Lviv, Ukraine: Part 1

Добрий вечір. (Good Evening)

Well it has been a while since my last post. I’ve had a crazy last few weeks, but now I found some time to get this typed up. I am back at the University of North Dakota, but I wanted to get a post up about my week traveling to Warsaw, Poland and Lviv, Ukraine. This post will cover the first few  hours of my first day in Lviv, Ukraine.

In the last post I had arrived in Lviv, Ukraine at 6:30am. I got a taxi and got to Rynok Square, the main central square where the city hall is located. When I went to check in at the hostel that I had booked, I was told they were full and did not have any room, and so I had to go two buildings down to find another hostel with space open. I was able to find a spot, and I dropped my bag off, and left the hostel to go find something to eat for breakfast. Lviv is the central city of western Ukraine. It took a while to get used to seeing snow, since it doesn’t usually snow in Ireland.  I walked past the City Hall and continued along , and I found a cafe where I could find something to eat. I do not speak Ukrainian, and only know a few words, so ordering food that morning was a bit of a struggle. Thankfully there were English translations , which helped. I had a pastry filled with maple syrup, it was good. At the southwest corner of Rynok Square, across the street from where I found breakfast, is the Latin Cathedral. The cathedral was built during the 14th century. The cathedral was an amazing sight both during the day and at night. By now it was around 1:30pm, and I wandered around the marketplace which was set up along the western side of the City Hall. There were stalls selling, food, embroidered fabrics, trinkets and other souvenir gifts.

At 3 that afternoon, I met up with Marichka, a good friend of mine who is from Lviv. We began by walking from Rynok Square, down Сербська вул, Serb’ska St. to a chocolate shop. Outside the shop there was a stand where they were selling the chocolate. Inside the shop was seemingly every kind of chocolate that you could think of. There was a Christmas tree made from the chocolate. Through 2 windows you could see the workers making the chocolate. Lviv is known for its chocolate. We amazingly held off on the chocolate form the moment. We continued on from the shop along, Serb’ska St. to the Bernadine Church and the St. Andrews Church. These two churches were grand buildings that seemed to dominate the surrounding architecture. We turned west and continued past a monument to King Danylo. King Danylo was the founder of the city and named it after his son Lev, which means lion. We left the monument and to be honest I did not know where we were going, I was lost and was just following Marichka’s lead. After a few minutes of walking we ended up in front of a building which I was told was the library for Ivano Franko University, the university there in Lviv. Marichka told me that normally they don’t like to let foreigners in to the library, but after a short conversation with the librarian at the desk, which I did not understand, we were able to enter. Entering the building we went up a flight of stairs and entered a small room where the card catalog is located, which is used for locating books in the library. On the other side of this small room, were double-doors which led to a grand reading room. The room was two-stories high, and the walls were covered in bookshelves. In the center of the room were several reading desks and tables. As grand as this was, I looked up, and taking up the majority of the central area of the ceiling was a large skylight, and surrounding the skylight was intricate plaster work, as well as beautiful paintings which framed the skylight. I was amazed for a moment that, students could actually study there. As we were leaving the library, Marichka mentioned that that building was only for books, and that there was a separate building for journals and other articles.

We left the library and continued on to the university itself. The main building is located along Універсітетська вул, University St. Across the street to the west from the building is Ivan Fanko’s Park. Ivan Franko was a poet and writer who lived from 1856-1916. He was jailed three times for his writings and is seen as an important figure in the movement for Ukrainian independence. At the edge of the park, is a monument to Ivan Franko. The university building itself is immense. Upon entering the building, we were stopped and after Marichka spoke briefly with a guard we were able to enter and get a look around. After going through the main entrance you go up a series of stone steps to the first landing, to the left and right are long corridors which seem to stretch on for quite a ways. After this landing we go up another flight, and come to another landing with more long hallways branching off. Also at this landing is a room known as the Mirror room. Inside the room the walls are covered in tall mirrors, which make the room appear much larger than it actually is. The ceiling above the stairs is vaulted creating a great open space, which makes you seem small. After a short stop in the university, we left to continue our journey around the city, at this point it was about 4:30pm.

There is more to tell, but I am going to split this into several separate posts.

Дуже дякую  (Thank you)

На добраніч (Good Night)

Ivan Franko University Monument to Ivan Franko Monument to King Danylo Monument to King Danylo Bernadine Church Stone Lion in front of City Hall Sign at City Hall Stone Lion at City Hall (2) Statues from roof of the Opera House. City Hall on Rynok Square Ivan Franko Monument (2)

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