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Have you ever visited a city where you can just feel its soul? When there is a special atmosphere, where people, together with old buildings, cafes and something sweet in the air, form its own spirit? The City of Lviv felt that way to me. It was love at first sight and here are some of the reasons why you should immediately visit Lviv – the soul of Ukraine.
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History and the magic of its people
Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, with their polite and kind citizens, has managed to protect their history throughout the ages, while still welcoming thousands of tourists, without losing this magical spirit.
I like that there are cities still in existence that have not been filled with tall storied buildings, concrete and glass, and Lviv is one of them. For sure, its modern architecture impresses while still celebrating the individuality of each historic building. Just think, every single detail is a manual creation of ancient sculptors. According to history, many of them rarely lived to see the final completion of their vision – the building process could last for centuries. Here, in the very heart of this old city, you can see houses of the Baroque, Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance, Rococo and even Empire styles.
So, what’s responsible for this special spirit, causing people to return to Lviv over and over again?
First of all, it’s the simplicity of the citizens. You can easily start a conversation, ask for help or advice, and be sure you that you will get this help. By the way, if you learn just a few words in Ukrainian, be reassured that they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and will love to communicate with you. This responsiveness is so rare nowadays, when most people in other cities are just staring at their smartphone to avoid any communication.
The Music – Street performances
Another thing that contributes to this city’s magical atmosphere are the street musicians. Their music simply creates an inspiring and festive mood and you never know what concert will greet you tonight.
Lviv Coffee and Chocolate
The third thing, for sure, is the sweet smells of the city. Many people associate this place with coffee and chocolates. As there are plenty of places with great coffee and desserts, no rush is needed. Finding a quiet spot to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate is a must-do when visiting.
Amazing sites and cool things to do in Lviv
Last, but not least, it’s the amazing sites that really contribute to Lviv being one of the most charming cities not just in Europe but, in my opinion, the world.
Now that you can briefly imagine the magical atmosphere of this beautiful city, it is time to talk about the places of interest here.
Amazing Places to visit in Lviv
By the way, start by getting a free city map from the tourist info center (Ploscha Rynok 1) and away we go!
The first landmark building of Lviv, where I advise you to start your city tour, is the Latin Cathedral (Catedral Square, 1). It perfectly combines the architectural features of past eras. On the walls of the Cathedral you will see hanging cores, which remind visitors of the formidable Turkish siege of Lviv in 1672.
Right in front of the Cathedral is one of the oldest Renaissance buildings of Lviv – the Kamenitsu family of Scholz-Wolfowitz, which has been standing here since 1570, and has remained mostly intact throughout multiple centuries.
Honestly, I do not think that reading a description of all of these places will inspire you, as it is always better to see them for yourself! Thus, I will give you a list of must-see places:
- The Boim Chapel, a unique Renaissance monument
- Chapel of the Campians (for those who appreciate vaults with amazing fresco paintings and stained-glass windows of the XIX century)
- Church of Peter and Paul of the Jesuit Order XVII century, one of the biggest Lviv chapels
- The Armenian Cathedral, a unique monument of Eastern culture in Europe of the 14th-15th centuries.
- Dominican cathedral (huge and really quite breathtaking!)
- Weapon museum (the only in Ukraine)
- Bernardine monastery
- Lviv City Hall
Here in City Hall, like many years before, operates the city council of Lviv. However, anyone can enter and walk around. By climbing over 350 wooden steps, one can reach to the highest point and enjoy the view of this old city from above.
After such an exhausting walk, it is time to find a restaurant. This would make for another article on the variety of Lviv restaurants – they are numerous and diverse. I am sure even the most demanding gourmet can find a place to fall in love with…just ask a local!
To really enjoy the city in all its glory, I strongly recommend planning on at least one week’s stay. For this, you do not need a map or a list – just go outside and keep walking, get lost even. Sometimes that’s the best way to discover the unexpected! In just a few days, you will sense how the people, streets, bars, theatres and architecture merge into one, endless inspiration! I am sure that then you will also discover your own magical experiences!
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