Lviv has a large number of sacred architectural structures - there are more than 100 existing churches. Most of them belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Of course, many shrines were built after Ukraine gained independence and many new ones are appearing. But there are those that were founded in the XIII-XIV centuries. Thus, among this wealth of religious buildings, there are even peers of Lviv itself, who survived with him attacks, robberies, fires, reconstruction and more.
In ancient times, churches served not only as a refuge for the needy and a place for communion with God, but also as a center of enlightenment. And in general in different periods, they performed different functions.
As we know, in Soviet times atheism was the official ideology, and persecution, repression and mass deportations of priests and parishioners to Siberia were commonplace. During this period, the temples were converted into museums, barns and warehouses to store Soviet attributes and artifacts. Many of them were completely devastated, looted, abandoned, closed or even destroyed by order of the Soviet authorities.
Thus, local shrines throughout the history of their existence, due to various historical circumstances, have lost many church utensils, valuables, changed their religious affiliation, suffered landslides and destruction. But they have not lost their purpose and still function, receiving many visitors every day.
If you find yourself in Lviv or are just planning to go there, visit the local churches and temples. After all, this is one of the business cards of this city, which will tell you a lot about its history. Even ardent adherents of atheism will be interested in such a spectacle. Because the sacred architecture of the city of Lev impresses with the variety of its forms, styles, majesty of constructions, inspires the spirit of antiquity and so on.
Indeed, Lviv's temples and monasteries can be called cult. The architects who designed them created their masterpieces forever, without sparing precious decorations, valuable frescoes and marble sculptures. Therefore, we offer you a selection of the most famous and most visited churches and churches in Lviv.
St. George's Cathedral belongs to the Galician metropolis of the UGCC. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also considered the main shrine of Lviv and one of the main for all Ukrainian Greek Catholics.
In general, the Cathedral of St. Yura is a whole ensemble of baroque-rococo buildings, which spread over a large area of St. George's Mountain. The ensemble includes: the cathedral, the bell tower, the metropolitan chambers, other rooms - the former monastery cells, as well as the metropolitan gardens.
According to legend, the first settlements of monks on St. George's Hill appeared around 1280. One of them was the monk Vasyl (Vasilysk) who atoned for his earthly sins in daily prayers in a cave-cell. It was Vasyl who advised Lev Danilovich to build a church with monastic cells here and place it under the care of St. George.
The wooden church, built by Lev Danilovich in 1340, burned to the ground. The following year, a stone shrine with a bell "Dmitry" cast by master Yakov Skora stood on the same place. The bell has survived to this day and is considered one of the oldest in Ukraine.
However, the temple at that time did not have the usual appearance for us and was later demolished, and a new one was built in its place. Thus, only in 1744 (1745) the Austrian architect Bernard Meretin designed the Cathedral of St. George. According to one version, the idea of building the church belonged to Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky.
After Meretin's death, Clemens Ksaveriy Fessinger, a Lviv architect of German descent, continued his work. Construction work lasted until 1764, and the decoration of the cathedral was completed in 1770 - 1772.
The facade of the cathedral is decorated with a sculpture of St. George Zmieborets - the patron saint of Lviv, made by John Pinzel. In the crypt (dungeon) of the cathedral there is a tomb where prominent political and ecclesiastical figures are buried - Metropolitan Sheptytsky, Patriarch Joseph the Blind, Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lyubachivsky, Prince Yaroslav Osmomysl.
Address: St. George's Square, 5.
The Church of the Holy Eucharist is better known in Lviv as the Dominican Cathedral (in the past - the Church of the Corpus Christi and the Dominican Monastery). The church belongs to the UGCC, is an architectural monument of national importance and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The building is made in the late Baroque style on the Western European model. To this day, above the main entrance to the temple there is a biblical inscription in Latin: "Soli Deo honor et gloria" ("Honor and praise to the One God").
The history of the church is long and full of various events. From the moment of construction to the present day, it has survived more than one metamorphosis. Thus, it is believed that on the site of the temple in ancient times stood the palace of Prince Leo I, and next to it was the palace chapel of St. Peter and Paul. It was built at the request of the wife of Prince Lev Danilovich - Hungarian Catholic Princess Constance.
Later, a stone church of the Dominican Order appeared instead of a palace and a chapel. There are several versions about the fate of the prince's palace and the church of St. Peter and Paul. According to one of them, in 1407 the wooden church burned to the ground, and in its place the construction of a Gothic church was started, mainly at the expense of rich burghers. On the other - before the middle of the XIV century. the Dominicans built a church on the ruins of the prince's palace and chapel, using the surviving foundation and walls of buildings. Between 1745 and 1748, the Gothic church was dismantled because cracks appeared in its vault and it was in a state of disrepair. The modern look of the cathedral began to acquire in 1749. It was then that the foundation of the temple was laid, designed by the talented architect Jan de Witte. Funds for the construction of the shrine were allocated by the Grand Crown Hetman Jozef Potocki and the Polish magnate and philanthropist Mykola Vasyl Potocki.
From 1764 the work on the facade of the church was continued by the sculptor and architect of German origin Sebastian Fessinger. He made stone statues for the church and a wooden carved organ. In 1865 a 4-tiered bell tower was added to the church.
In Soviet times, warehouses and monastic cells were used to make warehouses. And since 1973, the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism has been operating here. And only in 1990 the church was consecrated in honor of the Holy Eucharist. Currently, the Lviv Museum of the History of Religion operates in part of the monastery cells and the church bell tower. The museum has a large collection of Bibles. There is even the Ostroh Bible of 1581 and the Bible of the Paris edition of 1563.
Address: Museum Square, 1.
The Church of Saints Olga and the Eucharist, formerly known as the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Elżbieta), is a neo-Gothic shrine belonging to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Today it is the tallest building in Lviv, and its height is 88 meters. The building also has an observation deck located at a height of about 50 meters, which offers stunning views of the old town.
This temple was built in honor of Empress Elizabeth of Bavaria (Habsburg), better known as Sisi. She was the wife of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph I. At the age of sixteen, the life of the young empress, who had recently married, was tragically cut short.
On September 10, 1898, the Italian anarchist Luigi Luceni struck Elizabeth directly in the heart with a sharpened file. On this day, Sisi walked along the shores of Lake Geneva (Switzerland). And, as usual, she was unguarded, so she became an easy victim for the young killer. Having received a severe wound, the Empress did not assume that it would be fatal for her. So she boarded the steamer Geneve, which was heading to the city of Montreux - a famous resort in western Switzerland. There she died of internal bleeding.
After the murder, Luceni was caught by passers-by and brought to justice. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but in 1910, at the age of 37, he was found hanged in a cell. The motive for the murder was the desire of Luigi to destroy the rich nobles who came to rest in Switzerland. After all, in his opinion, they undeservedly enjoyed all the benefits of life, doing nothing but idleness and parasitism.
Therefore, when his plan to assassinate the contender for the French throne - Prince Philip - failed, he decided to choose an easier target in the person of Elizabeth of Bavaria. In fact, he didn't care who he killed. The main thing is that it was someone from the royal family.
After this tragic event, it was decided to build a temple in memory of the prematurely deceased Austrian Empress. The funds for the construction of the church were allocated by the Polish community, namely the railwaymen for their territory. Because at that time railway transport was developing intensively. Accordingly, the number of Polish people involved in the service of railway transport was constantly growing and needed to meet their religious needs.
Thus, the construction of the church began in 1903 (according to other sources, in 1902 the church was already built, as evidenced by a photo taken at that time). The location for the building was chosen for a reason. The Roman Catholic Church was to close the Greek Catholic Cathedral of St. George, which was attended by Ukrainians, from the eyes of all those who come to the main station of the city. The temple was built over eight years, and in 1911 was finally completed. And 73-year-old Franz Joseph I laid the first stone in the foundation of the church dedicated to his late wife.
The architect was Teodor-Maryan Talowski, a professor at the Lviv Polytechnic Institute of Polish descent, who won the competition to create a project for the future shrine. In addition, such talented sculptures as P. Viitovych, Yu. Shostakevych, L. Zhepikhovsky, etc., and the artist K. Sikhulsky contributed to the decoration of the church. Yes, the facade of the building is decorated with a sculptural composition "Crucifixion", made by Petro Voitovych.
Address: Kropyvnytskyi Square, 1 (Privokzalna).
The Armenian Cathedral is the only church of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Western Ukraine. It is an architectural monument of national importance, located in the historic center of Lviv - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Armenian Cathedral was built in the second half of the XIV century. The construction of the church lasted seven years (1363–1370) under the direction of the Lviv builder Doring, who was probably also involved in the construction of St. George's Cathedral.
Throughout its existence, the church has been not only a spiritual but also a community center for the Armenian community in Lviv. Later, a whole complex of buildings appeared near the cathedral (XIV - early XX century) - the ensemble of the Armenian Cathedral. Since the temple first appeared, it has become the architectural center of the whole ensemble. Other buildings are grouped around it, forming 3 small enclosed courtyards: the monastery (north), east and south.
Yes, the ensemble includes the following buildings: bell tower (1571, architect Peter Krasovsky), the palace of the Armenian archbishops (XVII century), Armenian bank (XVI century, known as "Mons Pius"), Benedictine monastery (1682), memorial column of St. Christopher (1726), wooden altar with the composition "Golgotha" (XVIII century).
By the XVII century the temple was reconstructed many times. But after a fire broke out in 1712, the rebuilding of the shrine began in the Baroque style. The period of significant restoration of the building fell on 1908-1927. It was carried out under the direction of the famous Polish architect Franciszek Monczynski. At this time, new frescoes, mosaics, ornamental paintings and stained glass appeared. And in 1930 a new main altar and throne was installed, designed by architect Vitold Minkevich.
In Soviet times, services were not held in the Armenian Cathedral. It began to function as a depository of the Lviv Art Gallery. And since 1953, the Lenin Museum has been turned into a sanctuary. And only after Ukraine gained independence was the cathedral returned to the Armenian community. Thus, on January 6, 2001, for the first time in more than half a century, a service was held here.
Despite the many reconstructions that the cathedral has undergone, its interior has preserved ancient elements. For example, a fresco painting dating from the XV century has survived to this day. Also preserved is the bell tower, built in 1570-1571. The three-tiered bell tower contains a passage that serves as an entrance to the churchyard.
In addition, on the territory of the ensemble of the Armenian Cathedral are the remains of an ancient Armenian cemetery. Some tombstones located here are over 600 years old. They were moved here from the ancient cemeteries at the monasteries, which ceased to exist several centuries ago. Also a feature of the Armenian Cathedral is its ancient epitaphs (tombstone inscriptions). They are carved in Latin and date from the XVI-XVIII centuries.
Thus, the architecture of the Armenian Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a synthesis of oriental motifs, traditional Armenian and Byzantine elements, combined with the then Western European trends in construction. And some details in the interior of this cathedral, as well as sculptures and epitaphs indicate the influence of various styles, including the Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic. Worship services in the church are held every Sunday at eleven o'clock in Armenian, Ukrainian and Russian.
Address: Virmenska street 7/13.
The garrison church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is a former Jesuit church. At present it is the Church of the Curia of the Lviv Archdiocese of the UGCC. The Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is the first early Baroque building in Lviv.
The prototype for the shrine was the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus (Il-Jezu) in Rome - the cathedral of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order). This shrine was built in the XVI century. and is close to the aesthetics of the Baroque. Jesuit churches throughout Eastern Europe were built on the model of Il Gesu. For example, a copy of the Roman church is the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity in Volyn.
In 1540, the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) was founded, the largest Catholic monastic order. Its members built the first wooden church of the Society of Jesus in Lviv in 1590. And in 1610 the construction of a stone shrine began. Funds (PLN 40,000) for the construction of the church were allocated by the Polish noblewoman and patron Elżbieta Lucie Senyavska.
During 1613–1614, the building was erected under the direction of Sebastian Lamhius. From 1618 to 1621, the chief architect was Giacomo Briano, a Jesuit of Italian descent who owned several church designs in various European countries. In 1630 the construction of the temple was completed.
From 1736 to 1737, sculptors Thomas Gutter and Konrad Kutschereiter worked to create altars for the church. In 1740 the church underwent a significant reconstruction, during which the memorial tombstone of the patron buried here Elżbieta Senyavska was removed from the church. On July 23, 1741, the relics of St. were placed in the church. Benedict, which were kept in the estate of the crown stableman Yuri-Stanislav and his wife Marianna Teresa of Didushytsky, at whose expense the building was rebuilt.
From 1775 to 1848 the church served as a parliamentary institution: meetings of the Galician estate sejm were held here. After 1848, the temple was repeatedly damaged: during the bombing of the city with cannonballs, the roof of the building was damaged. And the two world wars added even more destruction.
In Soviet times, the temple, for obvious reasons, was closed. And in 1970 the premises of the shrine were turned into a book depository. Thus, in the walls of the church were more than 2.3 million books, transferred there for storage from the funds of the scientific library. V. Stefanika.
And only 65 years later, the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul finally opened its doors to parishioners. On July 8, 2010, the Lviv City Council handed over the shrine of the Curia of the Lviv Archdiocese of the UGCC. And on December 6, 2011 its solemn consecration took place, timed to the 20th anniversary of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Due to the fact that for some time in the past (1773-1775) the church functioned as a military garrison church, it was decided to transfer it to the care of the chaplains of the Center of Military Chaplaincy of the Curia of the Lviv Archdiocese. On religious or military holidays, solemn events are held in the Garrison Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Not only parishioners but also servicemen, cadets, officers, and the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine take part in such events. Also in the garrison church are buried Lviv residents - members of the Environmental Protection Agency who died during the hostilities in eastern Ukraine.
This sanctuary is also atypical because it regularly hosts concerts of sacred music, spiritual evenings, choral singing, etc. This event is worth visiting at least because the church has incredible acoustics, which makes it sound like angelic singing. In addition, the temple dungeon is open for weekly night tours.
Address: Teatralna street 11
Of course, it is best to choose a hotel located in the historic center of Lviv near the station. After all, this is the oldest and most interesting part of this place, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is where the vast majority of cultural and architectural sites are located. In particular, temples and churches with a unique history, original museums and theaters and many other unique places and institutions.
If you are planning to visit the famous Lviv city or you are already here, but can not decide on a comfortable place to stay, we recommend you to stay at the hotel Rius. Rius is a 4-star hotel located in the very heart of Lviv (12A Hnatyuka Street).
The developed infrastructure of the city center allows you to easily and quickly get to any point. Yes, the cult temples and churches from the hotel Rius can be reached in less than 10 minutes. In addition, there are a large number of shops, shopping and entertainment centers, as well as cafes and restaurants for every taste and budget. And without this there is no complete rest.
Last but not least, the main train station and the international airport are close by. That's why your trip will not be so exhausting and long. No transfer through the whole city and a few blocks with heavy suitcases. And upon arrival you will find our refined, comfortable rooms, high-quality service and delicious dishes of the restaurant with open kitchen.
Thus, staying at the Rius Hotel is an opportunity to get better acquainted with the beautiful Lviv city, get to know and enjoy its special architecture, atmosphere and entertainment. So, provide yourself with quality, pleasant and bright rest without unnecessary worries.
You can order a hotel room by phone: +38 097 970 02 20 or via the Internet by filling out a simple online form on the official website of the hotel - rius-hotel.lviv.ua.
Guests can choose from the following room types: