One of Lviv's most distinctive, beautiful and historic sites, is the LYCHAKIV CEMETERY, located 4 km east of the city center on Meczynkowa Vul. This is an ideal location to begin your exploration of Lviv's diverse history, fascinating culture and stunning art. So that is exactly what our VT Group did on Wednesday, June 2. Victor (HunterV) was our "Official Guide". We enjoyed our tour very much as Victor explained many things to us, as most writings were in Ukrainian.
Although officially established in 1786 by Austro-Hungarian authorities, the first burials actually took place in the 16th century. Since then more than 400,000 Inhabitants have been laid to rest here. Grave markers have tributes inscribed in Ukrainian, Russian, German, Polish, Armenian and Latin - evidence of Lviv's diversity.
Throughout the 19th century, plots were reserved by elite and middle class families, artisans, scientists, spiritual leaders and politicians. This trend obviously shifted during the Soviet era, as, wedged between ancient chapels and elite family crypts, stand simple monuments. When we visited, a new grave still covered with flowers (photo #5), could be seen. It was being worked on by an engraver, putting in the details of the newly departed.
Admission to the cemetery was 10 UAH ( about $1.50 CDN)
Fondest memory: Lychakiv is a protected historical monument. Here you will see many beautiful sculptures such as the statue of an angel gazing sadly towards heaven.
The Tomb of Volodymyr Ivasyuk (photo # 2) portrays a young man, who died at a young age. Victor explained to us that his tomb says this young man died of tragic circumstances.
Tomb of Solomiya Krushelnytska (photo #3).
The elaborate and beautiful Tomb of Armenian Archbishop Samuel Cyryl Stefanowicz (photo # 4)
Favorite thing: Taras Shevchenko (1841 - 1861) was a Ukrainian Poet, artist and humanist. He also made many masterpieces as a painter and an illustrator.His works and life are revered by Ukrainians and his impact on Ukrainian literature is immense. Taras Shevchenko is pictured on the current 100 hryvnia banknote. There is a monument to him and the sculpture "Wave of National Revival" located on Svobody Prospekt. It's a local favourite meeting place.
Here is a few of LORIPORI'S TIDBITS - helpful bits of information about your visit to Lviv.
Citizens of the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Israel, Canada and the U.S. can enter Ukraine visa-free and stay up to 90 days.
220 volts Ac, 50 Hz - all sockets require two round pins
The national currency is the Hryvnia (hr or UAH)
Notes: 1 2 5 10 50 100 200 500 Hryvnia
Coins: 100 kopecks in a hryvnia - 1 2 5 10 25 50 kopecks 1 hr
I saw a few exchange booths during our walks around Lviv. Personally, I used an ATM machine across the street from the George Hotel. It had English as a language option which was helpful.
When I got home and checked my bank statement, the 200 hr cost me $27.17 CDN or 13.5 cents each hryvnia / 7.4 hr per $1.00 CDN
LVIV IN YOUR POCKET:
A great little reference book to have. I got mine (free) at the George Hotel. It contains hotels, restaurants, cafe's, nightlife, sightseeing, events, shopping and maps - all in great detail.
The Archcathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary or simply THE LATIN CATHEDRAL is located in Old Town, in the southwestern corner of Market Square - Ploshcha Rynok- at Ploshcha Katedralna 1.
The first church built on this site was a small wooden Roman Catholic Church, built in 1344 but lost in a fire six years later. In 1360, King Casimir III of Poland founded the present day church, built in Gothic style.
In the years 1761 - 1776 the cathedral was refurbished in Baroque style and a tall bell tower was added.
With its stunning palaces, fountains, statues, cafe's and crowds of people, RYNOK SQUARE is the Heart of Lviv. Amazingly, within this relatively small area, there are 45 protected architectural monuments. Each structure has its own captivating history, but the oldest and most revered are Chorna Kamianytsa ( Black Stone House ) and Kornjakt Palace or King Jan III Sobieski Palace.
The imposing structure in the middle is City Hall.
Rynok Square is to the east of Prospect Svobody
A city in Western Ukraine, LVIV is regarded as one of the main cultural centers of Ukraine. The historic center, with its old buildings, survived the Second World War and Soviet presence, largely unscathed. Lviv is home to many world-class cultural institutions, including the famous Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. The Historic City center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Lviv is located approximately 70 km from the Polish border, one of the reasons our VT Group made a side trip here. Thanks Matt (Matcrazy1) and Urszula for making this trip possible.
Also,I want to thank Victor (HunterV) for coming many hundreds of miles and many hours by train just to visit with our VT Group in Lviv. In my opinion, it was the absolute highlight of our Lviv experience. You are such a kind and gentle man, who helped us all in so many ways.
Favorite thing: Much has changed traveling to this part of the world in the last 20 years since our 1st trip to Ukraine, it's no longer necessary to change money on the black market, bring your own supply of food or leave tips for the maids with lipstick, nylons or American cigarettes. No one is interested in buying your blue jeans or tennis shoes. I'd even argue that the quality of the toilet paper, at least at our hotel and the couple of restaurants where I used the WC, is good enough that you don't need to lug that with you anymore. I even drank water out of the tap at our hotel and have lived to tell the tale.
The history of Lviv's Market Square (Ploshcha Rynok) dates back to the 14th century.
The town hall stands in the middle of the square and it is surrounded by about 44 burgher houses of various architectural styles, each of them has its own story.
Please read my "Things to do" tips for more information about some of the buildings.
The Market Square was always the centre of the town, therefore it has seen many historic events from arrivals of dukes and kings to executions of thieves and adulterers.
Four fountains with statues of Greek gods were erected in the corners of the square in the late 18th century.
Nowadays the Market Square is pedestrianised; only old trams rattle down the southern side.
I have been to Ukraine few times but not by car because it was more convenient in my case.Just two examples few times by feet I never waited both ways due to my luck, by train into Ukraine no waiting time on normal gauge way Sanok- Hiriv (Chyrow), but way back four hours late (the train timetable means nothing)due to carefull Polish (EU) custom control.
However I know or read about many Poles who drive to Crimea (and the road is better than some main ones in Poland).Few goes to Romania or Bulgaria through Ukraine as well (but more choose standard way thorugh Hungary). If Poles go to Ukrainian Karpaty it's more convenient to go without car.
Main roads are similar as in Romania here and toward Lviv .
I've heard that Ukrainian-Romania border was slower than Poland-Ukraine few years ago,but not sure about it.
The latest news I have found on www.gazeta.pl->forum-> turystyka-> Ukraina
21.03 Ukrainian side: 7 min. Polish one: 1.40 hour (due to slow Polish custom officers)
Another post from February:
17.02.(Slovakia-Ukraine -Uzhorod) przejście słowacko-ukraińskie w pobliżu Użhorodu - 15 min.(!!!!)
23.02.(Ukraine-Poland_ Szeginie-Medyka - 1 godz. 40 min. Nieuprzejmi celnicy
ukraińscy (unpolite Ukrainian custom officers).
There is another check point close by: Korczowa-Krakowiec
If above is right it is ok to go by car and visit some places on your way (if you not prefer Japanese-American style of travelling) to Krakow like Przemysl,Lancut, Jaroslaw,Tarnow,Debno,Bochnia and surrondings, Niepolomice,Wieliczka.
You can close a fantastic loop later towards Romania (at least two equally interesting ways trough Slovakia) and visit Tatry,Kezmarok, Slovenski Raj (means paradise is also karstic area as Padis, but still a bit different) Slovensky Kras caves or after Stary Sacz Stara L'ubovna,Presov,Kosice,and places in Hungary (Aggtelek,Miskolc,Tokaj, Debrecen are waiting) on your way home.
If you visit these places which are on your direct way you will still miss many others close by to this road.
Touring Lviv (Publisher: Baltia) - a detailed 224-page guidebook on the sight-seeing places, with maps. Includes a lot of useful information, including Lviv restaurants, coffee shops, place to go out and accommodation tips. it also has a section on trips outside of Lviv (Zhovkva-Krekhiv, Olesko-Pidhitsi-Zolochiv, etc.) Besides Ukrainian and Russian, it’s available in English, German and Polish. it's available in all book stores on Rynok Sq. and around. the price varies from 55-65 Hr ($11-13). there are also plentry of smaller brochures and leaflets on the single places like the Latin Cathedral, the Golden Horse-Shoe trip, etc.
you might also consider stocking travel guides to other Ukrainian cities including Kyiv (English, German, Italian Spanish, Polish, Russian); Crimea (English, German, Russian); Transcarpatia (English, Russian); Odesa (English, Russian)
Lviv (as other Ukrainian cities, I guess) is still a bit soviet. Here and there you can still find some relics of the former era: shop-windows, statues, an old circus building, posters in the immortal socrealistic style... It all gives the city a characteristic charm and I must admit I do enjoy it! It reminds me of my childhood! ;)
Ten years ago the same things you were able to find in Poland, but when the communist era was over, it was all destroyed. However in Ukraine it has remained up till now and you can still see it here and there. I'm a bit sentimental, it brings tears to my eyes... ;)
When you have to pay for someting in Ukraine, you get the bill. When you pay, you get back change and they seem very strict about that.
I assume it is OK to round up your bills but tips don't seem mandatory.
According to numbers of parks and trees in the streets, Lviv must be a pretty green city. Parks are numerous and there are many streets with trees all around the city. At least it must be like that during the warm season.
Unfortunately I was there during the winter and the weather was gloomy so my impression is mostly grey - weather was grey, parks were grey, streets were grey, melting snow/ice was dirty and grey... See the photos!
If you like the churches then Lviv is one place not to miss. It is not only the number of the churches and their beauty that enraptures but also their variety. In the old city Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic churches prevail, while in suburbs there are many beautiful Orthodox churches.
I have never seen so many churches in any place before, but according to Internet it seems that I have missed many of them.
When visiting Lviv High Castle is another not-to-miss location. It is a hill 300 m high right in the city centre which offers best views of the city. Path with many steps leeds to its peak, but it is well worth the effort.
Unfortunately I was in Lviv during winter and the weather was not very nice so the viewes were not what they would be on a warm sunny day. Nevertheles, views of the city were beautiful and it was equally interesting for me to look at the old part of city on the sothe and east, as well as the new parts on the other side.
Many people from Lviv as well as tourists walk to the High Castle. It is possible to rent binoculars on the top.