Issue 18, November 2009.
Seventy years ago this autumn the Soviet Union’s Red Army marched into West Ukraine and seized the then-Polish administered regional capital city Lviv. This annexation, which was part of the secret clauses in Stalin’s euphemistically named August 1939 non-agression pact with Adolf Hitler, marked the beginning of a fifty- year Soviet reign that, although interrupted by the cataclysms of WWII and the West Ukrainian nationalist insurgency which would smoulder on until the 1950s, was to have a massive impact on the face of Lviv and change the way the city grew and developed forever.
Issue 15, July 2009.
Lviv is becoming increasingly famed as one of the architectural pearls of Eastern Europe, but amid all the spires and dreamily crafted masonry of the Lviv skyline the city is still clearly missing one key element – a waterfront. Lviv simply has no river to speak of, and the city’s troubled water supply has been a thorny subject among local citizens for over a hundred years, with many residents still suffering from restricted supplies and regular cut-offs. This lack of waterways in the downtown area helps to create a pressure-cooker micro-climate in central Lviv which can quite literally turn the inner city into a sultry giant sauna on a summer’s afternoon.
Issue 14, June 2009.
Lviv is one of the few cities in Eastern Europe that has managed to preserve its medieval authenticity, escaping major damage repeatedly despite being the scene of brutal fighting in virtually every conflict to rock the region in the past few centuries. This charmed life has produced a wedding cake of a city boasting endless delights which can be explored on many different levels, with something for every taste from the macabre to the romantic. As the tourism industry improves and innovates to meet the demands of the 21st century tourist trade, more and more specialized tours are being offered up allowing guests to explore specific areas of Lviv’s past. Whether your interest is in underground catacombs or the city’s Habsburg heritage, you are now almost guaranteed the chance to find the right tour for you!
Issue 13, May 2009.
Lviv has traditionally been known as the café capital of the region, with a bohemian culture conducive of laid-back afternoons spent discussing the meaning life as you watch the world go by. In recent years the tourism boom which the city has experienced has helped return the café and restaurant sector to its former glory, which has meant that each May the streets of ancient Lviv are once more taken over by a blooming of summer terraces to suit every budget and every taste.
Issue 12, April 2009.
Lviv has always been a city of many religious denominations. Located at one of the great crossroads of European culture, for centuries Lviv has been a place where different strains of Catholic and Orthodox Christianity have rubbed shoulders, leading visitors to claim that wherever you go in the city, you find a bar, a café or a church. As the city prepares to celebrate Easter, we take a look at this diverse religious heritage.
Issue 11, March 2009.
This month see’s International Theatre Day, making this the ideal time to explore Lviv’s long tradition as a focus of Ukrainian theatre. Many elements of Lviv’s theatrical inheritance can be traced in ancient Ukrainian folk customs and rites, with many of today’s theatircal customs dating back to pagan traditions and rituals. These are especially evident in the Spring vesnianky songs, the summer Kupalo festival, winter carols and above all in the ceremony of the Ukrainian wedding. Elements of all these traditions are upheld by Lviv’s many theatres, where the best traditions of international theatre are also in evidence.
Issue 10, February 2009.
Lviv is Ukraine’s most romantic city, full of little courtyards and atmospheric palaces where couples can fall in love as they take in the ancient and breath-taking architecture. Over the centuries Lviv has been the major crossroads between Central Europe and the Eurasian plains spreading out to the east, making it a place where young lovers from all over the world would meet and fall for each other.
Issue 2, June 2008.
Lviv region has been one of the focal points of eastern European history for the past millennium, with the tide of empire regularly washing up conquerors up into the woodlands and foothills of Halychyna. Lviv has traditionally been a gateway region highly prized by neighbouring powers and often fought over. This turbulent history has left the surrounding countryside dotted with the fortress relics of bygone frontiers and the palaces of extinct dynasties. While much of Ukraine’s historical inheritance remains tied to the Soviet or Russian Imperial past, Lviv region continues to act as an anchor for the country in a different, quintessentially European experience.
Issue 3, July 2008.
Summer in Lviv is increasingly becoming associated with growing number of annual summer music and ethno-folk festivals being held in the region. As the cultural capital of the country, Lviv has provided a patriotic impulse to much of the national soul-searching of the past 17 years of independence, and one of the off-shoots of this has been the development of an open air festival culture that has mushroomed in recent years into a genuine East European phenomenon. Many of this year’s festivals are within easy reach of Lviv. Day trips come highly recommended.
Issue 7, November 2008.
The countryside surrounding Lviv is not only strikingly beautiful but also famed for its recuperative powers and medicinal treasures, with numerous spa resorts and mountainside retreats offering the perfect opportunity to recharge your batteries. Although the most celebrated Lviv Oblast resort remains Truskavets with its high-level Soviet and post-Soviet connotations, the more understated resort of Morshyn remains a wonder of Prykarpattya and one of the finest mineral water sources in eastern Europe.