Lviv is changing, blossoming, and emanating beauty. Not without a reason was it included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In my opinion, this city has a magical power that affects residents and tourists in the most positive sense.
I do not live in Lviv permanently, but when I visited this city over twenty years ago, I immediately fell in love with this part of Ukraine, located on the eastern border of Roztocze. I have been often visiting this place for many years. As I have been coming and going, every time I leave I miss not only the city or people, but most of all for the Lviv atmosphere. Currently, I am doing everything I can to stay in Lviv. I feel really good here and have probably found my place on earth.
Museum under the open sky
Lviv, Leopolis – the city of Lion, founded in the 13th century, due to its location, history and multiculturalism can be called a museum under the open sky. This is visible in the unique and very well-preserved example of the combination of various architectural, artistic and cultural traditions in this part of Europe. The city had been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The history of the city with its particular buildings is best discovered by taking the virtual route on the interactive map of the city – lia.lvivcenter.org (available in Polish).
Friendly, nice, helpful
For centuries, the city has been inhabited by various nationalities: Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Armenians, Ruthenians, Germans, Austrians, and Romani, not to forget the Lemkos and Hutsuls, who visited the local trade fairs in search of work dressed in their ethnic and colourful costumes – simply a true cultural and national melting pot. You can experience this multiculturalism at every step.
The magic of narrow streets, architectural details, numerous monuments from various periods, parks, countless stalls, bazaars, wonderful cafés, museums and galleries make me feel excited. And the encountered people: friendly, nice, helpful – without them and street hustle and bustle, I cannot imagine this peculiar everyday life in the city.
Let’s not hurry
I always take my friends for long walks, during which we do not care about time. My favourite is the route around the Lviv Market Square. You can find there beautiful, historic buildings, tenements, and the most important churches of the old town – the Latin and Armenian cathedrals. It is obligatory to take a stroll along the elegant Svobody Avenue spreading from the Opera House to the Adam Mickiewicz Monument and a bit further to Prospekt Shevchenko.
Must-see viewpoints are Town Hall, the Tower of the Church of St. Elisabeth, or café on the 9th floor of the Dniester hotel. I really enjoy walking along the Citadel and Stryisky Park. I also recommend visiting the House of Scientists (Lystopadovoho Chynu 6) and the University of Lviv, and then slowly strolling along Ivan Franko Park, the Cathedral of St. Jura, University of Technology up to Kastelivka, one of the most picturesque districts of Lviv located a bit further.
To ski… in the vicinity of the market
Lviv is not only a city, but also cascading parks. Do you know that you can ski from the High Castle to the Museum of Wooden Architecture? Only a 10-minute walk away from the Lviv market, you can find completely wild and undeveloped places, where for a moment you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. A must-see magnificent viewpoint is the High Castle and Kaiserwald, also known as the Shevchenko Grove located a bit further. Equally interesting is the route around Lychakiv Cemetery and the less popular Yanivsky cemetery – places filled with silence, nostalgia and history. I often go on trips to Zhovkva, Svirzh or Olecko. It is good to know that there are plenty of magnificent castles and palaces around Lviv and you can always discover something new.
Paintings, wool products, embroidery
Lviv is a city of commerce located on the routes spreading from east to west, between the Baltic and Black Sea. a great tradition of shopping markets, where you can find various culinary wonders and souvenirs. The flea market (Vycheva Square) offers a large selection of handmade knick-knacks made by Lviv artists: paintings, wool products, embroidery and antiques. Every day, old women from all over the region come with fresh products to the Privokzalny or Galitsky markets, which are located in the city centre.
Celebrating in style
Lviv is famous for thematic festivals worth visiting, such as chocolate (shokolad.lviv.ua), coffee (end of September), beer (end of April or beginning of May) festivals, as well as those related to cheese and wine (mid-October in the Potocki Palace). Colourful Christmas is celebrated in the city in a great style. The multiculturalism of the city is visible at every step,
and that is why on February 5th, you can celebrate the Chinese New Year on the streets of Lviv observing children parading on the streets and holding a big Chinese dragon! Another unusual day – the city festival, takes place on the first Saturday of May. This colourful and joyful event is very important for all residents of Lviv.
An enormous number of events
For many years, the Days of Lviv have been celebrated by all residents and visitors. For this occasion, various street theatre performances, festivals, competitions and other games are organized. The parades of knights on horses, performances of children musical groups and actors on stilts are exciting and spectacular.
If you come with children – enjoy the offer of various gaming and entertainment centres, water parks, museums and creative studios (lviv.dityvmisti.ua). In an unusual workshop “Drawing in the dark”, children paint with fluorescent colours in ultraviolet light!
Lviv is a city of music. Everyone will find something for themselves among the great number of events. The opera, philharmonic, theatres, concert halls and night clubs are just a few attractions to name. Several times a year, the city hosts such festivals as Leopolis Jazz Fest (leopolisjizz.com), LvivMozArt (mozart.lviv.ua), Jazz Bezz (jazzbez.org) and others. You can listen to classical music concerts at the National Philharmonic in Tchaikovsky Street and in jazz cafés (Liblaria Cafe, L.V.Cafe, terrace at the Wien Hotel). Without them, I cannot imagine a successful weekend.
Where to eat
During your visit, do not forget to try local delicious dishes! Every restaurant serves Lviv cuisine and more, and that is why everyone will be satisfied. Moreover, there is an interesting chain of creative restaurants called “!Fest”, but you can also have a good meal at the Bachevsky restaurant (Shevskaya 8) or a Jewish restaurant near the Lychakiv cemetery – “Jerusalem” (Mechnikova 39).
Coffee or… chocolate?
Can you imagine Lviv without coffee or chocolate? No, you cannot, because coffee and chocolate are Lviv’s No. 1 products, and they have a long tradition in this city. It is believed that it was Franz-Yuri Kulchitsky, a Ukrainian who in 1683 became the founder of one of the first European cafés – the Vienna “Hof zur Blauen Flasche”, that taught Europeans how to drink coffee. Since the 17th century, the tradition of drinking good quality coffee has been cultivated in Ukraine. My favourite cafés in the centre are “Svit Kavi” (Katedralna 6), “Zukernya” (Staroevreyskaya 3), “Veronika” (Shevchenko Avenue 21) and of course “Mokka” (Konovalets 91). Another noteworthy place is the magical Coffee Mine – a shop and café stylized as a mine, where you can try different types of coffees and desserts served by baristas in a truly theatrical way.