 9 percent Russians and 1 percent Poles.[14] A further 200,000 people commuted daily from suburbs.

Ethnic makeup
population of Lviv (2001)

Ukrainian 88.1 %
Russian 8.9 %
Poles 0.9 %
Belorusyn 0.4 %
Jews 0.3 %
Armenian 0.1 %

In 2007 the population of Lviv was 735 thousand inhabitants.

In 2001 the population was 758 thousand and in 1989 815 thousand.

51.5 % — women
48.5 % — men
  • By place of birth:[15]
56 % — born in Lviv
19 % — born in Lviv oblast
11 % — born in Ukraine, but in the East
7 % — born in the former republics of the USSR (Russia — 4 %)
4 % — born in Poland
3 % — born in Western Ukraine, but not in Lviv oblast
  • Religious adherence:[15]
45 % — Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
31 % — Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate
5 % — Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
3 % — Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
3 % — Other faiths


Many Poles moved to Lviv after the city was conquered by King Casimir in 1349. It became a major Polish cultural centre, and this continued after the partitions of Poland. During the events of 1918-1920 Polish patriotism in Lviv was at its height with the formation of the Polish Eaglets.

Lviv was depolonised mainly through Soviet-arranged population exchange from 1944-47. [16] Those that remained found themselves in uncomfortable surroundings, having lost their state status and becoming an ethnic minority, which in 1959 only made up 4% of the population after Ukrainians, Russians and Jews.[16] The city was abandoned by government, cultural, academic, technical intelligentsia, military and highly qualified workers.[16] As a result, the Poles that remained tended to be those of the lower classes and had lower education than those of the other ethnicities in the city.[16] Many families were mixed.[16] As a result, 45 years after the end of WWII, in 1989, for 1000 female Poles there were 600 male Poles.[16] and the Polish population underwent significant assimilation; in 1989 40 % considered Ukrainian as their mother tongue, 15 % — Russian[16]. During Soviet times two Polish schools continued to function № 10 (with 8 grades) and № 24 (with 10 grades), and two Roman Catholic Cathedrals continued to function.[16]

In the 1980s the process of uniting groups into ethnic associations was allowed. In 1988 a Polish language newspaper was allowed («Gazeta Lwowska»).[17] The Polish population continues to use the Lviv dialect of the Polish language known as gwara lwowska).[17]


The first known Jewish settlers in Lviv date back to 1256 and became an important part of this city cultural life, making significant contributions in science and culture. Apart from the Rabbinate Jews there were many Karaite Jews who had settle in the city after coming from the East and from Byzantium. After Casimir III conquered Lviv in 1349 the Jewish citizens received many privileges equal to that of other citizens of Poland. Lviv had two separate Jewish quarters, one within the city walls and one outside on the outskirts of the city. Each had their separate synagogues, although they both shared a cemetery which was also used by the Karaite community.

Before the Holocaust about one third of the city's population was made up of Jews (more than 100,000 on the eve of WWII). Up until the 1970s the city had over 30,000 Jews. Currently the Jewish population has shrunk considerably as a result of emigration, and to a lesser degree assimilation, and is estimated at 2,000. A number of organizations continue to be active.


Lviv city hall.

Administrative division

Lviv is divided into six raions (districts), each with its own administrative bodies:

  • Halych district (ukr. Галицький район - Halytskyi raion)
  • Zaliznytsia district / (ukr. Залізничний район - Zaliznychnyi raion)
  • Lychakiv district (ukr. Личаківський район - Lychakivs'kyi raion)
  • Sykhiv district (ukr. Сихівський район - Sykhivs'kyi raion)
  • Franko district (ukr. Франківський район - Frankivs'kyi raion)
  • Shevchenko district (ukr. Шевченківський район - Shevchenkivs'kyi raion)

Notable suburbs include:

  • Vynnyky (ukr. місто Винники)
  • Briukhovychi (ukr. селище Брюховичі)
  • Rudne (ukr. селище Рудне)


Local public transportation


The so-called marshrutka, a typical Lviv city transport.

The public bus network is mainly represented by mini-buses. Large buses are rather unconvenient due to the traffic conditions of the narrow streets the central historical part of the city. People call such a mini-bus marshrutka (that may be translated as route taxi), and they go all over the city. Marshrutkas have no fixed stops (they may stop not only on bus stops but in other places where it is allowed) but are cheap, fast, and mostly reliable. This kind of transport is so popular and convenient that mini-buses are often overcrowded during rush hours. Marshrutkas also run on suburban lines to most suburbs and nearby towns, e.g. to Shehyni at the Polish border. There are also two bus routes in Lviv.

The price (February 2010) of a one-way single ride in the marshrutka within the city of Lviv is 1.75 UAH (= 0.2 USD) regardless of the distance traveled. No tickets are provided - the money should be paid to the driver. The price (February 2010) of a ride a city-bus is 1.00 UAH.


A Lviv tram on a small sett sidestreet in the Old Town.

The first tramway lines were opened on 5 May 1880. The electric tram was opened on 31 May 1894. The last horse-powered line was transferred to electric traction in 1908. 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. Previously in bad shape, many tracks were reconstructed in 2006, and even more are to be reconstructed in the subsequent years.

The price (February 2010) of a tram/trolleybus ticket is 1.00 UAH (reduced fare ticket - 0.50 UAH, e.g. for students). The ticket may be purchased form the driver.


A trolleybus of the Lviv Bus Factory on the city street.

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 10 modern low-floor trolleybuses built by the Lviv Bus Factory were purchased.

The price (February 2010) of a tram/trolleybus ticket is 1.00 UAH (reduced fare ticket - 0.50 UAH, e.g. for students). The ticket may be purchased form the driver.

Rail bus

Lviv "rail bus" - a motor-rail car

One more way of public transportation in Lviv is "rail bus". This is a motor-rail car that runs from the largest district of Lviv to the one of the largest industrial zones going through the central railway station. It makes 7 trips a day and has a mission of a faster and more comfortable connection between the remote urban districts.

The price (February 2010) of a one-way single ride in the rail bus is 1.50 UAH.

International transportation


Lviv's Main Railway Terminal, an Art Nouveau style construction built in 1903 by Władysław Sadłowski.

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 on November 4, 1861. The building of the main Lviv Railway Station, designed by Władysław Sadłowski, was built in 1904 and was considered one of the best in Europe from both the architectural and the technical aspects.

In the interbellum period, Lviv (known then as Lwów) was one of the most important hubs of the Polish State Railways. The junction of Lwów consisted in mid-1939 of four stations — main station Lwów Główny (now Ukrainian: Lviv Holovnyi), Lwów Kleparów (Lviv Klepariv), Lwów Łyczaków (Lviv Lychakiv), and Lwów Podzamcze (Lviv Pidzamche). In August 1939, right before World War Two, 73 trains departed daily from the Main Station, including 56 local and 17 fast trains. Lwów was directly connected with all major centers of the Second Polish Republic, as well as such cities, as Berlin, Bucharest, and Budapest.[18]

Currently, several trains cross the nearby Polish-Ukrainian border (mostly via Przemyśl in Poland). 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, although buses are often a cheaper and more convenient way of entering the "Schengen" countries.

Air transport

Beginnings of aviation in Lviv reach back to 1884, when the Aeronautic Society was opened there. The Society issued its own magazine, Astronauta, and soon ceased to exist. In 1909, on the initiative of Edmund Libanski, the Awiata Society was founded. Among its members there was a group of professors and students of the Lviv Polytechnic, including Stefan Drzewiecki and Zygmunt Sochacki. Awiata was the oldest Polish organization of this kind, and it concentrated its activities mainly on exhibitions, such as the First Aviation Exhibition, which took place in 1910, and which featured models of aircraft built by Lviv students.[19]

In 1913-1914 brothers Tadeusz and Władysław Floriańscy built a two-seated airplane. When World War One broke out, Austrian authorities confiscated it, but did not manage to evacuate the plane, and it was seized by the Russians, who used the plane for intelligence purposes. The Floriański brothers plane was the first Polish-made aircraft. On November 5, 1918, a crew consisting of Stefan Bastyr and Janusz de Beaurain carried out the first ever flight under Polish flag, taking off from Lviv's Lewandówka (now Ukrainian: Levandivka) airport.[19] In the interbellum period, Lviv was a major center of gliding, with a notable Gliding School in Bezmiechowa, opened in 1932. In the same year, the Institute of Gliding Technology was opened in Lviv, and it was the second such institute in the world. In 1938, the First Polish Aircraft Exhibition took place in the city.

Interbellum Lviv also was a major center of the Polish Air Force, with the Sixth Air Regiment located there. The Regiment was based at the airport in Lviv's suburb of Skniłów (today Ukrainian: Sknyliv), opened in 1924. The Sknyliv Airport, now known as Lviv International Airport (LWO)[20] is 6 km from the city centre.


L’viv - the Ensemble of the Historic Centre*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Town view from The High Castle
State Party  Ukraine
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, v
Reference 865
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1998  (22nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

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[21] 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.


Lviv's historic churches, 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 the Polish elite were buried for 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.

Monuments in Lviv

The Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre, an important cultural centre for residents and visitors.
Monument dedicated to Nikifor.
Renaissance yard of King Jan III Sobieski House

City sculptures commemorate many people and topics reflecting the rich history of Lviv. There are monuments to:

During the interbellum period there were monuments commemorated to important figures of the history of Poland. Some of these were moved to the Polish Recovered Territories, like the monument of Aleksander Fredro which now is in Wroclaw, the monument of King Jan III Sobieski which after 1945 was moved to Gdansk, and the monument of Kornel Ujejski which now is in Szczecin.


Every day the book market takes places around the monument to Ivan Fеdorovych. He was a 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. Among these was the Ossolineum, one of the most important Polish scientific libraries. Most of Polish-language books and publications of the Ossolineum library are still kept in a local Jesuit church. In 1997 Polish government asked the Ukrainian government to hand over these documents, and in 2003 the Ukrainian side allowed the Poles access to the publications. In 2006, an office of the Ossolineum (which now is located in Wroclaw) was opened in Lviv, and began a process of scanning all documents.

Literature written in Lviv contributed to Austrian, Ukrainian, Yiddish and Polish literature. Translation work took place between these cultures.


From its establishment Lviv 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. The Golden Rose Synagogue was built here in 1582 and 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 Catholic Cardinals: Lubomyr Husar (Byzantine Rite) and Marian Jaworski (Latin Rite).

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 Germans in effect completely destroyed the centuries-old Jewish tradition of Lviv. Most synagogues were destroyed and the Jewish population forced into a ghetto from which they were later transported into concentration camps where they were murdered.[22]

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.


The "Group Artes" was a young movement founded in 1929. Many of the artists studied in Paris and had traveled throughout Europe. They worked and experimented in different areas of modern art: Futurism, Cubism, New Objectivity and Surrealism. Cooperation took place between avant-garde musicians and authors. Altogether thirteen exhibitions by Artes took place in Warsaw, Kraków, Łódz and Lviv. The German occupation put an end to this group. Otto Hahn was executed in 1942 in Lviv, Aleksander Riemer was 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.

The city was for years one of the most important cultural centers of Poland, with such writers as Aleksander Fredro, Leopold Staff, Maria Konopnicka, Jan Kasprowicz living in Lviv. It also is home to one of the largest museums in Ukraine, The National Museum of Lviv.

Theatre and opera

In 1842 the Skarbek Theatre was opened, making it the third largest theatre in Central Europe. In 1903 the sumptuous Lviv National Opera 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

The 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).


Lviv has an active musical and cultural life. Apart from the Lviv Opera it has symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, and the Trembita Chorus. Lviv has one of the most prominent music Academy and music colleges in Ukraine, and also has a factory for the manufacture of stringed musical instruments.

Lviv has been the home of numerous composers such as Mozart's son Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, Stanislav Liudkevych, Mykola Kolessa.

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- ), an internationally renowned concert 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 Lwów 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 notable stars of the shows were Henryk Vogelfänger and Kazimierz Wajda, who together appeared as the comic duo "Szczepko and Tońko", 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.

Universities and academia

Lviv University is one of the oldest in Central Europe. Its was founded 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. The Polish politician of the interbellum period, Stanisław Głąbiński, had served as dean of the law department (1889–1890) and the University's rector (1908–1909). In 1901 the city was the seat of the Lwów Scientific Society, among whose members were major scientific figures. The Very well-known were the mathematicians Stefan Banach, Juliusz Schauder and Stanisław Ulam, founders of the Lwów School of Mathematics, 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.

In 1852 in Dublany (eight kilometers from the outskirts of Lviv), the Agricultural Academy was opened, and it was one of the first Polish agricultural colleges. The Academy was in 1919 merged with the Lviv Polytechnic. Another important college of the interbellum period was the Academy of Foreign Trade in Lwów.


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 notable mathematicians would gather there.[23] The café is now called the Desertniy Bar, and is located at 27, Taras Shevchenko Prospekt (prewar polish street name ulica Akademicka).[24]

Prints and media

Lviv is home to one of the oldest Polish-language newspapers, Gazeta Lwowska, which was first published in 1811, and still exists in a biweekly form (Lviv is the center of promotion of the Latynka.)

Among other Polish-language publications, there were such titles, as

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 Germans in the 1940s.

Films and books featuring Lviv

  • Portions of Schindler's List were shot in the city centre, as this was less expensive than in Kraków.
  • Some of the Austrian road-movie Blue Moon was shot in Lviv.
  • Parts of the movie and novel Everything Is Illuminated take place in Lviv.
  • Brian R. Banks' Muse & Messiah: The Life, Imagination & Legacy of Bruno Schulz (1892–1942) has several pages which discuss the history and cultural-social life of the Lviv region. The book includes a CD-ROM with many old and new photographs and the first English map of nearby Drohobych.
  • The book "The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow" by Krystyna Chiger takes place in Lviv.
  • Large parts of 1997 film The Truce, depicting Primo Levi's war experiences were shot in Lviv.


Lviv was an important centre for sport in Central Europe and it is regarded as the cradle of Polish football. The first known official goal in a football match in Poland was scored there on 14 July 1894 during the Lwów-Kraków game. The goal was scored by Włodzimierz Chomicki, who represented the team of Lviv. In 1904 Kazimierz Hemerling from Lviv published the first translation into Polish of the rules of football; another native of Lviv, Stanisław Polakiewicz, became the first officially recognised Polish referee in 1911, the year in which the first Polish Football Federation was founded in Lviv.

The first Polish professional football club, Czarni Lwów, opened in 1903 and the first stadium, which belonged to Pogoń, in 1913. Another club, Pogoń Lwów, was four times football champion of Poland (1922, 1923, 1925 and 1926). In the late 1920s, as many as four teams from the city played in the Polish Football League (Pogoń, Czarni, Hasmonea and Lechia). Hasmonea was the first Jewish football club in Poland. Several notable figures of Polish football came from this city, including Kazimierz Górski, Ryszard Koncewicz, Michał Matyas and Wacław Kuchar.

Lviv is also the Polish cradle of other sports. In January 1905 the first Polish ice-hockey match took place there; two years later the first ski-jumping competition was organized in nearby Sławsko, and in the same year the first Polish basketball games were organized in Lviv's gymnasiums. Several years earlier, in the autumn of 1887, in a gymnasium by Lychakiv Street (pol. ulica Łyczakowska), the first Polish track and field competition took place, with such sports as long jump and high jump. Lviv's athlete Władysław Ponurski represented Austria in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. In addition, on 9 July 1922 the first official rugby game in Poland took place at the stadium of Pogoń Lwów, in which the rugby team of Orzeł Biały Lwów divided itself into two teams - "The Reds" and "The Blacks". The referee of this game was a Frenchman by the name of Robineau.

Lviv now has several major professional football clubs and some smaller clubs. FC Karpaty Lviv, founded in 1963, plays in the first division of the Ukrainian Premier League. Sometimes, the youth of Lviv assemble on the central street (Freedom Avenue) to watch and cheer an outdoor broadcast of a game.

Lviv is building a new separate stadium from its now already established Ukraina Stadium to host three group matches during EURO 2012.

Lviv chess school is world-known. In this city used to live such notable grandmasters as Vassily Ivanchuk, Leonid Stein, Alexander Beliavsky, Andrei Volokitin and many others.[26]

Notable cultural figures of Lviv

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities


Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine and is growing rapidly. 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 December 2007 was about 1616 UAH. 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 restaurants and shops as well as street vendors of food, books, clothes, traditional cultural items and tourist gifts. Banking and money trading are an important part of the economy of Lviv, with many banks and exchange offices throughout the city.


The front façade of the Lviv University, the oldest university in Ukraine.
Lviv Polytechnic National University

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.

A considerable scientific potential is concentrated in the city: by the number of doctors of sciences, candidates of sciences, scientific organizations Lviv is the fourth city in Ukraine. Lviv is known for ancient academic traditions, founded by the Assumption Brotherhood School and the Jesuit Collegium. Over 100 thousand students study annually study in more than 20 higher educational establishments.


  • Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (ukr. - Львівський національний університет імені Івана Франка)
  • Lviv Polytechnic (ukr. - Національний університет "Львівська політехніка")
  • Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University (ukr. - Львiвський національний медичний унiверситет iм. Данила Галицького)
  • Lviv Stepan Gzhytsky national university of veterinary medicine and biotechnologies (ukr. - Львівський національний університет ветеринарної медицини та біотехнологій імені Степана Гжицького)
  • National Forestry Engineering University of Ukraine (ukr. - Український національний лісотехнічний університет)
  • Ukrainian Catholic University (ukr. - Український католицький університет)
  • Lviv National Agrarian University (ukr. - Львівський національний аграрний університет)
  • Lviv State University of Physical Training (ukr. - Львівський державний університет фізичної культури)
  • Lviv State University of Vital Activity Safety (ukr. - Львівський державний університет безпеки життєдіяльності)
  • Lviv State University of Internal Affairs (ukr. - Львівський державний університет внутрішніх справ)

Tourist attractions

  • the Old Town - ancient historical part of the city.
    • Market Square (Ukrainian: Ploshcha Rynok); 18,300 square metres. A square in the historical center of the city where Lviv City Hall is situated.

For more details about each building see Lviv Market Square

Popular Culture

The native residents of the city jokingly known as the Lvivian batiary (someone who's mischievous). Lvivians also well-known for their way of speaking that was greatly influenced by the Lvivian gwara (talk).[30]

See also



  1. ^ Lviv Travel Guide
  2. ^ Lviv is the best city for living in Ukraine - rating, UNIAN (June 12, 2009)
  3. ^ B.V. Melnyk, Vulytsiamy starovynnoho Lvova, Vyd-vo "Svit" (Old Lviv Streets), 2001, ISBN 966-603-048-9
  4. ^ Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999, Yale University Press, 2003, p.158
  5. ^ Norman Davies, White Eagle, Red Star. Polish-Soviet War
  6. ^ Mały Rocznik Statystyczny 1939 (Polish statistical yearbook of 1939), GUS, Warsaw, 1939
  7. ^ Леонид Соколов (1931-12-09). "Л.Соколов, Кто сделал Львов украинским городом? - Украинские Страницы". Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  8. ^ Lviv massacre
  9. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  10. ^ the holocaust research project
  11. ^ The architecture of Poland: An historical survey by Zbigniew Dmochowski
  12. ^ [1] full text of the agreement (in Polish)
  13. ^ Tchorek, Kamil (November 26, 2004). "Protest grows in western city". Times Online. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  14. ^ Ethnic groups in Lviv, 2001 Ukrainian Census
  15. ^ a b c d According to the census of 2001 —
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h R. Lozinsky. "poles in Lviv". 
  17. ^ a b The Poles in Lviv continue to be proud of their identity.
  18. ^ Urzędowy Rozkład Jazdy i Lotów PKP, Lato 1939 (Polish State Railroads Timetable, Summer 1939
  19. ^ a b Zdzislaw Sikorski, Lotniczy Lwow
  20. ^ See also: Lviv International Airport official website
  21. ^ L'viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre, UNESCO — World Heritage. URL Accessed: 30 October 2006
  22. ^ Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies | Lviv
  23. ^ Stanislaw M. Ulam, Adventures of a Mathematician, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. ISBN 0-684-15064-6
  24. ^ "The Scottish Café in Lvov", at the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.
  25. ^ Slowo Polskie - a daily with 100-year tradition
  26. ^ "Lviv – the chess capital of Ukraine".
  27. ^ "Serwis informacyjny UM Rzeszów - Informacja o współpracy Rzeszowa z miastami partnerskimi".,informacja-o-wsp-lpracy-rzeszowa-z-miastami-partnerskimi.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  28. ^ "Kraków otwarty na świat". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  29. ^ "Wrocław Official Website — Partnership Cities of Wrocław". Retrieved 2008-10-23.  (Polish)
  30. ^ Lviv dialect

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Central L'viv (Ploshcha Rynok)
Central L'viv (Ploshcha Rynok)

Lviv (also spelled L'viv and Львів; Polish: Lwów; German: Lemberg; Italian: Leopoli; French: Leopolis) is in Western Ukraine and used to be the Capital of East Galicia. The biggest city of the region and major Ukrainian cultural center. The historic city center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The city has a multicultural history. It was founded in 1256 and fell under Polish control in the 14th century. Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, Germans and others lived there together for centuries.

The Polish king John II Casimir founded the Lviv University in the 17th century and Lviv was by this time one of the most important cities in the Polish-Lituanian Commonwealth, along with Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk and Vilnius.

In 1772 the city was taken by the Habsburgs and in Austrian times it was known under the name of Lemberg, the capital of Galicia. After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, it was returned to Poland.

As result of World War II Stalin moved the Soviet frontier westward so Lviv became part of the USSR, as Lvov (still widely frequent, even locally). With the Ukrainian independence in 1991, the name was officialy changed to Lviv.

Lviv is located in the most Ukrainian region of Ukraine; as a Soviet province, most signs were put only in Ukrainian, and only a few also in Russian. Because of its Polish and Austro-Hungarian history, Lviv has a Central European flair in its architecture that make it one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.

Its tourist potential is yet undiscovered because infrastructure is rather undeveloped and most people don't speak any foreign languages except Polish, Russian and German. This is changing among young people, some of whom will speak at least a little bit of English. Nevertheless, visiting Lviv is very rewarding for the pioneer traveller, as life is extremely cheap here and the place has a truly authentic feeling, unlike places like Krakow or Prague, which are swamped with tourists.

Get in

By plane

Lviv has an international airport just 7km from the beautiful downtown. Lviv is served via direct international routes including flights from Vienna (Austrian Airlines), Frankfurt (Ukraine International Airlines), Warsaw (LOT Polish Airlines) and Munich (Lufthansa). Low cost airline Wizzair is flying twice a week to Dortmund. Important - Lufthansa and Wizzair-flights are not served from main terminal - go to small Terminal "3" at the right side of the main building!

It is relatively inexpensive to fly from Kyiv to Lviv, with multiple daily flights operated by Ukrainian International Airlines and Aerosvit. These carriers also operate flights to and from other major Ukrainian cities, although it is still more common to travel by train domestically. Return airfares from Kyiv range from as low as $50 (including taxes and fees), if booked more than a month in advance, to approximately $100. Tickets for air travel can be purchased online or via travel agents. Taxi from the airport to town (or visa-versa) should cost around 30UAH, depending on the time of day. Negotiate prior to departure.

Travel Warning

WARNING: Lviv airport will be closed for approximately 4 months from April 2010 to allow construction work on the runway. In the meantime flights will be diverted to the airports of Ivano-Frankivsk or Lutsk. This is one of the projects in the preparation of Lviv as a hosting city for the European Football Cup of 2012.Notice - due to a statement of Lviv`s Mayor A. Sadovy of Dec. 19th 2009 there won`t be a closure in 2010 and reconstruction will be done during normal business of the airport! But there may be a partial closure in 2011!

See: Lviv Airport website. The airport is very basic. There is no currency exchange. But there is a ATM in the main arrival hall! Toilets are only available after checkin. Otherwise try to go to the small restaurants right outside of the main building!

Arrival Advisory: Travel Insurance

You do not need to buy insurance at the airport. There is a little booth in arrivals with someone who may try to sell you insurance or demand to see yours if you say you have it. You do not need to purchase insurance from this person, nor show them any documentation. Ignore them.

  • The easiest way to get to L'viv from Western Europe is through Krakow (or Wroclaw/Katowice) in Poland. From there, you have several options.
  • Take a train to Przemyśl near the Polish-Ukrainian border. It costs about 40 PLN and takes between 3 and 4 hours. From Przemysl you take a bus to the border ('granitsa' in Polish) for 2 PLN, walk through the checkpoint and take another bus (Marshrootka) to L'viv. When you exit the final border control, walk straight ahead and you will come out on to a street which cars use to cross back in to Poland. Follow this street up past the shops and money exchanges, and take your first left. About 50 meters down on the left hand side is the new bus terminal where buses run regularly to Lviv for approximately 15 UAH (2 USD). Get your ticket from the driver.

The total cost for this route is approximately 12 Euro and maybe less if you have a student card.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Queues at the border crossings used be unpredictable and hellish, but since Schengen laws were enacted, smuggling has dropped dramatically and queues are virtually non-existent. If you do encounter a queue (occasionally tourists groups must go through 'manually') and are in a hurry, get the guards attention, explain your situation and they will more than likely let you go through immediately. Be polite! 30 minutes from Medyka to Sheheni (Шегині)by foot is now the norm.

  • There is also a direct train from Krakow to L'viv once a day, plus one with a change. This costs 195 PLN as of the 3/3/2009 booking via Polrail Service. A sleeper berth is required on the train, as only sleeping cars are carried across the border to Ukraine. DO NOT pay a cash 'reservation charge' to the Ukrainian conductor on the second train. Ensure you have your reservations for the second train in your possession and fully identifiable.
  • There are trains coming from throughout Ukraine, including multiple daily trains (including overnight trains) from Kyiv. The timings are all slightly inconvenient - the night train from Kiev gets in at 4:20am, the one back to Kiev gets there at 7am. Timetables can be found at or
  • Trains from Hungary and Slovakia come through Lviv, usually on their way to Kyiv. Train-fare from both countries is approx $80 per person for a bed in a sleeping car. On the MAV website the round-trip price from Budapest is quoted at €64.40, [ [1]] but, when contacting the international rail office by phone in Budapest, the one-way fare was quoted at 12,600 Ft ($75/€50), however, when purchased at Keleti train station the price was reduced to roughly 11,700 Ft ($62/€44) (1.1.09). Make sure to bring enough food and water for at least 12 hours (15 hours from Budapest).

Travel Note: SMUGGLING

Smuggling is a fact of life between Eastern Poland and Western Ukraine. The harsh economic situation in these two respective regions forces many into the trade, involving people of all ages. You may witness individuals unscrewing panels and pulling out plastic wrapped cigarette cartons, and may even be asked to politely move to enable access to a hidden cavity. Similarly if you decide to use the toilet you may find it blocked with cartons of cigarettes and your seat may feel uncomfortable if someone's removed the soft filling and replaced it with cigarettes. The key here is to exercise your common sense. These people are only doing their 'job' and thus should be treated with respect. There is no need for alarm! In fact it can be fascinating watching just how many cigarettes a single train carriage can hold and later watching as everything is removed on arrival in the EU. Border guards may ask you if anyone has been smuggling but the best response is to claim that you were sleeping or pretend not to understand.

UPDATE: As of mid 2009, you are only able to take 2 packets (40 cigarettes) and maximum 1 litre of spirits or wine across the border into EU states!

Update 01.01.2010 - due to german customs homepage travelling limits are extended to 200 cigarettes, 1 Liter of spirits (above 22% of alc.) OR 2 Liter of alcohol (f.e.sparkling wine below 22% alc.) AND 4 Liter of non sparkling wine AND 16 Liters of beer (Important-only valid one time per travel and for travellers, which age is above 17 years!!)

By car

From Poland: take the E40, this will end at the city center. Keep in mind that all formalities at the border take from one hour upwards. There will be a long waitingline for trucks, which you can pass if you travel by car. Don't expect the border police to treat you respectfully, or speak any language other than Ukrainian or Russian. In fact, expect the very opposite regarding both.

Ukrainian roads are bad, and Ukrainian drivers have a rough driving style. When you drive into Lviv, make sure you have a good map because getting lost in this town is very easy.

Pay close attention to speed limits (which are often badly marked, with signs far off the road, covered with branches etc.)

Be aware that corruption is widespread among Ukrainian police. When you are stopped for speeding or other violations, officers might aggressively try and extract ridiculous sums of money from you (€100 and up), offering "reductions" if you pay on the spot (the proposed alternative being some unpleasant and more expensive way, all made up). The highest actual legal fine in the Ukraine, however, is the equivalent of about $3. So if you're asked anything beyond that, demand a written ticket for you to pay later instead. Don't let them intimidate you. It's very useful to have an embassy phone number handy for these cases. If you mention that, they'll let you off the hook quicker than you know it. At any rate, write down the officers' badge numbers, rank, plate number of the police car, and notify the nearest embassy/consulate in detail, to help fight these corrupt practices.

By bus

There are daily buses from Polish cities: Warsaw, Przemyśl, Lublin, Wrocław. It is possible also to get there by bus from other European cities.

From Przemyśl there are 2 types of buses that regularly travel to L'viv. The first is the PKS (Polish Coach Buses) and the second is private buses.

The private buses are found just ouside of the train station on the opposite side from the main station. They head to the border when they are full, which takes about 20 minutes and travel to the border is about 15 minutes. The price is 2 PLN (June 2007). The bus drops you off at the foot way to the border. On the Ukraine side private buses can be taken to L'viv; these take from 2 to 3 hours, and can be found up the main road on the right. They price is around 20 UAH (June 2007); the buses are often packed and can be uncomfortable at times. It is an adventure. Prepare to be in a bus full of smugglers.

There is a daily night bus service provided by Eurobus from Krakow bus station to Lviv, departing at 21.50 from Krakow and supposed to arrive at 6.00 in Lviv (depending on delays at the border) [2]. The price is around 70 zlotys.

There is also a Euroline bus (but not every day) from Krakow, departing at 11:30 to Lwow, arriving at 21:10 [3].

Get around

Lviv has an extensive tram and mini-bus network.

  • Mini-buses (1.75 UAH) are known as marshrutky and follow a set route, but without a fixed timetable or stops. To indicate a desire to board, extend one arm as the marshrutka approaches; simply ask the driver to stop when you would like to get off.
  • Trams and trolleybuses cost 1 UAH(tickets for students are 0,5 UAH). You can purchase tickets from any news kiosk or from driver in tram. Ask for a "tramvainyi bilet". Keep in mind that if you are carrying a piece of luggage larger than a backpack you will need to purchase a second ticket for it. Once inside the tram, be sure to validate your ticket(s) by punching them in one of the metal punches mounted on the walls. An inspector may come around to check your ticket - these people do not wear uniorms but flash a little badge. It's interesting to note that mostly all of the drivers of the trams and ticket checkers are women.
  • Taxis are available throughout the city, and the city center is swarming with them at night. When they aren't equipped with a meter you must agree on a price with the driver ahead of time. It's usually cheaper when taxi do have meter.
  • Latin Cathedral
  • St.George Cathedral
  • Armenian Cathedral of 1363
  • Dormition Cathedral (Orthodox)
  • The Dominican Cathedral
  • The Bernardine Monastery
  • Jesuit Church
  • Boim's Chapel - an architectural marvel all made of black stone
  • Lychakivskiy Cemetery. There are about four hundred thousand people buried here, including Ukrainian heroes such as Ivan Franko; the park is enormous, and very pleasant to wander around on a network of variously-maintained paths. At the back of the cemetary are a moving series of recently-built war memorials, in the same style as Western World War One cemetaries, to the dead of the 1918-1921 Ukrainian civil wars.
  • Union of Lublin mound (the High Castle); from there you can see another sandy mound, which you can also climb, and which has a cross devoted to the dead of the war in Afghanistan. From that mound you can walk around the whole central hill-park of the town.
  • Market Square (Ploshcha Rynok). You can climb the tower of the town hall: go in via the main entrance, wander about until you see a sign 'вхид на вежу', then follow those signs up 103 steps to a ticket-office and up 305 more steps to the top of the tower. There's a great view of the Old Town, and this is clearly one of the romantic spots of the city: I saw a marriage-proposal there.
  • The Shevchenko Monument, donated by members of the Argentine Ukrainian diaspora, and absolutely unmistakable in the centre of town; a sculpture of the writer, and a wave-shaped monument with Ukrainian folk-art motifs rising to his side. Sometimes seems to be used by locals as a climbing-wall, but I would advise foreigners against this.
  • Lviv theater
  • Lviv University (named after Ivan Franko)
  • Lviv National Polytechnic University
  • Railway Station
  • Pharmacy Museum "Under the Black Eagle"
  • Museum of Religion an interesting museum documenting both Jewish and Christian history of L'viv at one of L'viv's biggest and most beautiful churches.
  • The L'viv Art Gallery divided into several departments the central of which is on display at Potoskiy Palace showing mainly Renaissance and Baroque European art (for Ukrainian art see National Musem). Nearby is the Palace of Arts where changing contemporary art exhibitions take place. Other interesting branches of the Lviv Gallery are the Museum of Ancient Books, Museum of Relics and Pinsel Museum (dedicated to the local Baroque wood carver).
  • The Lviv Historical Museum divided into many departmants most of which are in the old town displaying archeology, history from medievil times up to the Ukrainian struggle for nationalism, as well as jewlery and armoury.
  • The Museum of Ethnography and Crafts
  • The Lviv National Museum The main building displays Ukrainian Art from the Middle Ages up to the 19th Century. Note that the L'viv Art Gallery mainly shows foreign art in its art collections so if you are more interested in Ukrainian art you should defenitly visit this museum.
  • Open Air Museum of Folk Architecture, on the central hill about a half-hour walk from the Lychakivskiy Cemetery. This is a collection of wooden buildings from all over Western Ukraine, dismantled and reassembled here; the multi-tiered churches are the most spectacular buildings, and are all still working churches.
  • Natural History Museum
  • The History of Printing Mseum
  • Museum of Metrology
  • Panchyshyn Museum of the History of Medicine
  • Museum of Embroidered Icons
  • Brewery Museum, renovated in 2009, entrance fee 15 UAH.
  • Arsenal Museum Weapons and armour from medieval times to the beginning of 20th century.
L'viv Opera House (Svobody Ave)
L'viv Opera House (Svobody Ave)
  • Visit the Bania, a Russian style sauna for men and women (non-communal). There are a few located in L'viv and well worth the trip. The experience can be mildly confronting for the prudish Westerner, as all activities are conducted in the nude but don't worry, it is a highly civilized environment.
  • S. Krushelnytska Opera House, Svobody Ave. In the very heart of L'viv the historic opera house offers regular performances of various operas and ballets. Tickets can be purchased at the theatre cashier ("Kaca") ranging in price from 50UAH to 80UAH; a schedule of events is located at the entrance of the theatre and is available online. Even if opera and ballet is not your cup of tea, a night at the theatre is worthwhile, at the very least, to enjoy this spectacular venue.
  • Gutsulsky Dvir (Lviv restaurant), [4]. (36 Schyretska str.) is one of the most picturesque ethnic restaurants in the sity. Ukrainian ethnic cuisine, great atmosphere of wooden restaurant with lots of trees around is a mast to visit while staying in L'viv.  edit


The Ukrainian currency is known as the hryvnia (you may also hear the pronunciation "grivna"). It was introduced in 1996. The exchange did hover around 5 UAH to 1 USD, but due to the global economic downturn has dropped to between 7.5 and 8 UAH to 1 USD.

Both ATMs (known as "bankomats") and currency exchanges ("obmin valyuti") are ubiquitous throughout Lviv, particularly in the city center. Most, but not all, ATMs will accept Visa and Mastercard. Currency exchanges will often only accept foreign currency in pristine condition. Travellers' checks are not very useful in Lviv; however, there are still a few hotels and banks that will cash them for you.

Do not expect to be able to use a credit card anywhere except upscale stores, hotels and perhaps some restaurants. Hostels will certainly not take credit cards.

You should be aware that attempting to pay for something inexpensive with a large denomination (50 UAH and above) will often at the very least annoy the shopkeeper; salespeople may even refuse to sell to you if you do not have any smaller denominations. Grocery stores and other high-volume shops are an exception to this rule.



Life in L'viv is very very cheap, it's not difficult to find a place where you can have a full meal for 2 euros. The challenge is rather trying to order if you don't speak Ukrainian.

  • Olga Cafe, behind Trembita music store on Kopernika is hard to find but harder to beat. Superb Borshch.
  • Rodzinka, near the Saharova street. It's cafe with very cheap price and very pleasure personal.
  • Puzata Hata, On Sichovykh Striltsiv. Offers a cheap and hearty Ukrainian smorgasboard. This cafeteria style eatery offers an wonderful selection of traditional Ukrainian food mixed with some other cultural food found around the area.
  • Talalchik, on Sichovykh Striltsiv. Does a good, spicy chicken wrap for $3.
  • Acropolis Tavern, just off Rynok Square. A Greek casual diner that has authentic dishes such as Gyros and Souvlaki for $3. The staff speak English and may well start dancing, in traditional style, given any amount of encouragement.
  • Idalnia # 1 Gurman (Gourmet), on 7, Dorshenka. The best "price/quality" in the city!

We are cooking only from Ukrainian products!

  • Kupol One of Lviv's most stylish and sophisticated dining out options, Kupol has a touch of understated Habsburgh grandeur. Lonely Planet editor's choice. Homestyle quality for affordable prices. Located at 37 Chaikovskogo Str. (Lviv). Tel.: +38-032-2614454.
  • Kavkaz (or Kaukaz) serves up exquisite Georgian cuisine with a charming atmosphere on Zelena street. The harcho soup and fig salad will make you forget any and all past romantic disappointments.
  • Cafe 1, just off Rynok Square, in a sort of alley way, adjacent to a large, old cathedral. A very cosy cafe / casual dining restaurant that offers a varied range of modern cuisine. It has a warm atmosphere with non-smoking, and smoking, areas plus friendly and thoughtful staff.
  • Tsukerna, on pr. Staroevraiski. Does very good Viennese-style cake and coffee.
  • Pid Kelpsydroyu (Under a water clock). 5, Armenian Str. Beautiful place and tasty traditional meals. Also, includes art gallery 'Dzyga'. In the spirit of the great European art salons of the past Dzyga Cultral Centre also offers food for the body as well as food for the mind and soul. The café is easy enough to spot. Just in front of the entrance to the Dzyga Cultural Centre, at the end of Vir’menska St. you’ll see about 15 large tables with patio umbrellas crowding the street. You’ll also see the city’s sophisticated set sipping Under Clepsydra’s famous forest tea, with cigarette smoke curling languidly from their ashtrays.

Under Clepsydra actually has three sections. An indoor café/restaurant inspired by the Parisian brassarie’s of the left bank. There is both smoking and non-smoking sections, playing classic French jazz and folk music. Venture upstairs past the funky wood and brass bathrooms and you’ll find the more popular late-night section of the establishment. Ever since Dzyga’s alternative club Lyalka closed it’s doors a year ago, this bar has provided shelter for the thirsty denizens of cool.

But what really sets Dzyga apart from other Lviv hangouts is the menu. Vegetarian restaurants in Lviv are, well, non-existent, but Under Clepsydra has a vegetarian menu that is sure to please. Okay…the first item is fish, but you’ll also find a collection of fresh, meat-free dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Being a Vegetarian in Lviv isn’t easy, but at Under Clepsydra it can be pretty affordable. Potato and mushroom Crepes clock in at under 2 Euro, and fresh soups and salads are anywhere between 1-2 Euros. The best part: The menu’s are in English.

The carnivorous set has plenty of delectable options as well. Few dishes run more than 5 Euros, and entrees include duck, pork, grilled chicken, smoked salmon. Get there early enough and try their very affordable breakfast before a long day of seein’ the sights.

New York Street Pizza[5] located at 5, Sichovys Striltciv Str, 51, Volodymyra Velykogo Str, 37, Patona Str, 4, Stefanyka Str, 36, Generala Chuprynky Str, 5, Tershakovtciv Str, 59, Grushevskogo Str, 1, Valova Str, 51, Chervonoi Kalyny pr, 2, Sv. Teodora pl . Tasty pizza, soups, salats, caces and beverages.

  • The Wiener Kaffeehaus, on the main square on the right-hand side if you are facing the Opera House. This place has menus in English, English-speaking staff and a very nice atmosphere. A main course is around 3 to 4 euros, a three-course meal 6 or 7. The Wiener Schnitzel is great, so are all the soups, the breakfasts, the potato pancakes and the Apfelstrudel.
  • Amadeus has a broad European and Ukrainian menu in a 5 star environment with 4 star food and 2.5 star prices.
  • Veronica, on Prospect Svobody is both a French style cafe (upstairs) and very stylish restaurant downstairs.
  • Kavkas, on Zielena. Real Georgian feasts for a reasonable price.


The club scene in L'viv is thriving; with many options ranging from the cavernous Club Metro to the intimate and upmarket Zanzibar. There are usually entry charges but drink prices more than make up for this. In most clubs you are able to buy bottles of vodka (10 Euro) and simply chill at a table all evening.

  • Club Metro, Zelena St. 14, +38 (032) 242-07-88, [6]. Located on the outskirts of the centre of town, Metro isn’t the easiest place to spot during the day, but at night, just follow the hordes of fabulously dressed young people as they make their way to Lviv’s trendiest nightclub. But make no mistake, Metro isn’t just one of the best discos in town -- it’s three!

    This cavernous Lviv club reveals a new surprise around every corner. Entrance will probably set you back about 3 Euro and once inside the first thing you’ll see is Metro’s large disco. Here trendy young students bounce happily to mostly top 40 and pop music. A raised platform in the centre of the dance floor features male and female go-go dancers (and any brave souls who decide to join them on strange). A long bar opposite the stage provides spirits of all kinds at decent prices. Local beers, vodka and champagne are all offered by the friendly (mostly) English speaking staff. If it’s your first time at Metro, we suggest being a VIP for a night. The raised VIP section gives a great view of the entire dance floor and is available to anyone as long as they promise to ring up a reasonable bill. Not a hard thing to do with bottle service and even hookahs available for VIP guests.

    For a change of pace, head downstairs where you’ll find two more bars. One serves the techno and house room where friendly local hipsters grind and shake to a pumping beat. The other bar serves the lounge, private rooms and the hip hop dance floor where the freshest tracks from the United States and the UK lend the crowd little swagger.
    To cool off from all of the dancing, hit the giant upstairs patio with its heat lamps during winter and umbrellas for those rainy Lviv nights. When you’re all done, grab your jacket from the free coat check, head outside, say goodbye to your new friends and try to figure out how it got light out so quickly.
  • Millennium Club (Міленіум), 2 Chornovola Av., +38 (032) 240 35 91, [7]. Just a few blocks from the centre of the city Millennium Club is where Lviv’s elite go to kick up their heels after a busy day of work. This gigantic complex is Lviv nightlife at its finest. Featuring the restaurant "Tequila Bum" a casino, a state-of-the-art movie theatre, billiards and video games, it has something for everyone. But these attractions are just the warm-up for the main event. As the largest disco in Western Ukraine, Millennium is where you’ll find the city’s beautiful people getting sweaty on a massive dance floor until early the next morning.

    The entrance fee is a little steep compared to other local bars, but it rarely tops 5 Euro. Once inside, grab a table and sit back as chilled bottles of this country’s finest vodka is delivered to your table as part of Millennium’s legendary bottle service. If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep moving, sidle up to any of Millennium Club’s four expansive cocktail bars for a beer, mixed drink or shot.

    Thanks to its older more sophisticated clientele the music at Millennium Club is some of the best in the country. DJs from all over Eastern Europe come to Millennium to spin house, retro, electro and rock tunes. Ask in advance who’ll be playing so you’ll know what to expect. Speaking of what to expect, sophisticated patrons also means a dress code. Guys should be prepared to wear dress shoes, pressed slacks and a dress shirt. Ladies, Lviv girls are some of the most stylish in the world, so dress like you mean it. You might get into the club in your street clothes -- but you’ll feel out of place.
  • Picasso (Пікассо), 88 Zelena St., +38 (032) 275 32 72, [8]. If Metro and Millennium Club in Lviv cater to the hard partying type, Picasso aims to be a relaxed alternative to these venues. Picasso is located just up the road from Metro on Zelena St. in a large corner building. Getting in can be a little confusing. The friendly door staff will kindly point you to a door at the side of the building. Here you pay your entrance fee, usually between 3 and 5 Euros, and give you a ticket. Take that ticket back to the doorman, and in you go.

    The first thing you’ll notice once inside is just what made this place legendary when it opened as Lviv’s first hot spot. It features a giant vaulted ceiling with a ring of balconies surrounding the venue. Really, it looks more like a church than a club. At the far end is a massive stage, and below that, a roomy dance floor, often packed with a writhing mass of some of this city’s older student crowd. Beers here run a little bit more than your standard club, but their selection caters to a more refined pallet.

    The music and dress code here are also a bit more relaxed. Tunes range from disco to rock, with a little techno and house thrown in. One distinguishing feature of the music is volume; not cranked so loud you can’t hear yourself think, but not a library either. There is free coat check, and most patrons are dressed casually, which in Lviv means like models on their day off. The stellar lighting also makes this place a popular venue for concerts. As Lviv does not currently have a large music venue, many acts play Picasso if they can secure a night. The club also hosts private parties and events, so call ahead to make sure you can get in that night
  • Pozitiff, 14 Zelena St., +38 (032) 294 90 5, [9]. If you’ve been to Metro Club you may have noticed a long line of eager locals forming on a nearby staircase of an Internet café. It may seem strange at first glance, but insiders know that this stylish crew has the right idea. They are trying to gain access to Pozitiff -- Lviv’s trendiest lounge.

    This place is not easy to get into, and there are no guarantees that your money, passport or even begging can ensure you gain entrance. It’s all the bouncers call. Your best bet is to arrive with a small group of the most attractive people you can find. At this point the door man will either let you in, or not. If he does you’ll have negotiate an entrance fee. This cover charge usually depends on how cool and attractive your group is: The better-looking, the lower the fee. Expect to pay close to 6 Euros for entrance.

    Once inside your senses are bombarded with sounds of local DJs spinning lounge appropriate tunes, and the smell of cocktails. As entrance is so difficult, some patrons make the most of their trial, floating through the bar mingling, chatting and flirting. Others, displaying the icy confidence that got them in in the first place simply recline in their booth and radiate cool.
    No matter how you choose to play this one, the drinks are reasonably priced, you’ll find enough friendly professionals to chat with and if you need to check your email, the Internet café section remains operational even into the wee hours of a rocking party.
  • Zanzibar Cool, funky
  • Leroy Upmarket, mature crowd
  • Fashion Club Bizarre neuvo riche.

Great pubs and bars abound in L'viv but they can be hard to find, do your research as many are tired dens of misery.

  • Robert Doms Beer House While not exactly in the centre of town, Robert Doms Pub is a must visit venue for any visitor to Lviv. Follow the tree lined street of Kleparivska as it winds up and down hills until you reach the easy to spot entrance of this totally original beer hall and concert venue. It’s attached to the Lvivske Brewery. Depending on the nights festivities you may have to pay a small cover charge, but it’s well worth it, as early evening acts often include international Jazz bands, and late evening events often fall into the feverish dance music category.

Descend a flight of stairs past a charming little merchandise stand to the cavernous first room. Sit down at a long beer garten style table and order a giant stein of the Lvivske beer. The name, Robert Doms comes from the man who founded the brewery in 1715 (also the name of their signature brew). The food here is great, so even if you’ve already eaten, it’s suggested you order a salty snack from their German-style menu to accompany the delicious beer.

The pub is often open late, so make an evening here. The underground location and stone walls give Robert Doms Beer House great acoustics and an intimate feel. Or, if you’re not in the mood for music, head to the ajoining Austrian style pub room. Plush, wooden and well lit, this is a great place to watch a game of football with friends as the giant TV at the end of the room has a habit of sucking in peoples attention.

  • Kumpel Mini-brewery and a beer restauraunt on Mytna square
  • Hasova Lyampa (Kerosene Lamp) Unlike many of the best restaurants in Lviv, The Gas Lamp is quite easy to find. Located a couple blocks up Virmenska St. You’ll most likely see a man dressed in Olde Tyme regalia pacing in front of the entrance, beckoning people inside. If he’s not there another more static greeter awaits, in the form of a metal statue sitting at a desk with a… you guessed it, lit gas lamp.

Once inside you’ll find a spiral staircase ascending up three flights of dining space. Each floor is cozy, candle lit, and decorated with classic gas lamps. Gas Lamp also has one of Lviv’s best patios, in the form of their rooftop dining section. With a view of the Armenian Church steeple is the perfect place to spend a warm summers evening.

Sadly the menu’s are not in English, but the staff are friendly and will take their time to help get your order correct. While the entrees at Gas Lamp are your standard fare, the snacks that do with beer are real standouts. They are an extra big hit with the sophisticated post-work clientele who undoubtedly come here to mingle and complain about their bosses. Try the seasoned croutons, chips and a variety of dipping sauces they’re the perfect accompaniment for their wide selection of cold local brews.

  • Kult Cool underground bar
  • Kriyivka ('Bunker' in Ukrainian) You repeat the words over and over in your head as you wander through the main square. “Slava Ukrainie, slava Ukrainie, slava Ukrainie,” You repeat. The phrase means, ‘glory to Ukraine,’ and it’s your ticket to this city’s best kept entertainment secret -- an underground unmarked bar called Kryivka.

Kryivka basically means hiding place in Ukrainian and they’re not kidding. But when you do finally find it, state the password to a man toting a prop vintage machine gun, receive your shot of authentic Ukrainian medivuka, and descend the stairs into the cozy wooden dining room you’ll be glad you took the time to find it. This Ukrainian independence themed bar is decorated with artifacts from Ukraine’s valiant struggle to stay autonomous -- with guns, maps and posters lining the walls. You’ll also notice the names of dishes on the English menu harken back to a military tradition stretching back to the Austrian Empire. Culinary highlights include a half-metre long sausage, pickles soaked in honey and some of the most savory vereniky in Lviv.

There is also a bit of theatre during a dinner at Kryivka. One element of Ukrainian nationalism is the constant struggle against Russian imperialism. If you’re lucky, a “Russian spy” may have snuck in to the restaurant during dinner, and the brave staff will turn off the lights, grab a flashlight, root out this spy and serve him a healthy portion of justice. Once the intruder has been detached, celebratory live music erupts in the basement venue and locals burst into traditional songs of freedom. For the food, and for the fun, Kryivka is a can’t miss restaurant in Lviv.

  • Blue Bottle Intimate, medieval
  • Pub Filharmonia above Kult, very cool underground feel.
  • FRANZ JOSEF The twighlight zone. 24 hour outdoor freak show. See the local intelligentsia acting rather unintelligent.
  • Dublin Irish Pub Irish pub with good food, English menu. Staff no English though! While not the easiest place to find in Lviv this heavily promoted Irish style pub is both a favourite with locals as well as ex-pat patrons of the nearby Kosmonaut Hostel. You can find Dublin pub in the busy courtyard just off Doroshenka St. The name is written in Cyrillic as well as Latin, so have no fears there.

Dublin does a good job of not packing the tables in too tightly, you after you’ve grabbed a seat, don’t be shy to get up and wander around a little bit with a pint of any of their host of international beers in hand.

If you happen to be hungry, you’ll be glad to know that the menu is in English (though the staff don’t speak English), and features many of the pub favourites you would expect at home. However, you’ll find that many of these dishes have been modified slightly as local ingredients are substituted for traditional ones. Most dishes are reasonably priced and quite tasty. If you are feeling homesick, this is a good cure. If football is your thing, Dublin Pub spares no expense. If there is a game on, anywhere in the world, chances are Dublin Pub will be showing it live. However, if your side happens to be playing at the same time as any of Ukraine’s club, or national teams you might want swallow your pride and join in, as you’re not likely to find anyone here who will permit you to change the channel.

  • Korzo Irish Pub Though it may sometimes seem like it, not every bar or restaurant in Lviv has some kind of theme or hook, and Korzo Pub is one of these places. Located in the narrow Brativ Rohatinskiv street just off the main Rynok, Korzo is as close to your local pub as you’ll find in Lviv. Nothing too fancy here, just an oak bar, brass taps and well worn tables that have eavesdropped on hundreds of conversations, arguments and romantic encounters.

The menu is actually one of the more familiar ones in the city, so if you are looking for a little taste of home this is probably your best bet. Korzo also has a great selection of international spirits, so if you’re the kind of person who needs a shot of tequila to get the night going, this is your place. As the beer flows, you might want to try the fish soup, hearty and robust, locals say it is the perfect ballast to prevent a hangover the next morning. If quenching your thirst on a sunny afternoon of exploring is your goal, Korzo has just installed on of Lviv’s largest patios. With plenty of tables and shelter from the glorious sunshine, or menacing thunderstorm (it’s really either, or, in this city) the patio makes for pure people watching pleasure.


L'viv has a variety of hotels, hostels and apartments to suit all budgets and needs.

  • Host Families Association (HOFA), [10]. Based in St. Petersburg, HOFA will find you accommodations with an English-speaking host family. From €19..  edit


The hostel scene is quite new in L'viv so be sure to check reviews of hostels using well known booking agents and forums.

  • The Kosmonaut Hostel, Sichovykh Striltsiv 8/5 (2 km from train station, in the city centre), +380322601602 (), [11]. 38 beds, 24 hour reception, English speaking staff. Free Internet, Wi-Fi, breakfast, tea, coffee, washing machine, rated the Best Hostel in Ukraine by 2008. For good reason too. With a central location, hot powerful showers and a friendly common room perfect for meeting other travellers, this hostel has it all. Staff are very helpful. From €8(21/5/2009).  edit
  • Old Ukrainian Home Hostel, 12 Lepkogo (Лепкого) street, +380322727611 (), [12]. checkout: 11:00. Located in the centre of the city near the Lviv National University. Chamber hostel -- 20 beds, English, Spanish, Russian speaking staff, Free internet ,Wi-Fi, touristic information, free maps, breakfast, coffee & tea, linens & towels included , laundry. Old ukrainian interior style, excellent reviews. From € 6,99..  edit
  • Rynok Square Apartment, 16 Rynok Square (Right on the main Old Town square across from main entrance to Lviv Town Hall), (), [13]. checkin: flexible; checkout: flexible. Modern, clean and most central, seconds from Lviv's cafes and most attractions. Includes king size double bed and additional single bed optional. Free tea, coffee, kitchen self catering, washing machine and powder, microwave, TV, bedding, towels. Minimum stay 2 nights. Discounts for stays over 3 nights. Friendly owner speaks English, Polish, Ukrainian, can arrange transfers within Ukraine and Poland. €20 per person.  edit
  • Hotel Lviv. Just off the main strip, two blocks north of the Opera. Inexpensive, no-frills, unfriendly, mainly 1-2 person rooms, many with nice views of Lviv center - pick the ones facing the street (obviously). There is also a restaurant/bar and a currency exchange kiosk inside the lobby.  edit
  • Hotel Volter, Lipinskogo 60a, +380 32 294 88 88, [14]. $70-$250..  edit
  • Hotel Dnister (Дністер), Mateyka st. 6, +380 32 297 43 1, [15]. $80-$260.  edit
  • Hotel NTON, Shevchenka 154b, +380 32 233 71 72, [16]. $60-$230.  edit
  • Hotel George (Жорж), Pl. Mickiewicz 1, +380 322 725 952, [18]. Only some rooms have private bathrooms (from $73). $38-$121.  edit
  • Lion's Castle Hotel (Готель Замок Лева), Glinka str. 7, +380 (32) 297-15-63 (), [20]. $80-$160 (breakfast included).  edit
  • Opera Leopolis (Готель Леополіс), Teatralna Str. 17. Prestigious Leopolis Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of the city center.  edit
  • Grand Hotel (Гранд Готель), pl. Svobody 13, +380 322 724 042 (), [21]. Absolutely central - right in front of the Teras Shevchenko statue. $126-$360 (breakfast included).  edit


The dialing code for Lviv is +380 32(2). The telephone system was recently modified; thus, to dial 6-digit numbers, use the city prefix 322, but for 7-digit numbers, use only 32.

All calls to and from cell phones are treated as long distance calls. Thus, you must dial an 8 followed by the city/mobile prefix, followed by the phone number. Some frequent mobile prefixes are 050, 067, 066, 096, and 097. The main mobile operators are Kyivstar, Beeline, and UMC. You can buy a SIM card or a balance replenishment card at many stores throughout Lviv.

Internet cafes are plentiful. Centrally located is Chorny Media on Krova Lipa.

Stay safe

Ukrainian cities are not as dangerous as they may seem, though a bit more precaution is required. Common tricks include impersonating a police officer. In doubt ask an officer or tell him you're not following him. The first thing they try is to get you out of the tourists places in to areas where they can 'acquire' a fine. Openly robbing you or pick-pocketing happens less as the risks are bigger.


It is essential to learn some Ukrainian before visiting, or at the very least, learn the Cyrillic alphabet. Everyone can also read, speak and write in Russian and aren't so prickly about it, although they'd apreciate that you learn a few basic phrases in Ukrainian as well. Learn the Cyrillic alphabet (both the Russian and Ukrainian versions) way in advance until you can write words with perfection, as many do not know the Latin alphabet. German and, especially, Polish (as Lvov used to part of Poland) is spoken well among people with mature memories of the interwar era.

People selling you tickets at the train station will most likely not speak anything other than Ukrainian or Russian and may have no patience nor sympathy for you. (Neither will the people waiting behind you in line). If you speak Polish then surviving in Lviv shouldn't be a problem, as many people understand some Polish. Some sales people will not know the Latin alphabet, so make sure to carry a small note with your name written in Cyrillic! Queues in Ukraine tend to be a chaotic mess, especially at stations. Assert your place with an elbow and mean stare, because everyone else will, including the fifteen babushki pushing you to the side. Make sure you get in the line for foreigners when you want to buy train tickets. No, the cashier will NOT speak English, but if you know the details of the train you want, just write them down! But if you go to a different line they'll just tell you to go to the foreigner's line, and then you will have wasted a lot of time waiting for nothing.

Get out

There are many possible day trips from Lviv. Some options include nearby monasteries Krekhiv and Univ; the beautiful Carpathian mountains and their accompanying ski resorts are also not far.

For people who want to head south to Transylvania: it's best done jumping buses to Chernivtsi (stay a day for forensing to lovely Kamyanets-Podilsky with ancient castle), then to Suceava, Bacau and finally Brasov. The latter bustrips take about 4 hrs each, while the first is a bumpy 6,5 hrs ride.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Alternative spellings

  • L’viv


From Ukrainian Львів (L’viv) < Old East Slavic Лвовъ (Lvovъ) or Львовъ (L’vovъ), originally named after the founder's son, Лев (Lev), Lev I of Galicia (ca. 1228 – ca. 1301).

Compare Belarusian Львоў (L’voŭ), Polish Lwów, Russian Львов (L’vov), Slovak L'vov. Also compare Old East Slavic Льва город (L’va górod), Lev's city), Greek Λεόπολις (Leopolis) or Λεοντόπολις (Leontopolis), Latin Leopolis, German Lemberg.

Proper noun




  1. A medieval city in western Ukraine, administrative centre of Lviv province.
  2. Lviv province (oblast), in western Ukraine.


  • L’vov, Lvov
  • Lwów, Lwow
  • Lemberg (historical)
  • Leopolis (historical)
  • (province): Lviv Oblast


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|150px|Coat of arms of Lviv]]

File:UKR Lviv
A map of the Ukraine with Lviv shown in red

Lviv (Ukrainian: Львів) is the capital city of Lviv Oblast in Ukraine. 860,000 people live in Lviv.[1] 88% of the people living there are Ukrainian, 8% are Russian, and 1% are Polish. An extra 200,000 people commute to Lviv every day for work.

During the city's history, it was ruled by many countries. When part of Poland it was called Lwów (pronounced and sometimes spelled Lvov). In German, it was known as Lemberg, that was part of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Empires and again under Nazi German occupation. From 1200 until 1945 it belonged to Poland.


  1. [1] 2001 estimate. URL accessed on June 20, 2006


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