Under the rule of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, when Lviv and the Galicia region were a part of the Austrian empire, the Austrian Minister-Presidents maintained a residence in town. For Alfred Jozef Potocki, a palace was built in the 1880s for which no expenses were spared - it was designed to become the most impressive house in town. The palace received a wealth of Beaux-Arts elements as well as a large park, the latter making room for residential buildings in the 20th century. Under Soviet rule, Potocki Palace was confiscated and underwent a renovation in 1972. Today, the building is officially a residence of the Ukrainian President.
15 Kopernika Street
Theatre of Opera and Ballett
The picturesque Lviv Theatre building, built in neo-renaissance style by a local architects after winning a competition, is another one of numerous structures in town that goes back to the time when Galicia was a part of the Austo-Hungarian Empire. It was completed in 1900 and opened in October of that year in the presence of many dignitaries, clerics and writers. As the building was supposed to be right in the center of the city, where there wasn’t much space left at the time, the architects decided to channel the Poltva river through a concrete encasement under the building. The theatre is notable for its artful facade that has a number of columns and stucco decorations. In niches to both sides of the entrance, statues representing Tragedy and Comedy have been installed. The inside of the building is equally worth seeing, as it is adorned with oil paintings on the walls, more theater-themed sculptures and other artworks.
28 Svobody Avenue
Maria Zankovetska Theatre
Only a few steps away from the Theatre of Opera and Ballett, the theatre named after a popular Ukrainian stage actress hosts drama plays on stage. The building in neoclassical style had been opened in 1842 after a construction time of ten years. The building stands on a foundation made from thousands of logs and when it opened, it was one of the largest buildings in Central Europe. After staging plays in the German and Polish language initially, the German ones were later dropped and the theatre became exclusively Polish.
1 Lesya Ukrayinka Street
Chapel of the Boim Family
In a city that has no shortage of beautiful church buildings worth seeing, the Chapel of the Boim Family manages to stand out although it is a small attraction at first glance. Originally placed on a cemetery which has since been shut down, the chapel was built in the 17th century by the family of a wealthy Hungarian merchant to host the burial sites of family members. It stands on a square plan and is designed in a late renaissance style, with murals and reliefs on three walls, while the fourth one is covered by a neighbor residential building. On the uppermost tier, biblical scenes are depicted and above the entrance, portraits of family members can be found. The interior is marked by several sculptures and by the paneled dome. In the 18th century, the Catholic church took over control of the building until it was closed by the Soviets in 1945, upon which it fell into disrepair. Today, the Boim chapel belongs to the Lviv art gallery.
Katedral’na Square, open daily until 6 pm
Ivan Franko National University
The oldest continuously operating university in the country was founded in 1661 by King Casimir of Poland. It is mostly referred to simply as Lviv University but was in fact officially renamed after one of its alumni, the Ukrainian author Ivan Franko. The university found itself in the middle of political influences repeatedly, coming under the rule of Austrian, Polish, German, Soviet and Ukrainian governments in the course of its existence. This is also reflected in more recent developments, as Lviv University has greatly expanded its academic programs since Ukrainian independence in 1991. There are now 18 faculties, several research facilities, more than 20,000 students and an extensive library and the university still enjoys the reputation of one of the most important institutions of higher learning in Ukraine and has a long list of notable graduates. The university’s main building used to serve as the seat of the Diet of Galicia from 1881 to 1918.
1 Universytetska Street
Lviv National Museum
One of the largest museums of the country is a premier showcase of Ukrainian arts and culture. Founded in 1905 by Metropolitan Archbishop Andrey Sheptytsky, who also donated the founding stock to it, the museum is now housed in a building not far from the opera building with a storied history, as it used to be the home of the Polish Industrial Museum and later became a Lenin Museum. The collection encompasses more than 100,000 exhibits including icons, paintings, sculptures, and scripts from several centuries, thus creating a comprehensive overview of Ukrainian art history. Among the highlights of the exhibition are a number of the original works of national icon Taras Shevchenko.
20 Svobody Avenue, open daily except Mondays 10 am - 5 pm