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"Lwów", "Lvov", and "Lemberg" redirect here. For other uses, see Lwów (ship), Lvov (disambiguation), and Lemberg (disambiguation).
Old Town of Lviv.

Motto: "Semper fidelis"

Map of Ukraine (blue) with Lviv (red) highlighted.

Coordinates: 49°51′0″N 24°01′0″E / 49.85000°N 24.01667°E / 49.85000; 24.01667Coordinates: 49°51′0″N 24°01′0″E / 49.85000°N 24.01667°E / 49.85000; 24.01667

Country  Ukraine
Oblast Lviv Oblast
Raion Lviv City Municipality
Founded 1240-1247
Magdeburg law 1356
 • Mayor Andriy Sadovyi
 • Total 182.01 km2 (70.27 sq mi)
Elevation 296 m (971 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 729,842[1]
 • Density 4,298/km2 (11,130/sq mi)
 • Demonym Leopolitan
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, Lublin, Novi Sad, Przemyśl, Saint Petersburg, Whitstable, Winnipeg, Wolfsburg, Rochdale
Website (Ukrainian)

Lviv (Ukrainian: Львів L’viv, IPA: [lʲviu̯]; Polish: Lwów, IPA: [lvuf];[2] German: Lemberg, Russian: Львов Lvov) is a city in western Ukraine, that was once a major population center of the Halych-Volyn Principality, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, the Habsburg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, and later the capital of Lwów Voivodeship during Second Polish Republic.

Formerly capital of the historical region of Galicia, Lviv is now regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine. The historical heart of Lviv with its old buildings and cobblestone roads has survived Soviet and Nazi occupation during World War II largely unscathed. The city has many industries and institutions of higher education such as Lviv University and Lviv Polytechnic. Lviv is also a home to many world-class cultural institutions, including a philharmonic orchestra and the famous 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.

The archaeological traces of settlement in place of Lviv city, date as early as the 5th century. The archaeological excavations in 1977 proved the existence of Lendian settlement from between the 8th and 10th century. In 1031 Lviv was reconquered from Mieszko II Lambert King of Poland by prince Yaroslav the Wise. The city of Lviv was rebuilt after invasion of Batu Khan in 1240 by King Daniel of Rurik Dynasty, ruler of the medieval Ruthenian kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, and named after his son, Lev.

The first record belongs to the chronicles mentioning Lviv in 1256. In 1340 Galicia and Lviv were incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland by King Casimir III the Great as inheritance after prince Bolesław Jerzy II of Mazovia. In 1356, Lviv received Magdeburg Rights from King Casimir III the Great. Lviv belonged to the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland till 1772. Because of subsequent Partitions of Poland, Lviv had been occupied by the Austrian Empire till 1918. After World War I, from 1918 till the Soviet invasion in 1939, the city of Lviv was the capital of Lwów Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic. On July 22, 1944 Lviv was liberated from Nazi occupation by Armia Krajowa after the successful Lwów Uprising.

Since the 15th century the city acted as a major Polish and later also as a Jewish cultural center; with Poles and Jews comprising a demographic majority of the city until the outbreak of World War II, the Holocaust, and the population transfers of Poles that followed. The other ethnicities living within the city, Germans, Ruthenians (Ukrainians), and Armenians, also greatly contributed to Lviv's culture. With the joint German-Soviet Invasion of Poland at the outbreak of World War II, the city of Lwów and Lwów Voivodeship were annexed by the Soviet Union and occupied by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1939 to 1941. Between July 1941 and July 1944 Lwów was under German occupation and was located in the General Government. In July 1944 it was captured by the Soviet Red Army. According to the agreements of the Yalta Conference, Lwów was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR, most of the Poles living in Lwów were deported into lands newly acquired from Germany under terms of the Potsdam Agreement (officially termed Recovered Territories in Poland), and the city became the main centre of the western part of Soviet Ukraine, inhabited predominantly by Ukrainians with a significant Russian minority.

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

On 12 June 2009 the Ukrainian magazine Focus judged Lviv the best Ukrainian city to live in.[3] Its more Western European flavor lends it the nickname the "Little Paris of Ukraine". The city expected a sharp increase in the number of foreign visitors for the UEFA Euro 2012, and as a result a major new airport terminal was being built. Lviv was one of 8 Polish and Ukrainian cities that co-hosted the group stages of the tournament.


Besides its Ukrainian name, the city is also known under several other names in different languages - German: Lemberg; Yiddish: לעמבערגLemberg or לעמבעריקLemberik; Russian: Львов, L'vov; see also other names.



Lviv is located on the edge of the Roztochia Upland, approximately 70 km (43 mi) from the Polish border and 160 kilometres (99 miles) from the eastern Carpathian Mountains. The average altitude of Lviv is 296 metres (971.13 feet) 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 Lviv Opera House.

The city of Lviv is crossed by one of the longest land integer meridians 24° of East longitude in the Eastern Hemisphere (East of Greenwich). According to calculations conducted by Dr. Hirnyj, this meridian crosses 3,263 km (2,028 mi) of European, 7,346 km (4,565 mi) of African and 2,185 km (1,358 mi) of Antarctic ice-covered land including islands, which sums up to 12,794 km (7,950 mi). This is only 241 km (150 mi) shorter than the extent of land crossed by the longest land integer meridian 22° of East longitude.[4] The integer meridians 22° to 28° (inclusive) of East longitude constitute the group of seven longest integer meridians covered with land by more than 63%.


Lviv's climate is humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with cold winters and mild summers.[4] The average temperatures are −3.1 °C (26 °F) in January and 18.3 °C (65 °F) in July.[5] The average annual rainfall is 745 mm (29 in) with the maximum being in summer.[5] Lviv approximately receives 1809 hours of sunshine annually.[6]


Main article: History of Lviv


Archaeologists have demonstrated that the Lviv area was settled by the 5th century.[7] This fact places this settlement within the territory of once powerful state of White Chroatia. From the 9th century in the area of present-day Lviv, between Castle Hill and the river Poltva, there existed a Lendian settlement – in the 10th century the Lendians established a fortified settlement on Castle Hill.[8] In 1977 it was discovered that the Orthodox church of St. Nicholas had been built on a previously functioning cemetery.[9] In 981, the Cherven Towns area was captured by Vladimir I and fell under the rule of Kievan Rus.

Halych-Volyn Principality

Lviv was founded by King Daniel of Galicia in the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia and named in honour of his son Lev.[10]

In 1261 the town was invaded by the Tatars.[11] Various sources relate the events which range from destruction of the castle through to a complete razing of the town. All the sources agree that it was on the orders of the Mongol general Burundai. The Naukove tovarystvo im. Shevchenka of the Shevchenko Scientific Society say that the order to raze the city was reduced by Burundai; the Galician-Volhynian chronicle states that in 1261 "Said Buronda to Vasylko: 'Since you are at peace with me then raze all your castles'".[12] Basil Dmytryshyn states that the order was implied to be the fortifications as a whole "If you wish to have peace with me, then destroy [all fortifications of] your towns".[13] According to the Universal-Lexicon der Gegenwart und Vergangenheit the town's founder was ordered to destroy the town himself.[14]

After King Daniel's death, King Lev rebuilt the town around the year 1270 at its present location, choosing Lviv as his residence,[11] and made Lviv the capital of Galicia-Volhynia.[15] The city is first mentioned in the Halych-Volhynian Chronicle regarding the events that were dated 1256. The town grew quickly due to an influx of Polish people from Kraków, Poland, after they had suffered a widespread famine there.[14] Around 1280 many Armenians lived in Galicia and were mainly based in Lviv where they had their own Archbishop.[16] The town was inherited by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1340 and ruled by voivode Dmitri Detko, the favourite of the Lithuanian prince Lubart, until 1349.[17]

Galicia–Volhynia Wars

During the wars over the succession of Galicia-Volhynia Principality in 1339 King Casimir III of Poland undertook an expedition and conquered Lviv in 1340, burning down the old princely castle.[11] Poland ultimately gained control over Lviv and the adjacent region in 1349. From then on the population was subjected to attempts to both Polonize and Catholicize the population.[18]

Casimir built two new castles.[11] In 1356 he brought in German colonists 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.

After Casimir had died in 1370, he was succeeded as king of Poland by his nephew, King Louis I of Hungary, who in 1372 put Lviv together with the region of Galicia-Volhynia under the administration of his relative Władysław, Duke of Opole.[11] When in 1387 Władysław retreated from the post of its governor, Galicia-Volhynia became occupied by the Hungarians, but soon Jadwiga, the youngest daughter of Louis, but also ruler of Poland and wife of King of Poland Władysław II Jagiełło, unified it directly with the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland.[11]

Kingdom of Poland

As part of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland Lviv (Polish Lwów) became the capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship founded in 1389. The city's prosperity during the following centuries is owed to the trade privileges granted to it by Casimir, Jadwiga and the subsequent Polish kings.[11]

In 1412 the city became the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, which since 1375 had been in Halych.[11] In 1444 it was granted with the staple right, which resulted in city's growing prosperity and wealth, as it became one of major trading centres on the merchant routes between Central Europe and Black Sea region. It was also transformed into one of the main fortresses of the kingdom.

As the city prospered it became religiously and ethnically diverse with Germans, Poles, Ukrainians (Ruthenians), Armenians and Jews being the most important ethnicities living within the city. With passing time many had become polonized and assimilated into the dominant Polish culture.

In 1572 one of the first publishers of books in Ukraine, Ivan Fedorov, a graduate of the University of Kraków, settled here for a brief period. The city became a significant centre for Eastern Orthodoxy with the establishment of an Orthodox brotherhood, a Greek-Slavonic school and a printer which published the first full versions of the Bible in Church Slavonic in 1580.

A Jesuit Collegium was founded in 1608, and on January 20, 1661 King John II Casimir Vasa of Poland issued a decree granting it "the honour of the academy and the title of the university".[19]

The 17th century brought invading armies of Swedes, Hungarians,[20][21] Turks,[22][23] Russians and Cossacks[21] to its gates. In 1648 an army of Cossacks and Crimean Tatars besieged the town. The city was not sacked due to its beauty and the fact that the leader of the revolution Bohdan Khmelnytsky studied there and did not want to see it ruined. As a result a ransom of 250,000 ducats was paid and the Cossacks marched west towards Zamość. It was the only major city in Poland which was not captured during the so-called Deluge.

In 1672 it was surrounded 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 short siege. The plague of the early 18th century caused the death of about 10,000 inhabitants (40% of the city's population).[24]

Habsburg Empire

In 1772, following the First Partition of Poland, the region was annexed by Austria. Known in German as Lemberg, the city became the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. The city grew dramatically under Austrian rule, increasing in population from approximately 30,000 at the time of Austrian annexation in 1772[25] to 206,100 by 1910.[26] In the late 18th and early 19th centuries a large influx of Germans and German-speaking Czech bureacrats altered gave the city a character that by the 1840s was quite German, in its orderliness and in the appearance and popularity of German coffeehouses.[27]

In 1773, the first newspaper in Lviv, Gazette de Leopoli, began to be published. In 1784, a German language University was opened; after closing again in 1805, it was re-opened in 1817. German became the language of instruction.[27]

In the 19th century, the Austrian administration attempted to Germanise the city's educational and governmental functioning. 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 include Ukrainian and Polish. Around that time, a certain sociolect developed in the city known as the Lwów dialect. Considered to be a type of Polish dialect, it draws its roots from numerous other languages besides 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.

After the so-called Ausgleich of February 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into a dualist Austria-Hungary and a slow yet steady process of liberalisation of Austrian rule in Galicia started. From 1873, Galicia was de facto an autonomous province of Austria-Hungary with Polish and Ukrainian or Ruthenian, as official languages. Germanisation was halted and the censorship lifted as well. Galicia was subject to the Austrian part of the Dual Monarchy, but the Galician Sejm and provincial administration, both established in Lviv, had extensive privileges and prerogatives, especially in education, culture, and local affairs. The city started to grow rapidly, becoming the 4th largest in Austria-Hungary, according to the census of 1910. Many Belle Époque public edifices and tenement houses were erected, the buildings from the Austrian period, such as the opera theater built in the Viennese neo-Renaissance style, still dominate and characterize much of the centre of the city.

During Habsburg rule, Lviv became one of the most important Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish cultural centres. In Lviv, according to the Austrian census of 1910, which listed religion and language, 51% of the city's population were Roman Catholics, 28% Jews, and 19% belonged to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Linguistically, 86% of the city's population used the Polish language and 11% preferred the Ukrainian language.[26] Lviv was home to:

  • the Polish Ossolineum, with the second largest collection of Polish books in the world,
  • the Polish Academy of Arts,
  • the Polish Historical Society,
  • the Polish Theatre and Polish Archdiocese.

At the same time, the city also housed the largest and most influential Ukrainian institutions in the world, including the Prosvita society dedicated to spreading literacy in the Ukrainian language, the Shevchenko Scientific Society, the Dniester Insurance Company and base of the Ukrainian cooperative movement, and it served as the seat of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Lviv was also a major centre of Jewish culture, in particular as a centre of the Yiddish language, and was the home of the world's first Yiddish-language daily newspaper, the Lemberger Togblat, established in 1904.[28]

In the early stage of World War I, Lviv was captured by the Russian army in September 1914 but retaken by Austria–Hungary in June the following year. Lviv and its population therefore suffered greatly during the world war as many of the offensives were fought across its local geography causing significant collateral damage and disruption.

Polish-Ukrainian War

Further information: Polish-Ukrainian War

After the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy at the end of World War I Lviv became an arena of battle between the local Polish population and the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen. Both nations perceived the city as integral part of their new statehoods which at that time were forming in the former Austrian territories. On the night of 31 October – 1 November 1918 the Western Ukrainian National Republic was proclaimed with Lviv as its capital. 2,300 Ukrainian soldiers from the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (Sichovi Striltsi), which had previously been a corps in the Austrian Army, took control over Lviv. The city's Polish majority opposed the Ukrainian declaration and began to fight against the Ukrainian troops.[29] During this combat an important role was taken by young Polish city defenders called Lwów Eaglets.

The Ukrainian forces withdrew outside Lviv's confines by 21 November 1918, after which elements of Polish soldiery begun to loot and burn much of the Jewish and Ukrainian quarters of the city, killing approximately 340 civilians (see: Lwów pogrom (1918)).[30] The retreating Ukrainian forces besieged the city. The Sich riflemen reformed into the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA). The Polish forces aided from central Poland, including general Haller's Blue Army, equipped by the French, relieved the besieged city in May 1919 forcing the UHA to the east.

Despite Entente mediation attempts to cease hostilities and reach a compromise between belligerents the Polish–Ukrainian War continued until July 1919 when the last UHA forces withdrew east of the river Zbruch. The border on the river Zbruch was confirmed at the Treaty of Warsaw, when in April 1920 the Polish government signed an agreement with Symon Petlura where it was agreed that for military support against the Bolsheviks the Ukrainian People's Republic renounced its claims to the territories of Eastern Galicia.

In August 1920 Lviv was attacked by the Red Army under the command of Aleksandr Yegorov and Stalin during the Polish-Soviet War but the city repelled the attack.[31] For the courage of its inhabitants Lviv was awarded the Virtuti Militari cross by Józef Piłsudski on 22 November 1920. Polish sovereignty over Lviv was internationally recognised when the Council of Ambassadors ultimately approved it in March 1923.

Interbellum period

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—after Warsaw, it was the second most important cultural and academic centre of interwar Poland. For example, in 1920 professor Rudolf Weigl of the Lwów University discovered the vaccine against typhus. Further, Lviv's geographic location gave it an important role in stimulating international trade and fostering city's and Poland's economic development. The major trade fair called Targi Wschodnie was established in 1921. In the academic year 1937–38 there were 9,100 students attending five higher education facilities including the renowned university and institute of technology.[32]

While about two-thirds of the city's inhabitants were Poles, some of who spoke the characteristic Lwów dialect, the eastern part of the Lwów Voivodeship had a relative Ukrainian majority in most of its rural areas. Although Polish authorities obliged themselves internationally to provide Eastern Galicia with an autonomy (including a creation of a separate Ukrainian university in Lviv) and even though in September 1922 adequate Polish Sejm's Bill[33] was enacted, it was not fulfilled. Instead, the Polish government closed down many Ukrainian schools that had previously flourished during Austrian rule[34] and closed down every Ukrainian university department at the University of Lviv with the exception of one.[35] Prewar Lviv also had a large and thriving Jewish community, which constituted about a quarter of the population.

Unlike in Austrian times, when the size and amount of public parades or other cultural expressions corresponded to each cultural group's relative population, the Polish government emphasized the Polish nature of the city and limited public displays of Jewish and Ukrainian culture. Military parades and commemorations of battles at particular streets within the city, all celebrating the Polish forces who fought against the Ukrainians in 1918, became frequent, and in the 1930s a vast memorial monument and burial ground of Polish soldiers from that conflict was built in the city's Lychakiv Cemetery. The Polish government fostered the idea of Lviv as an eastern Polish outpost standing strong against eastern "hordes."[36]

World War II and Soviet occupation

Further information: Battle of Lwów (1939)

Following the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and by 14 September Lviv was completely encircled by German units.[37] Subsequently the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September. The Soviet Union annexed the eastern part of Second Polish Republic including the city of Lviv which capitulated to the Red Army on 22 September 1939. The city (named Lvov in Russian) became the capital of the newly formed Lviv Oblast. The Soviets opened many Ukrainian-language schools that had been closed by the Polish government[38] and Ukrainian was reintroduced in the University of Lviv (where the Polish government had banished it during the interwar years), which became thoroughly Ukrainized and renamed after Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko.[39] The Soviets also started repressions against local Poles and Ukrainians deporting many of the citizens into the Asiatic part of the USSR or gulags. Waves of deportations started with the Poles followed by the Jews who had refused Soviet passports and then the Ukrainian nationalists.

German occupation

On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany and several of its allies invaded 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, with arriving Wehrmacht forces easily discovering evidence of the Soviet mass murders in the city[40] committed by the NKVD and NKGB. Ukrainian nationalists, organized as a militia, and the civilian population were allowed to take revenge on the "Jews and the Bolsheviks" and indulged in several mass killings in Lviv and the surrounding region, which resulted in the deaths estimated at between 4,000 and 10,000 Jews. On 30 June 1941 Yaroslav Stetsko proclaimed in Lviv the Government of an independent Ukrainian state allied with Nazi Germany. This was done without pre-approval from the Germans and after 15 September 1941 the organisers were arrested.[41][42][43]

The Sikorski–Mayski Agreement signed in London on 30 July 1941 between Polish government-in-exile and USSR's government invalidated the September 1939 Soviet-German partition of Poland, as the Soviets declared it null and void.[44] Meanwhile German-occupied Eastern Galicia at the beginning of August 1941 was incorporated into the General Government as Distrikt Galizien with Lviv as district's capital. German policy towards the Polish population in this area was as harsh as in the rest of the General Government. Germans during the occupation of the city committed numerous atrocities including the killing of Polish university professors in 1941. German nazis viewed the Ukrainian Galicians, former inhabitants of Austrian Crown Land, as to some point more aryanised and civilised than the Ukrainian population living in the territories belonging to the USSR before 1939. As a result they escaped the full extent of German acts in comparison to Ukrainians who lived to the east, in the German-occupied Soviet Ukraine turned into the Reichskommissariat Ukraine.[45]

According to the Third Reich's racial policies local Jews then became the main target of German repressions in the region. Following German occupation, the Jewish population was concentrated in the Lwów Ghetto established in the city's Zamarstynów (today Zamarstyniv) district, and the Janowska concentration camp was also set up. In 1931 there were 75,316 Yiddish speaking inhabitants, but by 1941 approximately 100,000 Jews were present in Lviv.[46] The majority of these Jews were either killed within the city or deported to Belzec extermination camp. In the summer of 1943, on the orders of Heinrich Himmler, SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel was tasked with the destruction of any evidence of Nazi mass murders in the Lviv area. On 15 June Blobel, using forced labourers from Janowska, dug up a number of mass graves and incinerated the remains.[47] Later, on 19 November 1943, inmates at Janowska staged an uprising and attempted a mass escape. A few succeeded, but most were recaptured and killed. The SS staff and their local auxiliaries then, at the time of the Janowska camp's liquidation, murdered at least 6,000 more inmates, as well as Jews in other forced labour camps in Galicia. By the end of the war the Jewish population of the city was virtually eliminated, with only around 200 to 800 survivors remaining.[48][49]

Soviet re-occupation

After the successful Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive of 22–24 July 1944, the Soviet 3rd Tank Army recaptured Lviv, with cooperation from the local Armia Krajowa resistance (see: Lwów Uprising). Soon thereafter, 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. Later, in January 1945, the local NKVD also arrested many Poles in Lviv (which, according to Soviet sources, still had a clear Polish majority of 66.7% as of 1 October 1944) to encourage their emigration from their city. Those arrested were released after they signed papers agreeing to emigrate to Poland, whose postwar borders were then moved westwards according to the Yalta conference settlements, with Lviv left within the borders of the Soviet Union. On 16 August 1945, a border agreement[50] between the government of the Soviet Union and the Provisional Government of National Unity, installed by the Soviets, was signed in Moscow. In that treaty, 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 was ratified on 5 February 1946.

Soviet Union

In February 1946, Lviv became a part of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that from 100,000 to 140,000 Poles were resettled from the city into the so-called Recovered Territories as a part of postwar population transfers, many of them to the area of newly acquired Wrocław, formerly the German city of Breslau. Little remains of Polish culture in Lviv except for the Italian-influenced architecture.[51] The Polish history of Lviv is still well remembered in Poland and those Poles who stayed in Lviv have formed their own organisation the Association of Polish Culture of the Lviv Land.

Expulsion of the Polish population together with migration from Ukrainian-speaking rural areas around the city and from other parts of the Soviet Union altered the ethnic composition of the city. The remaining population, mostly Ukrainian, was subjected to forced Sovietisation. Immigration from Russia and Russian-speaking regions of Eastern Ukraine was encouraged. Despite this, Lviv remained a major center of dissident movement in Ukraine and played a key role in Ukraine's independence in 1991.

In the 1950s and 1960s the city significantly expanded both in population and size mostly due to the city's rapidly growing industrial base. Due to the fight of SMERSH with the guerrilla formations of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army the city obtained a nickname with a negative connotation of Banderstadt as the City of Stepan Bandera. The word stadt was added instead of the common Slavic grad to imply alienation. Over the years the residents of the city found this so ridiculous that even people not familiar with Bandera accepted it as a sarcasm in reference to the Soviet perception of western Ukraine. In the period of liberalisation from the Soviet system in the 1980s the city became the centre of political movements advocating Ukrainian independence from the USSR. By the time of the fall of the Soviet Union the name became a proud mark for the Lviv natives culminating in the creation of a local rock band under the name Khloptsi z Bandershtadtu (Boys from Banderstadt).[52]

Independent Ukraine

Citizens of Lviv strongly supported Viktor Yushchenko during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election and played a key role in the Orange Revolution. Hundreds of thousands of people would gather in freezing temperatures 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.[53] Lviv remains today one of the main centres of Ukrainian culture and the origin of much of the nation's political class.


Language use 1931-1989
Language 1931 1970 1979 1989
Ukrainian  11.3%  65.2%  71.3%  77.2%
Russian    31.1%  25.7%  19.9%
Yiddish  24.1%      
Polish  63.5%      
Other  1.1%  3.7%  3.0%  2.9%
Population structure by religion 1869-1931
Religion 1869[54] 1890[55] 1900[56] 1910[57] 1921[57] 1931[58]
Roman Catholic 53.1% 52.6% 51.7% 51% 51% 50.4%
Jewish 30.6% 28.2% 27.7% 28% 35% 31.9%
Greek Catholic 14.2% 17.1% 18.3% 19% 12% 15.9%
  • 1405: approx. 4,500 inhabitants in the old town, and additionally approx. 600 in the two suburbs.[59]
  • 1544: approx. 3,000 inhabitants in the old town (number had decreased by about 30% due to the fire of 1527), and additionally approx. 2,700 in the suburbs.[59]
  • 1840: approx. 67,000 inhabitants, including 20,000 Jews.[60]
  • 1850: nearly 80,000 inhabitants (together with the four suburbs), including more than 25,000 Jews.[61]
  • 1869: 87,109 inhabitants, among them 46,252 Roman Catholics, 26,694 Jews, 12,406 members of the Greek Uniate Churches.[54]
Population makeup by ethnicity 1900-2001[58][62][63][64]
Ethnicity 1900 1931 1944 1950 1959 1979 1989 2001
Ukrainians 19.9% 15.9% 26.4% 49.9% 60.0% 74.0% 79.1% 88.1%
Russians 0.0% 0.2% 5.5% 31.2% 27.0% 19.3% 16.1% 8.9%
Jews 26.5% 31.9% 6.4% 6.0% 2.7% 1.6% 0.3%
Poles 49.4% 50.4% 63% 10.3% 4.0% 1.8% 1.2% 0.9%
  • 1939: 340.000 inhabitants.[66]
  • 1940: 500,000.[63]
  • July 1944: 149,000.[63]
  • 1955: 380,000.[63]
  • 2001: 725,000 inhabitants, of whom 88 percent were Ukrainians, 9 percent Russians and 1 percent Poles.[67] A further 200,000 people commuted daily from suburbs.
  • 2007: 735,000 inhabitants.

Ethnic population
of Lviv (2001)

Ukrainians 88.1%
Russians 8.9%
Poles 0.9%
Belarusians 0.4%
Jews 0.3%
Armenians 0.1%

Ethnicity in 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%)
Belarusians 5,800 (0.7%)
Armenians 1,000 (0.1%)
Total 778,557

Numbers do not include regions
and surrounding towns

51.5% women
48.5% men
  • By place of birth:[68]
56% born in Lviv
19% born in Lviv oblast
11% born in Ukraine, but in the East
07% born in the former republics of the USSR (Russia 4%)
04% born in Poland
03% born in Western Ukraine, but not in Lviv oblast
  • Religious adherence: (2001) [68]
45% Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
31% Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate
05% Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
03% Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
03% Other faiths
  • 2000: about 80 percent of Lviv's inhabitants were primarily Ukrainian-speaking.[69]
  • Lviv residents live 75 years on average and this age is 7 years longer than the average age in Ukraine and 8 years more than the world average (68 years). In 2010 the average life expectancy was 71 among men and 79.5 years among women.[70]

The fertility ratio was increasing in 2001-2010. Although the birth rates have been improved for the last years, the effects of low fertility in the past are inevitable. As a result, there is an acute shortage of young people under the age of 25. In 2011, 13.7% of Lviv's population consisted of young people under 15 years and 17.6% of persons aged 60 years and over.[71]


Year Poles  % Total
1921 [65] 112,000 51 219,400
1989 9,500[72] 1.2[67] 790,908[73]
2001[67] 6,400 0.9 725,200

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.

Lviv was depolonised mainly through Soviet-arranged population exchange from 1944–46.[74] Those that remained found themselves having lost their state status and becoming an ethnic minority. By 1959 Poles made up only 4% of the population after Ukrainians, Russians and Jews.[74] The Polish population underwent significant assimilation; in 1989 40% considered Ukrainian as their mother tongue, 15% Russian.[74] During Soviet times two Polish schools continued to function: № 10 (with 8 grades) and № 24 (with 10 grades).[74]

In the 1980s the process of uniting groups into ethnic associations was allowed. In 1988 a Polish language newspaper was allowed («Gazeta Lwowska»).[75] The Polish population of the city continues to use the dialect of the Polish language known as Lwów dialect (Polish: gwara lwowska).[75]


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 trade, science and culture.[76] Apart from the Rabbinate Jews there were many Karaites who had settled 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 Turkic Karaite community. Before 1939 there were 97 synagogues.

Before the Holocaust about one third of the city's population was made up of Jews (more than 140,000 on the eve of World War II). This number swelled to about 240,000 by the end of 1940 as tens of thousands of Jews fled from the Nazi-occupied parts of Poland into the relative (and temporary) sanctuary of Soviet-occupied Poland (including Lviv) following the Molotov-Rippentrop pact that divided Poland into Nazi and Soviet zones in 1939. Almost all these Jews were killed in The Holocaust. After the war, a new Jewish population was formed from among the hundreds of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians that migrated to the city, then called Lvov. The post-war Jewish population peaked at 30,000 in the 1970s. Currently the Jewish population has shrunk considerably as a result of emigration (mainly to Israel and the United States) and, to a lesser degree assimilation, and is estimated at 1,100. A number of organizations continue to be active.

The Sholem Aleichem Jewish Culture Society in Lviv initiated the construction of a monument to the victims of the ghetto on 1988. On August 23, 1992, the memorial complex to the victims of the Lviv ghetto (1941-1943) was officially opened.[77] During 2011-2012, some anti-Semitic acts against the memorial took place. On March 20, 2011, it was reported that the slogan “death to the Jews” with a Swastika was sprayed on the monument.[78] On March 21, 2012, the memorial has been vandalized by unknown individuals, as what seems to be an anti-Semitic act.[79]


Administrative division

Main article: Administrative divisions of Lviv

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)


UNESCO World Heritage Site
Lviv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, v
Reference UNESCO region Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1998 (22nd Session)

Lviv is one of the most important cultural centers of Ukraine. The city is known as a center of art, literature, music and theatre. Nowadays, the indisputable evidences of the city cultural richness is a big number of theaters, concert halls, creative unions, and also high number of many artistic activities (more than 100 festivals annually, 60 museums, 10 theaters).

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[80] 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 central and 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 town's landscape.


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 the classic styles. There are works by artists of the Vienna Secession, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

The buildings have many stone sculptures and carvings, particularly on large doors,which are 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 of the city the Soviet era is reflected mainly in a few modern-style national monuments and sculptures.

Monuments in Lviv

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 Wrocław, the monument of King Jan III Sobieski which after 1945 was moved to Gdańsk (formerly Danzig, and the monument of Kornel Ujejski which now is in Szczecin (formerly Stettin).


Every day a book market takes place 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 which was one of the most important Polish scientific libraries. Most Polish-language books and publications of the Ossolineum library are still kept in a local Jesuit church. In 1997 the Polish government asked the Ukrainian government to hand over these documents and in 2003 Ukraine allowed access to the publications. In 2006 an office of the Ossolineum (which now is located in Wrocław) was opened in Lviv and began a process to scan all its documents.

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


Lviv is a city of religious variety. Religion(2012): Catholic: 57% ( Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church 56% and Roman Catholic Church 1%) Orthodox: 32%, Protestantism: 2% Judaism : 0.1% Other religion: 3% Indifferent to religious matters: 4% Atheism: 1.9% [81]


At one point, over 60 churches existed in the city. The largest Christian churches have existed in the city since the 13th century. There are three major Christian groups: The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv, the Roman Catholics, and the Armenian Church. Each have had a diocesan seat in Lviv since the 16th century. At the end of the 16th century, the Orthodox community in Ukraine transferred 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 and 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 and 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 with the other in the Krakowskie Przedmieście. The Golden Rose Synagogue was built in Lviv in 1582. 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 first into a ghetto before being forcibly transported to concentration camps where they were murdered.[82]

Under the Soviet Union, synagogues remained closed and were used as warehouses or cinemas. Only since the fall of the Iron Curtain, has the remainder of the Jewish community experienced a faint revival.

Currently, the only functioning Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Lviv is the Beis Aharon V'Yisrael Synagogue.


The range of artistic Lviv is impressive. On the one hand, it is the city of classical art. Lviv Opera, Lviv Philharmonic are places that can satisfy the demands of true appraisers of the classical arts. This is the city of one of the most distinguished sculptors in Europe Johann-Georg Pinzel, whose works can be seen on the façade of the St. George's Cathedral in Lviv and in the Pinzel Museum. This is also the city of Solomiya Krushelnytska, who began as a singer of Lviv Opera, later becoming the primadonna of La Scala Opera in Milan.

The "Group Artes" was a young movement founded in 1929. Many of the artists studied in Paris and travelled throughout Europe. They worked and experimented in different areas of modern art: Futurism, Cubism, New Objectivity and Surrealism.Co–operation 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 and Aleksander Riemer was murdered in 1943 in Auschwitz. Henryk Streng and Margit Reich-Sielska were able to escape the Holocaust (or 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. For years the city was one of the most important cultural centers of Poland with such writers as Aleksander Fredro, Gabriela Zapolska, Leopold Staff, Maria Konopnicka and Jan Kasprowicz living in Lviv.

Today Lviv is the city of fresh ideas and unusual characters. There are about 20 galleries ( The «Dzyga» Gallery, Аrt-Gallery «Primus», Gallery of the History of Ukrainian Military Uniforms, Gallery of Modern Art «Zelena Kanapa» and other) Lviv National Art Gallery is the largest museum of arts in Ukraine (approximately 50 thousand exhibits), with the collection of unique paintings, sculptures and works of graphic art of Western and Eastern Europe from the Middle Ages to modern days.

Theatre and opera

In 1842 the Skarbek Theatre was opened making it the third largest theatre in Central Europe. In 1903 the Lviv National Opera house, which at that time was 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 Ukrainian opera diva Salomea Krushelnytska who worked here.

Nowadays Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet has a large creative group of performers who strive to maintain traditions of Ukrainian opera and classical ballet. The Theatre is a well-organized creative body where over 500 people work towards a common goal. The repertoire includes 10 Ukrainian music compositions. It should be emphasized that no other similar theatre in Ukraine has such a large number of Ukrainian productions. There are also many operas written by foreign composers, and most of these operas are performed in the original language: «Othello», «Aida», «La Traviata», «Nabucco», and «A Masked Ball» by G. Verdi, «Tosca», «La Bohème» and «Madame Butterfly» by G. Puccini, «Cavalleria Rusticana» by P. Mascagni, and «Pagliacci» by R. Leoncavallo (in Italian); «Carmen» by G. Bizet (in French), «The Haunted Manor» by S. Moniuszko (in Polish)

Museums and art galleries

Museum Pharmacy «Pid Chornym Orlom» (Beneath the Black Eagle) This pharmacy was founded in 1735 ; it is the oldest pharmacy in the city of Lviv. A museum related to pharmaceutical history was opened on the premises of the old pharmacy in 1966. The idea of creating such a museum had already come up in the 19th century. The Galician Association of Pharmacists was created in 1868; members managed to assemble a small collection of exhibits, thus making the first step towards creating a new museum. Nowadays, the exhibition has expanded considerably, with 16 exhibit rooms and a general exhibition surface totalling 700 sq. m. There are more than 3,000 exhibits in the museum. This is the only operating Museum Pharmacy in Ukraine and Europe.

The most notable of the museums are Lviv National Museum which houses the National Gallery. The collections in the museum total more than 140,000 unique items. The museum takes special pride in presenting the largest and most complete collection of medieval sacral art of the 12th to 18th centuries: icons, manuscripts, rare ancient books, decoratively carved pieces of art, metal and plastic artworks, and fabrics embroidered with gold and silver.The museum also boasts a unique monument of Ukrainian Baroque style: the Bohorodchansky Iconostasis. Exhibits include: Ancient Ukrainian art from the 12th to 15th centuries; Ukrainian art from the 16th to 18th centuries; and Ukrainian art from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th centuries.


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 the Lviv Conservatory 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, Wojciech Kilar and Mykola Kolessa.

Flute virtuoso and composer Albert Franz Doppler (1821–1883) was born and spent his formative years here, including flute lessons from his father. The classical pianist Mieczysław Horszowski (1892–1993) was born here. The opera diva Salomea Kruszelnicka called Lviv her home in the 1920s to 1930s. The classical violinist Adam Han Gorski was born here in 1940. "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, songwriters Emanuel Szlechter and Wiktor Budzyński, the actor Mieczysław Monderer and Adolf Fleischer ("Aprikosenkranz und Untenbaum") worked in Lviv. The most notable stars of the shows were Henryk Vogelfänger and Kazimierz Wajda who appeared together as the comic duo "Szczepko and Tońko" and were similar to Laurel and Hardy.

The Lviv Philharmonic is a major cultural center with its long history and traditions that complements the entire culture of Ukraine. Exactly from the stage of Lviv Philharmonic began their way to the great art world famous Ukrainian musicians – Oleh Krysa, Oleksandr Slobodyanik, Yuriy Lysychenko, Maria Chaikovska, also the musicians of new generation – E. Chupryk, Y. Ermin, Oksana Rapita, Olexandr Kozarenko. Lviv Philharmonic is one of the leading concert institutions in Ukraine, which activities include various forms of promotion of the best examples of the music art – international festivals, cycles of concerts-monographs, concerts with participation of young musicians,etc.

The Chamber Orchestra «Lviv virtuosos» was organised of the best Lviv musicians in 1994. The orchestra consists of 16-40 persons / it depends on programmes/ and in the repertoire are included the musical compositions from Bach, Corelli to modern Ukrainian and European composers. During short time of the activity the orchestra acquired the professional level of the best European standarts. It is mentioned in more than 100 positive articles of the Ukrainian and foreign musical critics.

Lviv is the hometown of the Vocal formation «Pikkardiyska Tertsiya» and Eurovision Song Contest 2004 winner Ruslana who has since become well known in Europe and the rest of the world. PikkardiyskaTertsia was created on September 24, 1992 in Lviv, and has won many musical awards. It all began with a quartet performing ancient Ukrainian music from the 15th century, along with adaptations of traditional Ukrainian folk songs.

Also Lviv is the hometown to the one of the most successful and popular Ukrainian rock band Okean Elzy.

Universities and academia

Lviv University is one of the oldest in Central Europe and was founded as a Society of Jesus (Jesuit) school in 1608. Its prestige greatly increased through the work of philosopher Kazimierz Twardowski (1866–1938) who was 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 as the University rector (1908–1909). In 1901 the city was the seat of the Lwów Scientific Society among whose members were major scientific figures. The most well-known were the mathematicians Stefan Banach, Juliusz Schauder and Stanisław Ulam who were founders of the Lwów School of Mathematics turning Lviv in the 1930s into the "World Centre of Functional Analysis" and who's share in Lviv academia was substantial.

In 1852 in Dublany (eight kilometers (5.0 miles) from the outskirts of Lviv) the Agricultural Academy was opened and was one of the first Polish agricultural colleges. The Academy was merged with the Lviv Polytechnic in 1919. Another important college of the interbellum period was the Academy of Foreign Trade in Lwów.

In 1873 in Lviv was founded Shevchenko Scientific Society from the beginning it attracted the financial and intellectual support of writers and patrons of Ukrainian background. In 1893 due to the change in its statute the Shevchenko Scientific Society was transformed into a real scholarly multidisciplinary academy of sciences. Under the presidency of the historian, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, it greatly expanded its activities, contributing to both the humanities and the physical sciences, law and medicine, but most specifically once again it was concentrated onto the Ukrainian studies. The Soviet Union annexed the eastern part of Second Polish Republic including the city of Lviv which capitulated to the Red Army on 22 September 1939. Upon their occupation of Lviv, the Soviets dissolved the society. Many of its members were arrested and either imprisoned or executed.


Lviv was 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 who was 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.[83] The café building now houses the Universalny bank at 27 Taras Shevchenko Prospekt (prewar Polish street name: ulica Akademicka).[84] Mathematician Zygmunt Janiszewski died in Lviv on January 3, 1920.

Print and media

Ever since the early 1990s Lviv has been the spiritual home of the post-independence Ukrainian language publishing industry. Lviv Book Forum (International Publishers’ Forum) is the biggest book fair in Ukraine. Lviv is the center of promotion of the Ukrainian Latin alphabet (Latynka). The most popular newspapers in Lviv are "Vysoky Zamok", "Ekspres", "Lvivska hazeta", "Ratusha", Subotna poshta", "Hazeta po-lvivsky", "Postup" and others. Popular magazines include "Lviv Today", "Chetver", "RIA" and "Ї". «Lviv Today» is a Ukrainian English-speaking magazine, content includes information about business, advertisement and entertainment spheres in Lviv, and the country in general.

The Lviv oblast television company transmits on channel 12. There are 3 private television channels operating from Lviv: "LUKS", "NTA" and "ZIK".

There are 17 regional and all-Ukrainian radio stations operating in the city.

A number of information agencies exist in the city such as "ZIK", «», «Гал-info», «Львівський портал» and others.

Lviv is home to one of the oldest Polish-language newspapers «Gazeta Lwowska» which was first published in 1811 and still exists in a bi–weekly form. Among other publications were such titles as

Starting in the 20th century a new movement started with authors from Central Europe. 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 and through emigration a large networkwas established. A second smaller group in the 1930s tried to create a connection between avantgarde art and Yiddish culture. Members of this group were Debora Vogel (de), Rachel Auerbach and Rachel Korn. The Holocaust destroyed this movement with Debora Vogel amongst many other Yiddish authors murdered by the Germans in the 1940s.

In cinema and literature

  • The 2011 film In Darkness, Poland's entry in the 84th Academy Awards category for Best Foreign Film, is based on a true incident in Nazi-occupied Lviv
  • Some of the Austrian road-movie Blue Moon was shot in Lviv.
  • Parts of the film 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.
  • Large portions of the film d'Artagnan and Three Musketeers were shot in downtown Lviv.
  • The book The Lemberg Mosaic (2011) by Jakob Weiss describes Jewish L'viv (Lemberg/Lwow/Lvov) during the period 1910–1943, focusing primarily on the Holocaust and related events.
  • In the book and film The Shoes of the Fisherman the Metropolitan Archbishop of Lviv is released from a Soviet labor camp and later elected Pope.


Lviv architectural face is complemented and enriched with numerous parks, and public gardens. There are over 20 basic recreation park zones, 3 botanical gardens and 16 natural monuments. They offer a splendid chance to escape from city life or simply sit for a while among the trees, at a nice fountain or a lake. Each park has its individual character which reflects through various monuments and their individual history.

  • Ivan Franko Park, is oldest park in the city. Traces of that time may be found in three- hundred-year-old oak and maple trees. Upon the abrogation of the Jesuit order in 1773 the territory became the town property. A well-known gardener Bager arranged the territory in the landscape style, and most of trees were planted within 1885-1890.
  • Bohdan Khmelnytsky Culture and Recreation Park, is one of the best organized and modern green zones containing a concert and dance hall, stadium, the town of attractions, central stage, numerous cafes and restaurants. In the park there are Ferris wheel.
  • Stryiskyi Park, it is considered one of the most picturesque parks in the city. The park numbers over 200 species of trees and plants. It is well known for a vast collection of rare and valuable trees and bushes. At the main entrance gate you will find a pond with swans.
  • Znesinnya Park, its an ideal site for cycling, skiing sports, and hiking. Public organizations favor conducting summer camps here (ecological and educational, educational and cognitive).
  • Shevchenkivskyi Hay, in the park situated unique open air museum that has gathered the best collection of Ukrainian wooden architecture.
  • High Castle Park, the park is situated on the highest city hill (413m) and occupies the territory of 36 hectares consisting of the lower terrace once called Knyazha Hora (Prince Mount), and the upper terrace with a television tower and artificial embankment.
  • Zalizni Vody Park, the park originated from the former garden Zalizna Voda (Iron water) combining Snopkivska street with Novyi Lviv district. The park owes its name to the springs with high iron concentration. This beautiful park with ancient beech trees and numerous paths is a favorite place of many locals.
  • Lychakivskyi Park, founded in 1892 and named after the surrounding suburbs. A botanic garden is situated on the park territory, founded in 1911 and occupying the territory of 18.5 hectares.


Lviv was an important centre for sport in Central Europe and is regarded as the birth–place of Polish football. Lviv is the Polish birthplace of other sports. In January 1905 the first Polish ice-hockey match took place there and two years later the first ski-jumping competition was organized in nearby Sławsko. In the same year the first Polish basketball games were organized in Lviv's gymnasiums. In autumn 1887 a gymnasium by Lychakiv Street (pol. ulica Łyczakowska) held the first Polish track and field competition with such sports as the long jump and high jump. Lviv's athlete Władysław Ponurski represented Austria in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. 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.

The first known official goal in a Polish football match 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 of the rules of football into Polish and 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 here 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 the city including Kazimierz Górski, Ryszard Koncewicz, Michał Matyas and Wacław Kuchar.

In the period 1900-1911 opened most famous football clubs in Lviv. Professor Ivan Bobersky has based in the Academic grammar school the first Ukrainian sports circle where schoolboys were engaged in track and field athletics, football, boxing, hockey, skiing, tourism and sledge sports in 1906. He has organized the «Ukrainian Sports circle» in 1908. Much its pupils in due course in 1911 have formed a sports society with the loud name "Ukraine" - first Ukrainian football club of Lviv.[86]

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 citizens of Lviv assemble on the central street (Freedom Avenue) to watch and cheer during outdoor broadcasts of games.

There are three major stadiums in Lviv. One of them is the Ukraina Stadium which is leased to FC Karpaty Lviv until 2018. Arena Lviv is a brand-new football stadium that was an official venue for Euro 2012 Championship games in Lviv. Construction work began on November 20, 2008 and was completed by October 2011. The opening ceremony took place on 29 October, with a vast theatrical production dedicated to the history of Lviv.[87]

Lviv's chess school enjoys a good reputation; such notable grandmasters as Vassily Ivanchuk, Leonid Stein, Alexander Beliavsky, Andrei Volokitin used to live in Lviv.[88]


Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine and is growing rapidly. According to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine the monthly average salary in the Lviv is a little less than the average for Ukraine which in February 2013 was 2765 UAH ($ 345).

According to the World Bank classification Lviv is a middle-income city.

Lviv has 219 large industrial enterprises and almost 9,000 small ventures.[89]

For many years machinery-building and electronics were leading industries in the Lviv. The Lviv-based company Elektron, trademark of national TV-set, produces also 32 and 37 inches liquid-crystal TV-sets. In 2013 Elektrotrans JV starts producing low-floor trams, the first Ukrainian 100% low-floor tramways.[90]

«LAZ» is a bus manufacturing company in Lviv with its own rich history. Founded in 1945, «LAZ» started bus production in the early 1950s. Innovative design ideas of Lviv engineers have become the world standard in bus manufacture.

Also Lviv is one of the leaders of software export in Eastern Europe with expected sector grow by 20%. Over 25% of all IT specialists in Ukraine work here and 1500 IT graduates/year. There are dozens of local IT companies ( Eleks, DevCom, SoftServe, Epam, Lohika, Mita-Teknik, Global Logic, ISD, N-IX and others). Website Global Services, known in the industry of outsourcing as the site of latest news and the latest research on IT and business services, on December 2011 published an article that notes Lviv, as one of the most promising cities for outsourcing.

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.

Lviv Airlines has its head office on the grounds of Lviv Airport.[91]


Lviv is an important education centre of Ukraine. The city contains a total of 12 universities, 8 academies and a number of smaller schools of higher education. In addition, within Lviv, there are a total of eight institutes of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine and more than forty research institutes. These research institutes include the Centre of Institute for Space Research; the Institute for Condensed Matter Physics; the Institute of Cell Biology; the National Institute of Strategic Studies; the Institute of Neuro-mathematical Simulation in Power Engineering; and the Institute of Ecology of the Carpathians.

In Soviet times, the city of Lviv was the location where the software for the Lunokhod programme was developed. The technology for the Venera series probes and the first orbital shuttle Buran were also developed in Lviv.

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 also known for ancient academic traditions, founded by the Assumption Brotherhood School and the Jesuit Collegium. Over 100,000 students annually study in more than 50 higher educational establishments.

Educational level of residents:[92]

  • Basic and Complete Secondary Education: 10%
  • Specialized Secondary Education: 25%
  • Incomplete Higher Education (undergraduates): 13%
  • Higher Education (graduates): 51%
  • Ph.D. (postgraduates): about 1%


  • 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 Life Safety (ukr. Львівський державний університет безпеки життєдіяльності)
  • Lviv State University of Interior (ukr. Львівський державний університет внутрішніх справ)


Due to the rich cultural programme, developed infrastructure (now Lviv has more than 8 000 hotel rooms, over 700 cafes and restaurants, free WI-Fi zones in the city centre, good connection with many countries of the world) Lviv is considered one of Ukraine's major tourist destinations.[93] The city had a 40% increase in tourists in the early 2010s; the highest rate in Europe.[93]

Tourist attractions

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).[94] Wesoła Lwowska Fala (Polish for Lwów's Merry Wave) was a weekly radio program of the Polish Radio Lwow with Szczepko and Tonko, later starring in Będzie lepiej and The Vagabonds. The Shoes of the Fisherman, both Morris L. West's novel and its 1968 film adaptation had the titular pope as having been its former archbishop.

Lviv has established many city-feasts, such as Coffee and Chocolate feasts, Cheese & Wine Holiday, the feast of pampukh, The Day of Batyar, Annual Bread Day and others. Also over 50 festivals happening in Lviv such as “Alfa Jazz Fest” (is a jazz festival of international scale), "Leopolis Grand Prix" - an international festival of vintage cars, International festival of academic music "Virtuosi", Stare Misto Rock Fest, Medieval Festival “Lviv Legend”, The International “Etnovyr” Folklore festival, initiated by UNESCO’s, International Festival of Visual Art “Wiz- Art", International theatrical festival “Golden Lion”, Lviv Lumines Fluorescent Art Festival, Festival of Contemporary Dramaturgy, International Contemporary Music Festival “Contrasts”, Lviv International Literary Festival, “Krayina Mriy”, Gastronomic Festival "Lviv on a plate", Organ Music Festival “Diapason”, International Independent Film Festival “KinoLev”, International festival “LvivKlezFest”, International media festival "MediaDepo" and others.



The public bus network is represented by mini-buses (so-called marshrutka) and large buses mainly LAZ and MAN. As of January 1, 2013 had 52 public bus routes. The price (as of August 2011) of a one-way single ride in a marshrutka within the city of Lviv is 2.00 UAH regardless of the distance traveled. No tickets are provided – and the money is paid to the driver.


Main article: Trams in Lviv

The first tramway lines were horse–drawn opening on 5 May 1880 and the electric tram was opened on 31 May 1894. The last horse-drawn 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 needed to run in narrow medieval streets in the centre of town.

The Lviv tramway now runs about 220 cars on 75 kilometres (47 miles) of track. Previously in bad shape many tracks were reconstructed in 2006 and even more are due to be reconstructed.

The price (as of February 2011) of a tram/trolleybus ticket is 1.50 UAH (reduced fare ticket is 0.60 UAH, e.g. for students). The ticket may be purchased form the driver.


After the war the city grew rapidly due to evacuees returning from Russia and the Soviet Government's vigorous development of heavy industry. This included the transfer of entire factories from the Urals and others to the newly "liberated" territories of the USSR.

The city centre tramway lines were replaced with trolleybuses on 27 November 1952. New lines were opened to the blocks of flats at the city outskirts. The network now runs about 100 trolleybuses–mostly of the 1980s Skoda 14Tr and LAZ 52522. In 2006–2008 11 modern low-floor trolleybuses (LAZ E183) built by the Lviv Bus Factory were purchased.

The price of a tram/trolleybus ticket is 1.50 UAH (reduced fare ticket is 0.60 UAH, e.g. for students).[95] The ticket may be purchased from the driver.

Bicycle transport

Cycling is a new but growing mode of transport in Lviv. In 2011 the City of Lviv ratified an ambitious 9-year program[96] for the set-up of cycling infrastructure - until the year 2019 an overall length of 270 km (168 mi) cycle lanes and tracks shall be realized. A working group formally organised within the City Council, bringing together representatives of the city administration, members of planning and design institutes, local NGOs and other stakeholders. Events like the All-Ukrainian Bikeday[97] or the European Mobility Week[98] show the popularity of cycling among Lviv’s citizens.

As of September 2011, 8 km (5 mi) of new infrastructure have been built. It can be expected that until the end of the year 50 km (31 mi) will be ready for use. The cycling advisor in Lviv - the first such position in Ukraine - is supervizing and pushing forward the execution of the cycling plan and coordinates with various actors in the city. The development of cycling in Ukraine is currently hampered by outdated planning norms and the fact, that most planners didn’t yet plan and experience cycling infrastructure. The update of national legislation and training for planners is therefore necessary.

Rail bus

Lviv used to have a "rail bus". This was a motor-rail car that ran from the largest district of Lviv to one of the largest industrial zones going through the central railway station. It made 7 trips a day and was meant to provide a faster and more comfortable connection between the remote urban districts. The price (as of February 2010) of a one-way single ride in the rail bus was 1.50 UAH. On 15 June 2010 the route was cancelled as unprofitable.


Main article: Lviv Railways

Modern Lviv remains a hub on which nine railways converge providing local and international services. Lviv railway is one of the oldest in Ukraine. The first train arrived in Lviv on 4 November 1861. 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 at Lviv consisted in mid-1939 of four stations — main station Lwów Główny (now Ukrainian: Lviv Holovnyi), Lwów Kleparów (now Lviv Klepariv), Lwów Łyczaków (now Lviv Lychakiv), and Lwów Podzamcze (now Lviv Pidzamche). In August 1939 just before World War II 73 trains departed daily from the Main Station including 56 local and 17 fast trains. Lviv was directly connected with all major centers of the Second Polish Republic as well as such cities as Berlin, Bucharest, and Budapest.[99]

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 but 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 featured models of aircraft built by Lviv students.[100]

In 1913–1914 brothers Tadeusz and Władysław Floriańscy built a two-seated airplane. When World War I broke out Austrian authorities confiscated it but did not manage to evacuate the plane in time 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 5 November 1918, a crew consisting of Stefan Bastyr and Janusz de Beaurain carried out the first ever flight under the Polish flag taking off from Lviv's Lewandówka (now Ukrainian: Levandivka) airport.[100] In the interbellum period Lviv was a major center of gliding with a notable Gliding School in Bezmiechowa which opened in 1932. In the same year the Institute of Gliding Technology was opened in Lviv and 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 airport is located 6 kilometres (4 miles) from the city centre.[101] In 2012, after renovation, Lviv Airport get new official name Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport (LWO).[102] A new terminal and other improvements worth under a $200 million has been done in preparation for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship.[103] Public transport from Airport to City Center: Bus No. 48 and 9

Notable people

Main article: List of Leopolitans

International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

City State Year
Winnipeg  Canada 1973
Freiburg im Breisgau  Germany 1989
Rzeszów[106]  Poland 1992
Rochdale  United Kingdom 1992
Budapest  Hungary 1993
Rishon LeZion  Israel 1993
Przemyśl  Poland 1995
Kraków[107]  Poland 1995
Grozny  Russia 1998
Novi Sad  Serbia 1999
Samarkand  Uzbekistan 2000
Kutaisi  Georgia 2002
Wrocław[108]  Poland 2003
Łódź[109]  Poland 2003
Banja Luka[110]  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004
Lublin[111]  Poland 2004
Saint Petersburg  Russia 2006

See also

  • List of Leopolitans
  • Polish football clubs started in Lviv: Tilki u Lvovi by Yurko Hnatovski (music of Henryk Warszawski) (Ukrainian)


External links

  • (Ukrainian)
  • — Multilingual Website of the Center for Urban History in Lviv
  •  Lviv Online. The city events guide
  • Ukrainian Navigational Portal — Photos and infrastructure objects of Lviv on interactive map
  • Lviv Map — Download and print
  • Lviv Rail Terminal — Official website
  • Lviv Today Magazine
  • FC Karpaty Lviv — Official website
  • Lviv – photographs and information
  • Lviv tramway
  • “Lviv Reminiscences”, Olena Krushynska’s photogallery (Ukrainian, English, Italian)
  • Lviv seen through camera lens
  • — many photos, articles & informations about city and its history (Polish)
  • Lviv Market Square- Details of the market square
  • 180° High Definition Panorama of Lviv  — Gives a panorama view of the entire city at telescopic resolution

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