Location: Lviv Oblast

Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine. It is located in the Western Ukraine and its close proximity to Central Europe influenced its appearance and architecture.

Travel Destinations in Lviv

Cathedral of Saint George (Lviv)


Lviv Theater of Opera and Ballet

Bernardine Church and Monastery (Lviv)

Lviv Town Hall

Dominican Cathedral (Lviv)



Archaeological studies have established that on the site of Lviv there were settlements dating back to the 5th century AD. During the excavations of 1990-1991. in the territory behind the theater to them. Zankovetskaya, where the Dobrobut market is currently located, archaeologists discovered evidence that an urban settlement continuously functioned in that place from the 7th – 8th centuries. In particular, they found a handicraft area where the leather men processed leather. In addition, the remains of jewelry production were found. Also, as a result of excavations in the square of the Holy Spirit near the Jesuit church, ancient Slavic ceramics of the 7th-8th centuries was found. Similar finds were found near the Cathedral. Archaeologists believe that a settlement or a series of settlements stretched along the Poltva River. It was a proto-city that preceded the emergence of Lviv.

Later, these lands may have belonged to the Great Moravian state. In the X century, Kievan Rus and Poland began to claim the land (during the reign of Meshko I). It is assumed that Meshko owned these lands from 960 to 980. According to the annals of Nestor, in 981 they were conquered by Vladimir the Great.

The first mention of Lviv dates back to 1256. According to the most common version, Lviv was founded only in the XIII century by King Daniil of Galitsky and was named after his son, Leo. According to another version, the city was founded by the very son of Daniil Galitsky.

As part of the Galicia-Volyn principality (until 1349)
Lviv developed rapidly. The position of the princely city was closely related to the geographical position. The city was founded on the border of the dry, treeless Podolsk coast and the forest-covered firebox of the Poltva floodplain, at the place where horizons rich in spring water come out at the junction of water-resistant limestone.

Old Lviv, like the other cities of that time, consisted of three parts: a detinets, that is, a fortified city, a roundabout city and suburbs. The High Castle (Detinets) was located on that mountain, which was called Gorai in the 15th century, in the 17th - Bald Mountain, and later Princely Mountain. As can be seen on the lithography of the XVII century, it was a tall and treeless, sheer and inaccessible mountain. The detinets were well fortified with ramparts, bins and a picket fence so that they could withstand numerous enemy attacks.

Podzamchye (a roundabout city) stretched along the northwestern slope of the mountain, which was also fortified with ramparts and stockade. There were princely towers (above the church of St. Nicholas), from which the steep road led down to the merchant - the Old Market.

The suburbs occupied the right bank of the Poltva river floodplain and the mountain slopes and stretched in a semicircle along the western, northern, and southern sides of the Princely Mountain. It was not fortified, it was probably protected only by ramparts and a stockade, and in the event of an armed enemy attack, residents, together with their property, were looking for protection in a devious city and detinets. Separately, on a steep mountain, stood the fortified church of St. Jura.

The princely city was built along the Volyn road, on a trade route that went from the Black Sea through Galich-Lvov-Kholm to the Baltic Sea. This path passed through the Old Market and past numerous churches, churches and monasteries, some of which have survived to this day: Maria Snezhnaya, Ivan the Baptist, St. Paraskeva, St. Onufry and St. Nicholas. The building was, according to the study of the foundations, the Byzantine-Romanesque, mostly wooden, and therefore none of the ancient monuments remained intact.

Princely Lviv was a crowded city (there were colonies: German, Armenian, Tatar), with numerous houses, which were surrounded by gardens and kitchen gardens. Fields and mowing meadows were located on the western bank of Poltva. The territory of Lviv was 50 hectares and connected in the east with the village of Znesenie.

In 1340–1349, governor Dmitry Detko ruled the city as governor of the Lithuanian prince Lubart.


As part of Poland and the Commonwealth (1349-1772)
In 1349, the Polish king Casimir III the Great conquered Lviv and seven years later in 1356 granted the city Magdeburg Law. This gave a strong impetus to the development of the city, and the large Armenian community of the city in 1363 establishes the Armenian metropolis and builds a cathedral. The Polish king transfers the city center from the Old Market Square and builds a new city to the south, around the Market Square. In the new city, the majority of the population were German colonists, but some marginal streets (now Armenian, Russian, Staroevreyskaya) were occupied by non-Catholics, who were deprived of the rights of Lviv philistinism.

Due to its advantageous location at the intersection of trade routes from the ports of the Black Sea, Kiev, Eastern and Western Europe, Byzantium and the ports of the Baltic Sea, the city developed rapidly. Under the name Lviv the Great is mentioned in the annals "List of Russian cities distant and near" (end of the 14th century).

In 1370-1387, the city was ruled by Hungarian governors, under the leadership of Vladislav Opoleczyk. In 1379, the city received the right to have its own warehouses, which sharply increased the attractiveness of the city for merchants. In 1387, Lviv and the surrounding lands were returned under the influence of Poland.

As part of Poland (and later the Polish-Lithuanian state), Lviv became the capital of the Russian Voivodeship, which included five headquarters with centers in the cities of Lviv, Kholm, Sanok, Galich and Przemysl. The city had the right to have its own warehouses, which made it possible to receive significant profits from goods transported between the Black and Baltic Seas. Over the next centuries, the population of the city grew rapidly, and soon Lviv became a multinational city with many religious confessions and an important center of culture, science and trade. City defenses were strengthened and Lviv became one of the most important fortresses protecting the Commonwealth from the southeast.

In the city there were simultaneously an Orthodox bishop, three archbishops: Roman Catholic, Armenian and Greek Catholic (since 1700), as well as three Jewish communities at the same time: urban, local and Karaite. The city was filled with many settlers from different countries: Germans, Jews, Italians, British, Scots and many other nationalities. Since the 16th century, Protestants appeared in the city.

Lviv was the only city in Kievan Rus, where there was a separate "Saracen" (Muslim) community, which enjoyed guaranteed rights of internal self-government. The first mention of the Saracen community dates back to 1346. Since 1654, the settlement of the Saracens in Lviv was banned due to blasphemy and human trafficking.

The year 1527 was marked by a great fire, in which almost the whole city burned down. In the first half of the XVII century, the city totaled approximately 25-30 thousand inhabitants. There were more than 30 workshops, in which there were 133 craft professions. In 1618, the city was mentioned in the work of German historians G. Brown, G. Gogemberger, S. Novellana "Outstanding cities of the world."

The strengthening of Lviv as a fortress did not stop under all the rulers. Its external fortifications began to be erected in the second half of the 14th century under Casimir the Great, when the first ring of defensive walls was formed. In 1410, a decision was made to create a second line of defensive fortifications, which covers the first ring from the north, east and south. And in the middle of the 16th century, a third belt of fortifications appeared, this time in the form of earthen ramparts with a stone base, subsequently bastions also appeared.

In the XVII century, Lviv repeatedly successfully withstood the siege. The constant struggle with the invaders gave the city the motto of Semper fidelis, which means "Always true!" In the fall of 1648, the city was besieged by Zaporizhzhya Cossacks led by Bohdan Khmelnitsky. They captured and destroyed the castle, but left the city after receiving a ransom. In 1655, the Swedish armies invaded Poland, captured most of it and besieged Lviv. However, they were forced to retreat without taking the city. The siege of Lviv by the Russian-Cossack detachments of Buturlin and Khmelnitsky was also lifted due to the invasion of the Crimean Khan in Ukraine. The following year, Lviv was surrounded by the army of the Transylvanian prince Gyorgy Rakotsi I, but the city was not taken. In 1672 the army of the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Mehmed IV, again besieged Lviv, but the war was completed before the capture of the city. In 1675, the city was attacked by Turks and Crimean Tatars, but King Jan III Sobieski defeated them on August 24 in a battle that received the name of Battle at Lviv.


In 1704, during the Great Northern War, the city was captured and plundered for the first time in its history by the army of the Swedish king Charles XII. In 1707, Tsar Peter I came to Lviv. According to legend, the carriage in which he rode was stuck in the mud on the unpaved Market Square. After that, the entire area was paved with wooden paving stones.

From the 15th century, monks of various orders began to arrive in the city. They built many temples in the city. By the 18th century, there were already up to 40 of them. Therefore, Lviv was still spoken of by civitas monachorum - the city of monks. The monks of the Jesuit Order arrived in the city without a penny, but thanks to skillful management a hundred years later the city treasury fell into debt dependence on them. And in 1608, the Jesuits founded the Jesuit College, which in 1661 was transformed into the University of Lviv. One of the most famous pupils of the Jesuits was Bogdan Khmelnitsky.

Under the rule of the Habsburgs (1772-1914)
In 1772, after the First Partition of Poland, Lviv became the capital of the Austrian province - the formally independent Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. From 1772 to 1918 the city was officially called Lemberg. After the entry of Lviv into Austria, the language of the administration became German, and most of the posts in the city administration were occupied by Germans and Czechs. However, the city continued to be an important center of Polish and Russian culture. In 1773, the first newspaper Gazette de Leopoli began to be published in Lviv.

The beginning of the reign of Austria was very liberal. In 1784, Emperor Joseph II reopened the University. Lectures were conducted in several languages: Latin, German, Polish and (since 1786) “Ruthenian” (the literary language of the Ruthenian population). Wojciech Boguslavsky opened the first public theater in 1794, in 1811 the famous Gazeta Lwowska began to appear, and in 1817 the Ossolinsky Institute was founded. At the beginning of the XIX century, the city received a new position as the head of the Greek Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Kiev, Galicia and Russia, Metropolitan of Lviv.

However, at the beginning of the XIX century, the Austrian authorities began to Germanize the city. The university was closed in 1805, and although it was reopened in 1817, it was already a purely German educational institution that had a specific impact on urban life. Many other public and cultural associations that were not “pro-German” were also banned.

Tough laws dictated by the Habsburg dynasty led to an outbreak of public discontent in 1848. The emperor was asked to renew the city’s self-government, study in Polish and Russian and guarantee the official position of the Polish language.

Most of these requests were granted only after many years: in 1861 the Galician parliament (the Sejm of the Krai) was formed, and in 1867 wide self-government was granted to Galicia, both cultural and economic. The university allowed lectures in Polish. Galicia became the only part of the former Poland that received some cultural and political freedom. Newspapers began to appear, for example, Fatherland. As a result, Lviv became the main center of Polish culture and politics. At the same time, the city also served as an important center of the Galician-Russian movement.

The city was also given the right to delegate representatives to the Vienna Parliament, which attracted many prominent cultural and political figures. Lviv has become a meeting place for Polish, German, Jewish and Little Russian cultures.

The period 1914-1919
At the beginning of World War I, as a result of the successful offensive of the 3rd and 8th Russian armies of the Southwestern Front during the Battle of Galicia on August 18 - September 21, 1914, the city was taken by Russian troops on September 3, 1914 and until July 14, 1915 was the center of Galicia governor-general until the city was again occupied by Austro-Hungarian troops.

Along with the collapse of the Habsburg Empire, civil strife began at the end of World War I. On November 1, 1918, Ukrainian and Polish military were in the city. The Ukrainian Legion of Sich Riflemen (a combat unit of the Austrian army) was at that time in Bukovina. However, a small group of Ukrainian soldiers took control of the city for several days and announced the city’s entry into the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR). As the Ukrainian and Polish units arrived, military operations unfolded in the city, as a result of which the Ukrainian units were forced to leave Lviv. The Ukrainian authorities announced a general mobilization. The former soldiers of the Austrian army were placed under arms, which made it possible to create the Ukrainian Galician Army (UGA). The army formed in France under the command of Jozef Haller came to the aid of the Poles. UGA with fights retreated to the Zbruch River. The Polish-Ukrainian war lasted until July 1919.


In early summer, the command over the CAA was taken by the former general of the Russian army Alexander Grekov, who conducted an offensive operation, however, due to serious inequality of forces, the CAA again retreated behind Zbruch, to the territory of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR). By the decision of the inter-allied commission in Paris, Lviv was left under the control of Poland - until the final decision of his fate. Both Polish and Ukrainian victims of the fighting in Lviv and its environs were buried in the Lychakiv cemetery (see Lviv Eaglets). The remains of one of the unknown soldiers who fell in this fight were buried in Warsaw, under the monument to the unknown soldier.

Poland later entered into an agreement with Simon Petlyura, according to which in exchange for the refusal of the UPR government to claim Western Ukraine, it rendered him military assistance in the fight against the Bolsheviks and the advancing Red Army.

As part of Poland (1919-1939)
During the Soviet-Polish war in 1920, the city was attacked by forces of the Red Army. From mid-June 1920, the First Cavalry Army tried to break through to the city from the northeast. The defense of the city began. After stubborn battles that lasted about a month, on August 16, the Red Army crossed the Western Bug River and, additionally reinforced by eight divisions of the Red Cossacks, launched an assault on the city. The fighting took place with heavy losses on both sides, but three days later the attack was repelled, and soon the Red Army retreated. For defense, the city was awarded the highest Polish military award - the Order of Virtuti Militari V class - “For Courage”, which was depicted on the Polish coat of arms of Lviv.

After the signing of the Riga Peace Agreement, Lviv remained the Polish city, the administrative center of the Lviv Voivodeship, which occupied most of the modern Subcarpathian Voivodeship of Poland and the Lviv region. The city quickly regained its position as one of the most important centers of science and culture in Poland. In 1928, Professor at the University of Jan Casimir, Rudolf Weigl, opened the vaccine against typhus.

The period of the Second World War (1939-1944)
In 1939, the Polish campaign of the Wehrmacht and the Red Army began. On September 1, 1939, German troops entered Poland. The defense of the city was led by Franciszek Jozef Sikorski. On September 19, Soviet troops approached the city and soon occupied its eastern part, the Polish side was asked to surrender the city. A few hours later, German troops attacked the west and south of the city, making fire contact with Soviet troops, but the Wehrmacht withdrew the troops. In accordance with the Secret Protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, on the night of September 21, 1939, Soviet troops replaced the German and began to prepare for the assault. However, the Polish command resumed negotiations, as a result of which on September 22, 1939 an agreement was signed "on the transfer of the city of Lviv to the troops of the Soviet Union."

In 1939-1941, Soviet troops were deployed in the city, in particular, there was a command of the 6th Army of the Kiev Special Military District of the Red Army. One of the meetings of the Gestapo officers and the NKVD took place in Lviv.

At the beginning of the war, due to the inability to evacuate the bodies of the NKVD of the USSR, mass executions of political prisoners held in Lviv prisons were carried out. According to official figures of the NKVD, 2,464 people were killed. June 30, 1941 the city was occupied by the Germans. On the same day, the OUNites proclaimed in Lviv “Ukrainian State Government” led by Yaroslav Stetsko, however, he was soon arrested by the Germans. After the entry of German troops into the city on July 1, 1941, Ukrainian nationalists-Bandera and local residents participated in the Jewish pogrom, which killed several thousand people. The German authorities organized a concentration camp on the territory of the Citadel, in which they destroyed over 140 thousand Soviet prisoners of war, as well as the Lviv ghetto and the Yanovsk concentration camp to destroy the Jewish population.

In 1942-1944, a communist underground was operating in the city, intelligence agent Nikolai Kuznetsov liquidated the vice-governor general of the district Galicia Otto Bauer and the head of the office of the governor Schneider.


On July 23, 1944, a military operation of the Territory Army began in Lviv with the aim of asserting Polish power and gaining advantageous positions in subsequent post-war negotiations on the borders of Poland and the USSR. The uprising was an integral part of the nationwide uprising and took place in collaboration with the advancing Soviet troops.

In 1944, the Lviv-Sandomierz operation of the Red Army began. Since July 13, 1944, the 11th Guards mortar regiment of rocket artillery took part in the operation. From July 22-24, the 3rd Guards Tank Army carried out a maneuver, bypassing Lvov from the north with the main forces and launched an offensive against Lviv from the west. On July 24-26, 1944, fights were fought on the outskirts of Lviv. The 4th Panzer Army, bypassing Lviv from the south, broke into the outskirts of the city and started street battles. Radio operator Alexander Marchenko from the 10th Guards Ural Tank Corps with a group of machine gunners hoisted a red banner on the town hall [24].

The city was taken on July 27, 1944.

As part of the Ukrainian SSR (1944-1991)
Due to the fact that the main battle for Lviv unfolded in the southern suburbs, the bulk of historical monuments, churches and buildings were not affected.

After the war, almost the entire Polish population of the city was expelled, mainly to the western part of Poland, to the so-called Returned Lands, the city began to be settled by Ukrainians, Russians, etc. So, if on June 20, 1945, over 85 thousand Poles lived in Lviv, then on April 11, 1950 there were only 29.9 thousand of them left. In 1950, the population of Lviv consisted of Ukrainians - 144583, Russians - 90379, Poles - 29893, Jews - 18614, others - 14894 inhabitants. As a result of World War II, the ethnic composition of the city was changed, as traditional ethnic groups (Poles, Jews and Germans) were displaced or destroyed. The Polish language and its regional version are almost out of use. Also, a significant number of newcomers (non-Galician) of Ukrainian, Russian and Jewish populations moved to post-war Lviv, mainly from the eastern part of the Ukrainian SSR, to a lesser extent from the RSFSR and the BSSR. The city was dominated by Ukrainian and Russian. In the future, migration to Lviv of the Western Ukrainian peasantry continued.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the city grew significantly in both population and size. In Lviv, many well-known factories were founded and moved from Eastern Ukraine.

In 1971, for achievements and successes in the field of economic, scientific, technical and socio-cultural development, Lviv was awarded the highest award of the USSR - the Order of Lenin.

New housing neigbourhoods
During the Soviet period, the population of Lviv and the area occupied by the city increased significantly. In 1939, about 330 thousand people lived in Lviv, the area of ​​the city was 63 km², the housing stock was about 2 million m². In 1984, on the eve of perestroika, the population of the city was 760 thousand people, the area of ​​the city was 138 km², and the housing stock increased 5 times in comparison with 1939 and amounted to more than 10 million m². The influx of people into the enterprises necessitated the construction of affordable housing on the outskirts. By the end of the 1980s, large housing estates formed:

Yuzhny - the area of ​​Lyubinsky, Artyom (nowadays Vladimir the Great), Bozhenko (Princess Olga), Scientific, Kulparkovskaya streets (construction began in the 1960s, population more than 150 thousand people);
Lychakivskyi (Vostochny) - the area of ​​Leninsky Komsomol Avenue (now Pasichna), Batalnaya (J. Washington) Street, the upper part of Zelenaya Street, Mayorovka microdistrict (construction since 1958);
Sykhovsky (built up since 1979, the population is about 120 thousand people);
Severny - district of the streets of the 700th anniversary of Lviv (now Chernovol Avenue), Topolnaya (Hetman Mazepa), Warsaw (built up since the 1960s, population of about 100 thousand people);
Zhovtnevyi village (the current name is Lewandovka, built up since 1958).