Lviv ; Russian: Львов) is a city in western Ukraine.
The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically also for Ukraine’s neighbour, Poland. The historic centre of Lviv with its old buildings and cobblestone roads has survived the Second World War and the Soviet presence largely unscathed. The city has many industries and institutions of higher education such as the Lviv University and the Lviv Polytechnic. Lviv is a home to many world-class cultural institutions, including philharmonic orchestra and the famous The Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. The historic city centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lviv celebrated its 750th anniversary with a son et lumière in the city centre in September 2006.
Lviv was founded in 1256 in Red Ruthenia by King Danylo Halytskyi of the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honour of his son, Lev. Together with the rest of Red Ruthenia, Lviv was captured by the Kingdom of Poland in 1349 during the reign of Polish king Casimir III the Great. Lviv belonged to the Kingdom of Poland 1349–1569, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1772, the Austrian Empire 1772–1918, the Second Polish Republic 1918–1939. With the Invasion of Poland at the outbreak of WWII the city of Lviv with adjacent land were annexed and incorporated into the Soviet Union and became part of the Ukrainian SSR 1939–1941. Between July 1941 and July 1944 Lviv was under German occupation and was located in the General Government. In July 1944 it was captured by the Soviet Red Army and the Polish Home Army. According to the agreements of the Yalta Conference Lviv was integrated into the Ukrainian SSR again.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the city remained a part of the now independent Ukraine, for which it currently serves as the administrative centre of Lviv Oblast, and designated as its own raion (district) within that oblast.
On June 12, 2009 the Ukrainian magazine Focus assessed Lviv as the best Ukrainian city to live in.
Lviv is located on the edge of the Roztochia Upland, approximately 70 km from the Polish border and 160 km (100 miles) from the eastern Carpathian Mountains. The average altitude of Lviv is 296 m (971.13 ft) above sea level. Its highest point is the Vysokyi Zamok (High Castle), 409 m (1,341.86 ft) above sea level. This castle has a commanding view of the historic city centre with its distinctive green-domed churches and intricate architecture.
The old walled city was at the foothills of the High Castle on the banks of the river Poltva. In the 13th century, the river was used to transport goods. In the early 20th century, the Poltva was covered over in areas where it flows through the city. The river flows directly beneath the central street of Lviv, Freedom Avenue (Prospect Svobody) and the renowned Lviv Opera House.
Lviv's climate is moderate continental. The average temperatures are −4 °C (25 °F) in January and 20 °C (68 °F) in June. Average annual rainfall is 660 mm (26 inches) with the maximum being in summer. Cloud coverage averages 66 days per year
According to the legend, Lviv was founded by King Daniel of Galicia, in the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honour of his son, Lev. When Daniel died Lev made Lviv the capital of Galicia-Volhynia. The city is first mentioned in the Halych-Volhynian Chronicle, which dates from 1256.
In 1356, Casimir III of Poland brought in German burghers and within 7 years granted the Magdeburg rights which implied that all city matters were to be resolved by a council, elected by the wealthy citizens. The city council seal of the 14th century stated: S(igillum): Civitatis Lembvrgensis. As part of Poland (and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), Lviv became the capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship
In 1572 the first publisher of books in Ukraine, Ivan Fedorovych, a graduate of the University of Krakow settled in Lviv after a brief period when he was chased out of Moscow. The city became a significant centre for Eastern orthodoxy with the establishment of an orthodox brotherhood, a Greek-Slavonic school, and a printery that published the first full versions of the Bible in Church Slavonic in 1580.
As Lviv prospered, it became religiously and ethnically diverse. The 17th century brought invading armies of Swedes, Hungarians from Transylvania, Russians and Cossacks to its gates. However, Lviv was the only major city in Poland that was not captured by the invaders. In 1672 it was besieged by the Ottomans, who also failed to conquer it. Lviv was captured for the first time by a foreign army in 1704, when Swedish troops under King Charles XII entered the city after a siege.
In 1772, following the First Partition of Poland the region was annexed by Austria. Being known in German as Lemberg, the city became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria.
In 1773 the first newspaper in Lviv "Gazette de Leopoli" began to be published. In 1784 a German language University was opened which was closed in 1805. In 1817 the University was re-opened.
In the 19th century the Austrian administration attempted to Germanise the city. Many cultural organizations which did not have a pro-German orientation were closed. After the revolution of 1848, the language of instruction at the University shifted from German to also include Ukrainian and Polish. Around that time a certain sociolect has developed in the city known as Lwów dialect. Considering to be a type of Polish dialect the socialect draws its roots out of numerous other languages beside Polish. The widely used word in the Soviet Union ment has derived from that dialect.
In 1853 it was the first European city to have street lights due to innovations discovered by Lviv inhabitants Ignacy Łukasiewicz and Jan Zeh. In that year kerosene lamps were introduced as street lights which in 1858 were updated to gas, and in 1900 to electricity.
In the early stage of First World War Lviv was briefly captured by the Russian army in September 1914 but retaken by Austria–Hungary in June the following year.
With the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy at the end of World War I Lviv became an arena of battle between the local Polish populations and the Ukrainian soldiers Sich Riflemen. Both nations perceived Lviv as integral part of their new states, forming that time in the former Austrian territories. On the night of October 31–1 November 1918 the Western Ukrainian National Republic was proclaimed with Lviv as its capital. 2,300 Ukrainian soldiers from Sichovi Striltsi units, previously a legion in the Austrian Army, took control over Lviv. City's Polish majority discarded the Ukrainian rule and begun to fight off the Ukrainian troops. During this combat an important role was taken by young Polish city defenders called Lwów Eaglets. For the courage of its inhabitants Lviv was awarded the Virtuti Militari cross by Józef Piłsudski on 22 November 1920.
The Ukrainian forces withdrew behind Lviv's confines by November 21, 1918, laying siege to the city immediately after the withdrawal. The Sich riflemen reformed into the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA). The Polish forces with the aid from central Poland, including general Haller's Blue Army equipped by the French, relieved the besieged city finally in May 1919, forcing the UHA to the east. Despite the Entente's mediation attempts to cease hostilities and reach a compromise between belligerents, the Polish–Ukrainian War continued till July 1919, when the last UHA forces withdrew east of the river Zbruch. Border on the river Zbruch was confirmed at the Treaty of Warsaw (1920).
In April 1920 Polish government signed an agreement with Symon Petlura where for military support against the Bolsheviks, the Ukrainian People's Republic renounced its claims to the territories of Eastern Galicia.
Polish sovereignty over Lviv was internationally recognized when the Council of Ambassadors ultimately approved it in March 1923.
In August 1920 Lviv was attacked by the Red Army under the command of Aleksandr Yegorov and Stalin during Polish-Soviet War, but the city resisted again.
In the interbellum period Lviv held the rank of Poland's third most populous city (after Warsaw and Łódź) and became the seat of the Lwów Voivodeship. It was then, after capital Warsaw, the second most important cultural and academic centre of Poland (in academical year 1937/38 there were 9,1 thousand students, attending 5 higher education facilities including widely renown university and institute of technology).
In 1928 Professor Rudolf Weigl of the Lviv University discovered the vaccine against typhus.
Although the eastern part of Lwów Voivodeship had a relative Ukrainian majority in most of the rural areas, the city itself did not. Prewar Lviv had also a large Jewish population. According to the 1931 Polish Government Census, Poles numbered 198,212 (63.5%) of the population, with Jews numbering 75,316 (24.1%) and Ukrainians numbering 35,137 (11.3%). The Polish population of the city spoke its distinct dialect.
Note: In the table to the right Ruthenian nationality stands for Ruthenians who did not adopt the Ukrainian ethnic identity in the early twentieth century, i.e. Rusyns, Lemkos, Boykos and Hutsuls.
Following the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Subsequently the Soviets invaded on September 17. The Soviet Union annexed eastern part of prewar Poland including the city of Lviv which capitulated to the Red Army on September 22, 1939.
Lviv became the capital of the newly formed Lviv Oblast. Immediately Soviets started to repress local Poles and Ukrainians, deporting many of the citizens. Waves of deportations were aimed at the Polish elites, then the Jews who refused Soviet passports, then the Ukrainian nationalists.
On June 22, 1941 the Germans attacked the USSR.
In the initial stage of Operation Barbarossa (late June 1941), Lviv was taken by the Germans. The evacuating Soviets killed most of the prison population. Wehrmacht forces arriving in the city discovered evidence of the mass murders committed by the NKVD and NKGB. Ukrainian nationalists organized as militia and civil population were allowed to take revenge on the "Jews and the bolcheviks" and indulged into several pogroms in Lviv and the surrounding region. The Lviv pogroms took a toll of 4000 to 10.000 Jews. The Germans during the occupation of the city committed numerous other atrocities. In July 1941 Germans and Ukrainians also executed Polish professors with their families.
On 30 June 1941, Yaroslav Stetsko proclaimed in Lviv the Government of an independent Ukraine. This was done without pre-approval from the Germans and within 3 days the organizers were arrested. Eastern Galicia was subsequently incorporated into the General Government as Distrikt Galizien.
Germany viewed Galicia, former Austrian crown land, as already aryanized and civilized, and as a result the Ukrainian Galicians escaped the full extent of German intentions in comparison to Ukrainians who lived in Eastern and Central Ukraine. German policy towards Polish population was more harsh and comparable to the situation in the rest of the General Government. According to the Third Reich's racial policies Galician Jews became the main target of German repressions. Almost all of the Jewish Galicians were deported to concentration camps or killed. In 1941 there were approximately 200,000 Jews in Lviv. By the end of the war the Jewish population was virtually wiped out with only 200 to 300 Jews left alive.
The Soviet 3rd Tank Army entered Lviv again after the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive of July 22–24, 1944.
After the city was taken by Soviet forces with the help of Armia Krajowa, the local commanders of the Polish AK were invited to a meeting with the commanders of the Red Army, where they were arrested by the NKVD.
In January 1945 the local NKVD arrested many Poles in Lviv (where, according to Soviet sources, on 1 October 1944 Poles still made a clear majority – 66.7% of population) to encourage their emigration from their city. Those arrested were released after they signed papers agreeing to emigrate to Poland, which postwar borders were shifted westwards leaving the city in the Soviet Union. It is estimated that from 100,000 to 140,000 Poles were resettled in the Recovered Territories. Little remains of Polish culture in Lviv except for the Italian-influenced architecture. The Polish history of Lviv is still well remembered in Poland, and those Poles who stayed in Lviv, have formed their own organization, the Association of Polish Culture of the Lviv Land.
Lviv and its population suffered greatly during the two world wars as many of the offensives were fought across the local geography causing significant collateral damage and disruption.
On August 16, 1945 a border agreement between Soviet puppet-government of Poland and the government of the USSR was signed in Moscow, in which now-communist Poland formally ceded its prewar eastern part to the Soviet Union, agreeing to the Polish-Soviet border drawn according to the so called Curzon Line. Consequently, the agreement had been ratified by February 5, 1946. Thus since February 1946 Lviv legally became a part of the Soviet Union.
Expulsion of the Polish population, together with migration from Ukrainian-speaking rural areas around the city, as well as from other parts of the Soviet Union, altered the traditional ethnic composition of the city, which became mostly Ukrainian.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the city significantly expanded both in population and size, mostly due to the city's rapidly growing industry. Due to the fight of SMERSH with the guerrilla formations of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the city obtained a nickname with a negative connotation of Banderstadt as the City of Stepan Bandera. Note that word stadt was added instead of the common Slavic grad or horod equivalent to imply the essence alienation. Over the years the residents of the city found this so ridiculous that even people not familiar with Bandera accepted it as a sarcasm in reference to the Soviet perception of the West Ukraine. By the fall of the Soviet Union the name became a proud mark for the Lviv natives culminating in the creation of a local rock band under the name Khloptsi z Bandershtadtu .
In the period of liberalization of the Soviet system in the 1980s the city became the centre of political movement advocating Ukrainian independence from the USSR
Citizens of Lviv strongly supported Viktor Yushchenko during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election and played a key role in the Orange Revolution. Hundred of thousands of people would gather in freezing temperature to demonstrate for the Orange camp. Acts of civil disobedience forced the head of the local police to resign and the local assembly issued a resolution refusing to accept the fraudulent first official results.
Lviv remains today one of the main centres of Ukrainian culture, and the origin of much of the nation's political class.
Many Poles moved to Lviv after the city was conquered by King Casimir in 1349. It became a major Polish cultural centre, and this continued after the partitions of Poland. During the events of 1918–1920 Polish patriotism in Lviv was at its height with the formation of the Polish Eaglets.
Lviv was depolonised mainly through Soviet-arranged population exchange from 1944–46. Those that remained found themselves in uncomfortable surroundings, having lost their state status and becoming an ethnic minority, which in 1959 only made up 4% of the population after Ukrainians, Russians and Jews. The city was abandoned by government, cultural, academic, technical intelligentsia, military and highly qualified workers. As a result, the Poles that remained tended to be those of the lower classes and had lower education than those of the other ethnicities in the city. Many families were mixed. As a result, 45 years after the end of WWII, in 1989, for 1000 female Poles there were 600 male Poles.The Polish population underwent significant assimilation; in 1989 40% considered Ukrainian as their mother tongue, 15% Russian. During Soviet times, two Polish schools continued to function: № 10 (with 8 grades) and № 24 (with 10 grades), and two Roman Catholic Cathedrals continued to function.
In the 1980s the process of uniting groups into ethnic associations was allowed. In 1988 a Polish language newspaper was allowed.The Polish population continues to use the Lviv dialect of the Polish language known as gwara lwowska).
The first known Jewish settlers in Lviv date back to 1256 and became an important part of this city cultural life, making significant contributions in science and culture. Apart from the Rabbinate Jews there were many Karaite Jews who had settle in the city after coming from the East and from Byzantium. After Casimir III conquered Lviv in 1349 the Jewish citizens received many privileges equal to that of other citizens of Poland. Lviv had two separate Jewish quarters, one within the city walls and one outside on the outskirts of the city. Each had their separate synagogues, although they both shared a cemetery which was also used by the Karaite community.
Before the Holocaust about one third of the city's population was made up of Jews (more than 100,000 on the eve of WWII). Up until the 1970s the city had over 30,000 Jews. Currently the Jewish population has shrunk considerably as a result of emigration, and to a lesser degree assimilation, and is estimated at 2,000. A number of organizations continue to be active.
The public bus network is mainly represented by mini-buses. Large buses are rather unconvenient due to the traffic conditions of the narrow streets the central historical part of the city. People call such a mini-bus marshrutka (that may be translated as route taxi), and they go all over the city. Marshrutkas have no fixed stops (they may stop not only on bus stops but in other places where it is allowed) 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. Marshrutkas also run on suburban lines to most suburbs and nearby towns, e.g. to Shehyni at the Polish border. There are also two bus routes in Lviv.
The price of a one-way single ride in the marshrutka within the city of Lviv is 1.75 UAH (= 0.2 USD) regardless of the distance traveled. No tickets are provided – the money should be paid to the driver. The price (February 2010) of a ride a city-bus is 1.00 UAH.
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.
The price of a tram/trolleybus ticket is 1.00 UAH (reduced fare ticket is 0.50 UAH, e.g. for students). The ticket may be purchased form the driver.
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.
The price of a tram/trolleybus ticket is 1.00 UAH (reduced fare ticket is 0.50 UAH, e.g. for students). The ticket may be purchased form the driver.
One more way of public transportation in Lviv is "rail bus". This is a motor-rail car that runs from the largest district of Lviv to the one of the largest industrial zones going through the central railway station. It makes 7 trips a day and has a mission of a faster and more comfortable connection between the remote urban districts.
The price of a one-way single ride in the rail bus is 1.50 UAH.
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 Lwów) was one of the most important hubs of the Polish State Railways. The junction of Lwów consisted in mid-1939 of four stations — main station Lwów Główny (now Ukrainian: Lviv Holovnyi), Lwów Kleparów (Lviv Klepariv), Lwów Łyczaków (Lviv Lychakiv), and Lwów Podzamcze (Lviv Pidzamche). In August 1939, right before World War Two, 73 trains departed daily from the Main Station, including 56 local and 17 fast trains. Lwów 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 (Košice) 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.
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, 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 Lewandówka (now Ukrainian: Levandivka) airport. In the interbellum period, Lviv was a major center of gliding, with a notable 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 Skniłów (today Ukrainian: Sknyliv), opened in 1924. The Sknyliv Airport, now known as Lviv International Airport (LWO) is 6 km from the city centre.
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.
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
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 .
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.
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, Kraków, Łódz 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 Arts lived in Poland after 1945. Only Margit Reich-Sielska (1900–1980) and Roman Sielski (1903–1990) 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.
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.
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).
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, the Lviv Conservatory, 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 (1892–1993) 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 Lwów" 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 Lwów 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 notable stars of the shows were Henryk Vogelfänger 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.
Lviv was an important centre for sport in Central Europe and it is regarded as the cradle of Polish football. The first known official goal in a football match in Poland was scored there on 14 July 1894 during the Lwów-Kraków game. The goal was scored by Włodzimierz Chomicki, who represented the team of Lviv. In 1904 Kazimierz Hemerling from Lviv published the first translation into Polish of the rules of football; another native of Lviv, Stanisław Polakiewicz, became the first officially recognised Polish referee in 1911, the year in which the first Polish Football Federation was founded in Lviv.
The first Polish professional football club, Czarni Lwów, opened in 1903 and the first stadium, which belonged to Pogoń, in 1913. Another club, Pogoń Lwów, was four times football champion of Poland (1922, 1923, 1925 and 1926). In the late 1920s, as many as four teams from the city played in the Polish Football League (Pogoń, Czarni, Hasmonea and Lechia). Hasmonea was the first Jewish football club in Poland. Several notable figures of Polish football came from this city, including Kazimierz Górski, Ryszard Koncewicz, Michał Matyas and Wacław Kuchar.
Lviv is also the Polish cradle of other sports. In January 1905 the first Polish ice-hockey match took place there; two years later the first ski-jumping competition was organized in nearby Sławsko, and in the same year the first Polish basketball games were organized in Lviv's gymnasiums. Several years earlier, in the autumn of 1887, in a gymnasium by Lychakiv Street (pol. ulica Łyczakowska), the first Polish track and field competition took place, with such sports as long jump and high jump. Lviv's athlete Władysław Ponurski represented Austria in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. In addition, on 9 July 1922 the first official rugby game in Poland took place at the stadium of Pogoń Lwów, in which the rugby team of Orzeł Biały Lwów divided itself into two teams – "The Reds" and "The Blacks". The referee of this game was a Frenchman by the name of Robineau.
Lviv now has several major professional football clubs and some smaller clubs. FC Karpaty Lviv, founded in 1963, plays in the first division of the Ukrainian Premier League. Sometimes, the youth of Lviv assemble on the central street (Freedom Avenue) to watch and cheer an outdoor broadcast of a game.
Lviv is building a new separate stadium from its now already established Ukraina Stadium to host three group matches during EURO 2012.
Lviv chess school is world-known. In this city used to live such notable grandmasters as Vassily Ivanchuk, Leonid Stein, Alexander Beliavsky, Andrei Volokitin and many others
Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine and is growing rapidly. According to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, the average salary in the Lviv Oblast is a little less than the average for Ukraine, which in December 2007 was about 1616 UAH. In 2006, Ukraine's economic freedom was rated at 3.24, where a rating 1.0 is "freer" than a rating 5.0. According to the World Bank classification, Lviv is a lower middle-income city. There are many restaurants and shops as well as street vendors of food, books, clothes, traditional cultural items and tourist gifts. Banking and money trading are an important part of the economy of Lviv, with many banks and exchange offices throughout the city.
Lviv is an important education centre of Ukraine. It is home to three major universities and a number of smaller schools of higher education. There are eight institutes of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, more than forty research institutes, three academies and eleven state-owned colleges.
A considerable scientific potential is concentrated in the city: by the number of doctors of sciences, candidates of sciences, scientific organizations Lviv is the fourth city in Ukraine. Lviv is known for ancient academic traditions, founded by the Assumption Brotherhood School and the Jesuit Collegium. Over 100 thousand students study annually study in more than 20 higher educational establishments.