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Transport and Tourist information for Lviv

Buses

The public bus network is represented by mini-buses. They are called marshrutki, and they go all over the city. Marshrutki have no fixed stops or timetable but are cheap, fast, and mostly reliable. This kind of transport is so popular and convenient that mini-buses are often overcrowded during rush hours. The marshrutki also run on suburban lines to most suburbs and nearby towns, e.g. to Shehyni at the Polish border. The price of a ride in a marshrutka within the city is 1.75 UAH (September 2009) regardless of the distance traveled.

Tramways

The first tramway lines were opened on 5 May 1880. The electric tram was opened on 31 May 1894. The last horse-powered line was transferred to electric traction in 1908. In 1922 the tramways were switched to driving on the right-hand side. After World War II and the annexation of the city by the Soviet Union, several lines were closed but most of infrastructure was preserved. The tracks are narrow-gauge, unusual for the Soviet Union, but explained by the fact that the system was built while the city was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and needs to run on narrow medieval streets in the centre of town.

The Lviv tramway now runs about 220 cars on 75 km of track. Previously in bad shape, many tracks were reconstructed in 2006, and even more are to be reconstructed in the subsequent years.

Trolleybuses

After the war and expulsion of most of the population, the city grew rapidly, due to evacuees returning from Russia and the Soviet Government's vigorous development of heavy industry. This included transfer of entire factories from the Urals and other distant places to the newly "liberated" (acquired) territories of the USSR, including Lviv.

The city centre tramway lines were replaced with trolleybuses on 27 November 1952. Later, new lines were opened to the blocks of flats at the city outskirts. The network now runs 200 trolleybuses, mostly of the 1980s 14Tr type. In 2006-2008 10 modern low-floor trolleybuses built by the Lviv Bus Factory were purchased.

Railways

Modern Lviv remains a hub on which nine railways converge, providing local and international services. Lviv railway is one of the oldest in Ukraine. The first train arrived to Lviv on November 4, 1861. The building of the main Lviv Railway Station, designed by Władysław Sadłowski, was built in 1904 and was considered one of the best in Europe from both the architectural and the technical aspects.

In the interbellum period, Lviv (known then as Lw?w), was one of the most important hubs of the Polish State Railways. The junction of Lw?w consisted in mid-1939 of four stations - Lw?w Main (Lw?w Gł?wny), Lw?w Klepar?w, Lw?w Łyczak?w, and Lw?w Podzamcze. In August 1939, right before World War Two, 73 trains departed daily from the Main Station, including 56 local and 17 fast trains. Lw?w was directly connected with all major centers of the Second Polish Republic, as well as such cities, as Berlin, Bucharest, and Budapest.

Currently, several trains cross the nearby Polish-Ukrainian border (mostly via Przemyśl in Poland). There are good connections to Slovakia (Ko?ice) and Hungary (Budapest). Many routes have overnight trains with sleeping compartments. Lviv railway is often called a main gateway from Ukraine to Europe, although buses are often a cheaper and more convenient way of entering the "Schengen" countries.

Airport

Beginnings of aviation in Lviv reach back to 1884, when the Aeronautic Society was opened there. The Society issued its own magazine, Astronauta, and soon ceased to exist. In 1909, on the initiative of Edmund Libanski, the Awiata Society was founded. Among its members there was a group of professors and students of the Lviv Polytechnic (pol. Politechnika Lwowska), including Stefan Drzewiecki and Zygmunt Sochacki. Awiata was the oldest Polish organization of this kind, and it concentrated its activities mainly on exhibitions, such as the First Aviation Exhibition, which took place in 1910, and which featured models of aircraft built by Lviv students.

In 1913-1914 brothers Tadeusz and Władysław Floriańscy built a two-seated airplane. When World War One broke out, Austrian authorities confiscated it, but did not manage to evacuate the plane, and it was seized by the Russians, who used the plane for intelligence purposes. The Floriański brothers plane was the first Polish-made aircraft. On November 5, 1918, a crew consisting of Stefan Bastyr and Janusz de Beaurain carried out the first ever flight under Polish flag, taking off from Lviv's Lewand?wka airport.In the interbellum period, Lviv was a major center of gliding, with a famous Gliding School in Bezmiechowa, opened in 1932. In the same year, the Institute of Gliding Technology was opened in Lviv, and it was the second such institute in the world. In 1938, the First Polish Aircraft Exhibition took place in the city.

Interbellum Lviv also was a major center of the Polish Air Force, with the Sixth Air Regiment located there. The Regiment was based at the airport in Lviv's suburb of Sknił?w (Sknyliv), opened in 1924. The Sknyliv Airport, now known as Lviv International Airport (LWO) is 6 km from the city centre.

Architecture

Lviv's historic churches, buildings and relics date from the 13th century. In recent centuries, it was spared some of the invasions and wars that destroyed other Ukrainian cities. Its architecture reflects various European styles and periods. After the fires of 1527 and 1556 Lviv lost most of its gothic-style buildings, but it retains many buildings in renaissance, baroque, and classic styles. There are works by artists of the Vienna Secession, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco styles.

The buildings have many stone sculptures and carvings, particularly on large doors, hundreds of years old. The remains of old churches dot the central cityscape. Some three- to five-storey buildings have hidden inner courtyards and grottoes in various states of repair. Some cemeteries are of interest, for example the Lychakivskiy Cemetery, where the Polish elite were buried for centuries. Leaving the central area, the architectural style changes radically as Soviet-era high-rise blocks dominate. In the centre, the Soviet era is reflected mainly in a few modern-style national monuments and sculptures.

Books

Every day the book market takes places around the monument to Ivan Fеdorovych. He was a typographer in the 16th century who fled Moscow and found a new home in Lviv. New ideas came to Lviv during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the 19th century, many publishing houses, newspapers and magazines were established. Among these was the Ossolineum, one of the most important Polish scientific libraries. Most of Polish-language books and publications of the Ossolineum library are still kept in a local Jesuit church. In 1997 Polish government asked the Ukrainian government to hand over these documents, and in 2003 the Ukrainian side allowed the Poles access to the publications. In 2006, an office of the Ossolineum (which now is located in Wroclaw) was opened in Lviv, and began a process of scanning all documents.

Literature written in Lviv contributed to Austrian, Ukrainian, Yiddish and Polish literature. Translation work took place between these cultures.

Religion

From its establishment Lviv was a city of religious variety and conflicts between different faiths. At one point over 60 churches existed in the city. The largest Christian churches have existed in the city since the 13th century. The three major Christian groups (the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv, the German-speaking and Polish Catholics, and the Armenian Church) have each had a diocesan seat in Lviv since the 16th century. The Golden Rose Synagogue was built here in 1582 and in the 1700s the Orthodox community took their allegiance to the Pope in Rome and became the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. This bond was forcibly dissolved in 1946 by the Soviet authorities, while the Roman Catholic community was forced out by the expulsion of the Polish population. Since 1989 religious life in Lviv has experienced a revival.

Lviv is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lviv, the centre of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine and (until 21 August 2005) was the centre of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. About 35 per cent of religious buildings belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, 11.5 per cent to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, 9 per cent to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate and 6 per cent to the Roman Catholic Church.Until 2005 Lviv was the only city with two Catholic Cardinals: Lubomyr Husar (Byzantine Rite) and Marian Jaworski (Latin Rite).

In June 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the Latin Cathedral, St. George's Cathedral, and the Armenian Cathedral.

Lviv historically had a large and active Jewish community, as witnessed today by its synagogues. Until 1941 at least 45 synagogues and prayer houses existed. Even in the 16th century, two separate communities existed. One lived in today's old town, the other one in the Krakowskie Przedmieście. In the 19th century a more differentiated community started to spread out. Liberal Jews sought more cultural assimilation and spoke German and Polish. On the other hand, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews tried to retain the old traditions. Between 1941 and 1944 the Germans in effect completely destroyed the centuries-old Jewish tradition of Lviv. Most synagogues were destroyed and the Jewish population forced into a ghetto from which they were later transported into concentration camps where they were murdered.

Under the Soviet Union synagogues remained closed and were used as storage facilities or movie houses. Only since the fall of the Iron Curtain has the remainder of the Jewish community experienced a faint revival.

Arts

The "Group Artes" was a young movement founded in 1929. Many of the artists studied in Paris and had traveled throughout Europe. They worked and experimented in different areas of modern art: Futurism, Cubism, New Objectivity and Surrealism. Cooperation took place between avant-garde musicians and authors. Altogether thirteen exhibitions by Artes took place in Warsaw, Krak?w, Ł?dz and Lviv. The German occupation put an end to this group. Otto Hahn was executed in 1942 in Lviv, Aleksander Riemer was murdered in 1943 in Auschwitz. Henryk Streng and Margit Reich-Sielska were able to escape the Shoah. Most of the surviving members of Artes lived in Poland after 1945. Only Margit Reich-Sielska (19001980) and Roman Sielski (19031990) stayed in Soviet Lviv.

The city was for years one of the most important cultural centers of Poland, with such writers as Aleksander Fredro, Leopold Staff, Maria Konopnicka, Jan Kasprowicz living in Lviv. It also is home to one of the largest museums in Ukraine, The National Museum of Lviv.

Theatre and opera

In 1842 the Skarbek Theatre was opened, making it the third largest theatre in Central Europe. In 1903 the sumptuous Lviv National Opera opera house (at that time called the City-Theatre) was opened, emulating the Vienna State Opera house. The house initially offered a changing repertoire such as classical dramas in German and Polish language, opera, operetta, comedy, and theatre. The opera house is named after the diva Salomea Krushelnytska, who worked here.

Museums and art galleries

The first museum of Lviv was the Lubomirscy Museum, opened in 1827. It displayed a wide collection of art and historical objects, connected with history of Poland. In 1857 the Baworowski Library was founded, whose most precious books are now kept in Krakow. The most notable of the museums and art galleries are the National Gallery, the Museum of Religion (formerly the Museum of Atheism) and the National Museum (formerly the Museum of Industry).

Music

Lviv has an active musical and cultural life. Apart from the Lviv Opera it has symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, and the Trembita Chorus. Lviv has one of the most prominent music Academy and music colleges in Ukraine, and also has a factory for the manufacture of stringed musical instruments.Lviv has been the home of numerous composers such as Mozart's son Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, Stanislav Liudkevych, Mykola Kolessa.Lviv is the hometown of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 winner Ruslana, who has since become well known in Europe and the rest of the world.

Music and radio have a strong tradition and deep roots in Lviv. The classical pianist Mieczysław Horszowski (18921993) was born here. The opera diva Salomea Kruszelnicka in the 1920s to 1930s called Lviv her home. Adam Han Gorski (1940- ), an internationally renowned concert violinist, was born here. "Polish Radio Lw?w" was a Polish radio station that went on-air on 15 January 1930. The programme proved very popular in Poland. Classical music and entertainment was aired, as well as lectures, readings, youth-programmes, news and liturgical services on Sunday.

Popular throughout Poland was the Comic Lw?w Wave, a cabaret-revue with musical pieces. Jewish artists contributed a great part to this artistic activity. Composers such as Henryk Wars and songwriter Emanuel Szlechter, the actor Mieczysław Monderer and Adolf Fleischer ("Aprikosenkranz und Untenbaum") were working in Lviv. The most famous stars of the shows were Henryk Vogelf?nger and Kazimierz Wajda, who together appeared as the comic duo "Szczepko and Tońko", who were similar to Laurel and Hardy.

After World War II, many of the Jewish artists and entertainers were either killed or fled; the Polish artists had to leave for the new Poland that had the Oder-Neisse Line and the Curzon Line as its frontiers as a result of the Yalta Conference.

Universities and academia

Lviv University is one of the oldest in Central Europe. Its was founded as a Jesuit school in 1608. Its prestige greatly increased through the work of philosopher Kazimierz Twardowski (18661938), one of the founders of the Lw?w-Warsaw School of Logic. This school of thought set benchmarks for academic research and education in Poland. In 1901 the city was the seat of the Lw?w Scientific Society, among whose members were major scientific figures. Very well-known were the mathematicians Stefan Banach, Juliusz Schauder and Stanisław Ulam, founders of the Lw?w School of Mathematics, who turned Lviv in the 1930s into the "World Centre of Functional Analysis". Although the scientists faced many obstacles at the universities, their share in Lviv academia was very substantial.

In 1852 in Dublany (eight kilometers from the outskirts of Lviv), the Agricultural Academy was opened, and it was one of the first Polish agricultural colleges. The Academy was in 1919 merged with the Lviv Polytechnic. Another important college of the interbellum period was the Academy of Foreign Trade in Lw?w.

Mathematics

Lviv is the home of the Scottish Caf?, where, in the 1930s and the early 1940s, Polish mathematicians from the Lw?w School of Mathematics met and spent their afternoons discussing mathematical problems. Stanisław Ulam (later, a participant in the Manhattan Project and the proposer of the Teller-Ulam design of thermonuclear weapons), Stefan Banach (one of the founders of functional analysis), Hugo Steinhaus, Karol Borsuk, Kazimierz Kuratowski, Mark Kac, and many other famous mathematicians would gather there. The caf? is now called the Desertniy Bar, and is located at 27, Taras Shevchenko Prospekt (prewar polish street name ulica Akademicka).

Tours in and Around Lviv

Old town

Rynok square (44 houses, with their unique history), town Hall ( endless stairs to the top and at last real satisfaction from the panorama of the city), chemist's - museum ( the development history of the pharmacy from 18th century ), great variety of churches and cathedrals ( Dominican cathedral, Uspenian ensemble, Latin cathedral, Boimiv chapel, Armenian church, St. Andrew church ), defense structures of the city ( arsenal, gun-powder tower, defense wall of the city ), cultural heritage ( Opera theatre, theatre of Maria Zankovecka, picture gallery ).

Underground Lviv

At the moment three different underground places a open for visitors. Besides archeological finds there is a possibility to visit underground city of 14th century.

Shevchenkivskyy Park

Open air museum - the collection of huts of 17-18th century from all regions of Ukraine.

Lychakiv cemetery - a place were the most prominent Ukrainians are buried.

Castle Tours

The most popular tourist itinerary is one, which leads to Olesko, Zolochiv and Pidhirci - these small villages are famous for their age-old majestic castles. From a distance you can see the powerful defensive building on the picturesque hill in Olesko, the walls are formed out of cut stone blocks; they "remember" a lot of invasions of polyglot invaders. And within some kilometers there is one more castle, quite not like the previous. It's like a fairy-tale palace with the slender towers, shining versatile mosaic tile and playful decoration.
There are hardly any castles in the world that went through such roller coaster transformations from a royal residence to a hospital, vocational school for farming machinery mechanics, ghost-haunted ruins, and museums, crumbling structures in perpetual state of restoration where cows and goats graze on once well-kept lawns.

lesko Castle is an outstanding architectural and historic monument from the 13th - 18th centuries, once a strong fortress of old Rus in the 14th century. Later in the 15th - 16th century Olesko Castle was turned into a palace for aristocracy and remodeled in the Italian Renaissance style in the 1620s. The famous Polish king Jan III Sobieski was born there in 1629. The king often lived in Olesko Castle and collected numerous art works. Afterwards the castle belonged to the Rzewuski family. After restoration in 1965-1975 Olesko Castle became a museum. Hundreds of unique paintings, sculptures and applied arts can be seen in the museum. Among them are icons, portraits, still-lives, the monumental picture of the Battle of Vienna, old furniture and wooden sculptures. In the Olesko Castle basement there is a well which also served as an escape passage for the besieged. A nice park with some modern sculptures surrounds Olesko Castle.

Pidhirtsi Castle is a unique architectural monuments in the late Renaissance style dating to 1635-1640. It belonged to the aristocratic Rzewuski family, was not intended as a defense structure and should be more accurately called a palace. Pidhirtsi Castle is surrounded by a moat and includes a Baroque church of St. Joseph (1752-1766). It has a wall with a heavy gate and a park with old trees. Pidhirtsi Castle has been under restoration after years when it was used as a Soviet hospital. It may take many years before it regains its pervious glory. However visitors are admitted and have to use their imagination when looking at once grand interiors. Visitors to Pidhirtsi Castle will be invited to take a short walk to see a beautiful wooden church of St. Michael from 1720.

Zolochiv Castle was built as a citadel with bastions in the 1630s. In the 17th - 18th centuries the castle belonged to the rich Polish families of Sobieski and Radziwill. In the days of Austro-Hungarian empire Zolochiv Castle was turned into a prison and later became a grim prison under Stalin. A memorial and an exhibition to commemorate those who perished here can now be seen in the castle as well as a chapel outside the the castle walls. Inside Zolochiv Castle visitors could see a newly restored Chinese palace built to follow European fashion for Chinese art in late 17th century. To the right is a larger residential palace undergoing restoration. From the bastions one could see surrounding countryside and the town of Zolochiv. Tourists would be taken to the old magic stone in the castle courtyard. It has engraved inscriptions in unknown language and a hole in the middle that will help fulfill your wishes if you put your finger there and turn.

Tours to the Carpathians

If you are staying in Lviv and have some free time, you have a great possibility to visit Ukrainian mountains - Carpathians. It is a mountain chain famous for its ancient forests that are unique for Central Europe. The major part of the Carpathians is covered with coniferous and beechen forests see nature and breathe pure Mountain air, In the Carpathians you can have a calm family rest, do some hiking, Have an adventures travelling by your own or with an experienced guide. In addition, in spring you may also visit the narcissus valley to do rafting trips on Cheremosh and Dnister rivers.

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