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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. 


Quick facts Lviv


Western Ukraine




Founding year


Lviv’s Old Town has been declared a World Heritage Site in 1998. The area around the Ploshcha Rynok (market square) is the main attraction for the many international tourists the city draws, partly due to its eclectic mixture of several European architectural styles that can be found here. Another important reason is the fact that this part of the city hosts a great number of theatres, artist galleries and workshops and also serves as the backdrop for many cultural events throughout the year. Also, historic churches and many monuments are concentrated in this area. Among the main sights are the Opera and Ballet Theatre and the National Art Gallery, the largest museum of its kind in the country. Many parks and gardens complement the attractive cityscape.

The city is home to several institutions of science and higher education including Lviv University and has in recent years developed into a center of the Ukrainian publishing industry. In general, however, the economic situation in Lviv and the surrounding region is slightly below the average of the country, for example in terms of monthly income. Important economy sectors are the electronics, vehicle manufacturing and software industries. There is an international airport a few kilometers outside of the city which has been extensively renovated in 2012. There are a number of international direct connections to European cities available from here.