“UKRAINE” for many people this word conjures up mental images of danger, strife, poverty, refugees and destruction. Even for me, until 6 days ago when the Eurobus I was traveling on arrived in the city of Lviv, Ukraine.
Why I went to Lviv is not the important part of the story; but what I saw and learned is. When I arrived I was in a bit of a uncomfortable situation, and suddenly a woman spoke to me in English asking if I needed help. Liliya and her daughter-in-law, Oxana stepped in and became my rescuers.
Liliya quickly took me under her wing and became my tour guide, history teacher and friend.
In the old part of the city, if you look diligently, you will find 2,007 historical markers. In 1998 UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, added L’viv to its list. “It said that L’viv was an outstanding example of fusion of the architectural and artistic traditions of Eastern Europe, Italy and Germany; and that the political and commercial role of Lviv attracted to it a number of ethnic groups with different cultural and religious traditions, who established separate yet interdependent communities within the city, evidence for which is still discernible in the modern townscape.”
Some of the places you might want to visit would be the Church of St. George the Dragonfighter; the Boim Chapel, Rynok (Market) Square, the Latin Metropolitan Cathedral and the Jesuit Cathedral and Collegium.
Ukraine is a mosiac of nationalities, cultures, religions and architecture. A lengthy history of power and wealth at a natural crossroad of trade routes from europe, the middle east, Baltic region and asia. It was the center of commercial, religious and administrative activity. Great buildings were constructed, libraries created, art and science flourished, and the city was famous for the rich culture. And then as with most of our affluent civilisations corruption, greed and eventually war over territory and wealth became the norm.
The Ukraine many of us know is the one that was in our school history books. But let me show you the Ukraine I saw. Granted, it was only one city; but it drastically changed my idea of what Ukraine is. Lviv is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 18 churches reside here: Catholic, Greek Catholic, Jewish, Armenian, Christian and Orthodox. Perhaps Boim Family Chapel has the most interesting history and unique building. (it’s story coming later). Read about this UNESCO chapel on Wikipedia or the UNESCO Site.
Lviv also has some fun and interesting things to see.
I’m not finished with Lviv! Looking forward to another visit in September.