Ukraine is known for its vivid and beautiful places and unforgettable experiences. There is a city, which is known as the centre of Ukrainian art and culture and boasts many of the country’s brightest and best museums, art galleries and theatres. Yes, you guessed it right. It’s Lviv, the city of unique old charm, located in western Ukraine. It is also known as Mecca of Ukraine as there are many inspiring churches and cathedrals on just about every corner. The people here are church goers but they haven’t forgotten partying. There are a lot of pubs, clubs and restaurants too. Lviv has had quite an enthralling and violent history. The city has had many rulers including Poland, Sweden, The Austrian Hungarian Empire, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. With the fall of Soviet Union in 1991, freedom was finally seized Lviv continues to be shining example of independence.
How to get here?
Direct flights to Lviv are available from many cities including Warsaw, Munich, Vienna Rome and Istanbul. In April, 2012, Lviv got its newly renovated terminal. Danyalo Halytskyi Lviv International Airport is situated just 14km west of the city centre. You can get to town by taking a taxi from the stands outside the main entrance of the airport. It is about 20 minutes by taxi and 40 minutes by trolleybus. There is own train station of Lviv named Lviv Holovnyi Train Station, and getting from the station to centre is relatively easy. Taxis are more than enough near the exit.
Lviv’s hotel industry is on boom. Throughout its history, the city’s stunning architecture, rich history and exciting dining and entertainment options have drawn travelers in bulk. All hotels and hostels here offer a full range of comfort, style and service. If you don’t want to stay in a hotel then there are a number of agencies that offer renovated apartments that can be rented on nightly bases and are considerably cheaper than many hotel rooms. In the high rated hotels, there are Astoria, Citadel Inn, Grand Hotel, Leopolis, and Panorama Lviv Hotel etc. In slightly mid range, there are Edem, George, Nota Bene and Wien Hotel etc. The old city hostel and the Kosmonaut also offer affordably priced accommodation.
There is a long list of Restaurants, Cafes, Bars which offer American, Asian, Brewery and any kind of food you like. If you like American food then there is Tex Mex BBQ, with their famous tacos, burritos, frijoles refritos, guacamole etc. At Aroma Café near Potocki Palace where you can get famous Tom Yan Thai soup with veal. You can also enjoy a Black Burger- an exclusive in Lviv, made with cuttlefish ink. At Bagrationi, the Georgian food is at its finest and a great wine selection featuring Italian, French, Austrian and Spanish Labels. Surely, Lviv is the last place in the world where you would die starving.
Places to visit
Arena Lviv is a king size football stadium which was one of the eight UEFA Euro 2012 venues. With a seating capacity just under 33,000 seats, this stadium provides fans with an intimate, up close viewing angles for all the action on the football pitch. Arena Lviv is located on Styiks’ka Street, about 9-10 km from the city center and about 20 minutes by taxi except during major events.
Rynok Square, also known as Market Square is the center of Lviv’s social, economic and cultural life. It is located in the city center and just some minutes walk from the Opera House. You will find 45 buildings here in diverse architectural styles that are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. It is a hub of activity buzzing with tourists and locals and often the stage for festivals and major events. You will also find plenty of options for dining, entertainment and souvenir shopping right on Rynok Square.
Dominican Church was built in 18th century and it is a remarkable example of Baroque architecture. It is just a short walk off Lviv’s Rynok Square at the end of Stavropihiys’ka Street. Inside the Dominican Church, you will find ornate fretworks and the cathedral’s façade which is beautifully illuminated at night. Photography is allowed too for a small fee.
Chapel of the Boim Family
It is a small shrine which was built in the first half of the 17th century and served as a tomb for the Boim, a merchant family. It is located on Katedral’na Street just off Rynok Square and a short walk from main avenue Prospect Scobody. There are many Dark Ornate stone sculptures covering the entire façade of the chapel’s western wall. It is a popular backdrop for wedding photography.
Arsenal contains a museum of arms and weapons of the 13th to 20th centuries from nearly 40 countries. You can find an antique reproductions store with Souvenirs and examples of ancient weapons. You can get a chance to be photographed wearing knight’s armour. The Museum is just short walk from Rynok Square.
The palace features exhibit of Rococo furniture and clocks, a collection of Medallions and precious silverware. It is located on Rynok Square in Lviv’s center. Next to the Palace you can find the Italian Courtyard, a beautiful patio and café that evokes Italian Renaissance.
The Ukrainian art and Culture is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime and it’s not just a city, it is a life style which probably no other cities in Ukraine can match.