Lviv (Russian: Lvov) is the major city of Western Ukraine. The seventh-largest city of the country is located on the banks of the Poltva river, not far from the Polish border in the West and the Carpathian mountains in the South. Lviv has a storied history that is reflected in the cityscape as well as in the town’s plentiful cultural offerings. Lviv’s population mostly consists of ethnic Ukrainians (90%), some 10% are Russians.
The city was founded in the 13th century by Daniel of Galicia and was captured by Polish forces under King Casimir III about a hundred years later. After growing in significance for a long time, Lviv grew to be one of the largest towns under Polish-Lithuanian rule. The city’s wealth attracted invading armies from many European rulers as well as from Ottomans and Cossacks who all ultimately failed to conquer it. In 1772, the region around Lviv came under Austrian rule, a time that brought another boost of prosperity and growth. The city today in its architecture shows many traces of the Habsburg rule. After World War I, Lviv was fought for between Polish and Ukrainian forces but remained in Poland until World War II, when both Soviet and German occupation forces committed mass murders in the city. After the city became a part of the Soviet Union, many traces of the Polish heritage were expunged. Lviv became a center of the anti-government protests in 2014, declaring independence from President Yanukovych’s rule and strongly supporting the Euromaidan movement.