Step back in time in lovely Lviv

Wed, 2019-03-13 16:09

DUBAI: The brutalist Soviet architecture that dominates
Ukrainian cities is almost entirely absent in Lviv (or Lvov in
Russian). Instead, this city’s cobblestone streets and historic
buildings look like they could have been lifted from the heart of
medieval Europe — transporting visitors into the heart of a
fairytale.

Lviv has a rich and diverse history. It was the heart of the
Ukrainian national resistance movement, and previously the Kingdom
of Galicia-Volhynia — part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. King
Daniel named the city Leopolis, in honor of his oldest son Leo.

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Naturally, then, Ukrainians call Lviv the Lion City. Statues of
the animal can be seen throughout the city, but there are also
depictions in unexpected places — on benches, walls, and even
manholes.

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Lviv’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described by
the organization as “an outstanding example of the fusion of the
architectural and artistic traditions of eastern Europe with those
of Italy and Germany.” At its heart sits Rynok Square, the
city’s central market, which is surrounded by old pastel-colored
buildings, separated by narrow streets.

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The Black House stands out among the rest of the buildings in
the square. The formidable structure belonged to an Italian tax
collector during the Renaissance. Today, it houses the Lviv
Historical Museum, which comprehensively covers the storied history
of Ukraine.

Nearby is the Apteka Museum, located in a still-functioning
chemists. The pharmacy dates back to the 18th century, and displays
a number of antique machines used by chemists in that era.

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The largest art museum in Ukraine, the National Art Gallery, is
a must-see for art lovers, housing a wide variety of works by
German, Dutch, Spanish, and Flemish artists. The gallery is also
home to the biggest collection of Polish art outside of Poland.

Don’t forget to pass by the magnificent Lviv National Opera,
constructed by Zygmunt Gorgolowski in the neo-Renaissance style at
the end of the 19th century. Three sculptures sit at the top of the
building, representing Glory, Poetry and Music.

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Myths and mysteries run deep through the walls and buildings of
Lviv. From a lovers’ bench that can make dreams come true, to the
golden nose of a statue that can make you rich, the fables of the
city are fascinating. And it is the labyrinthine tunnels underneath
the city — stretching over 100 kilometers — that hold the most
stories; tales of love, faith and torture.

House of Legends restaurant plays on the city’s reputation for
myth. The building is adorned with a dragon and a watch that
purports to show the “true time of Lviv.” It was, so the story
goes, the home of a chimney cleaner and his family who still watch
over the mythical creatures in the city.

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Lviv is rightly renowned for its coffee culture, and you should
definitely try some local brews while you’re there. Head to the
Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture in Rynok Square. The ground floor is
a fairly generic café, but head downstairs into the ‘coffee
mine’ and you’ll be given a hard hat and invited to wander the
tunnels and pick a table. If you order the ‘flaming coffee,’ be
prepared. A waiter will appear armed with a blowtorch.

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The city is home to hundreds of other cafés and restaurants,
too. All tailored to a variety of tastes. Enjoy handmade truffles
in the Lviv Handmade Chocolate Café, where we’d also recommend
the local hot chocolate. And if you are interested in sampling some
traditional Ukrainian fare, then visit Kryivka. The restaurant is
modeled on the underground bunkers used by the Ukrainian Insurgent
Army, and offers a variety of traditional dishes, like varenyki
(the local take on ravioli) and borsche (classic beetroot soup).
You’ll need to know the patriotic password to gain entry,
though.

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For some great views, climb to the highest point in the city;
Castle Hill — on which stand the ruins of, yes, a castle, but
also an observation platform.

For accommodation, Lviv offers a wide range of places from
luxury hotels to bargain hostels. On The Square Guesthouse is an
affordable option in a great location right in the heart of Rynok
Square. If you want something a bit more upmarket, then the George
Hotel, built in 1901, is a luxurious (though still well-priced)
choice, just a few minutes walk from the city center.

(Shutterstock)

Lviv is a fascinating blend of eastern and western Europe that
offers mesmerizing views, historical insight and delicious food,
all at very reasonable prices. And it’s well worth considering
for your next European trip.

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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Step back in time in lovely Lviv