The City of Lions

Posted on August 22, 2012 in Cities

The best observation point in Lviv is Vysokiy Zamok, the High Castle. Old trees line its paths, providing shade from the hot summer sun or a view to snow-covered hills in winter. At the end of this park is the legendary Znesinnia Park. The two parks are separated by a mound in honor of the Union of Lublin that offers a perfect panorama of the entire city. At the foot of this artificial mound proudly stands the oldest Lorentsovych lion. The sculpture is nearly a ruin, with only the outline of an animal evident, but it is under restoration.

The city of Lions. Ukraine View of Old Town. Lviv. Ukraine Old Town, Lviv. Ukraine

A little further from the City center is one of the most unique museums in Ukraine, the Lychakiv Cemetery. Dating from the 18th century, this marvelous necropolis is a huge park with enormous trees, chimeras and angels — and the tombs of prominent Ukrainians like composer Stanyslav Liudkevych, poet and prose writer Ivan Franko, opera singer Solomiya Krushelnytska, singer and songwriter Volodymyr Ivasiuk. The graves of prominent Poles, Armenians, Germans and Austrians are also here. There are even nighttime excursions to Lychakiv Cemetery, offering a very romantic, if a touch spooky, walk along winding paths among ivy-covered mausoleums, tilted but elegant gravestones, some of which are over 200 years old!

The old city wall. Lviv. Ukraine Palace of Potocki family in Lviv. Ukraine Lychakiv Cemetery. Lviv. Ukraine

For those who want a taste of Ukrainian traditions on high holidays in the open air, come to Shevchenkivskiy Hai or Shevchenko Grove. It covers over 10 hectares of parkland where visitors can stroll for days through the different regions of Ukraine in miniature: Hutsulshchyna, Lemkivshchyna, Boikivshchyna, Zakarpattia. Authentic wooden houses, farmsteads, windmills, and churches have been gathered lovingly in this place from different villages.

Being at the crossroads of East and West, Catholicism and Orthodoxy has shaped the unique character of Lviv that is revealed at every corner. You may never even notice the moment at which you fell in love with this delightful, endlessly surprising city.