Pre-Soviet Street and Number Signs in Lviv

Until 1944 the majority of signage in Lviv, such as street names, was in Polish. At the onset of Soviet rule, most Polish signage was removed or covered up and streets were renamed, but fortunately some of the old street and number signs have survived in their original locations (though some of have been plastered or painted over). The remaining ones, however, are slowly disappearing as buildings are being renovated and because they are being stolen. Some have been relocated and now decorate the walls of a few cafes, in particular inside the cafe Sztuka and in the courtyard of the Polish restaurant Kupol. These old street names provide an interesting insight into the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Polish Commonwealth as the names highlight what people and events were important during those times.


Many buildings had plaques that included the street name and building number. 
The ones still found today likely date to the first the 30 years of the 20th century. Since the rectangular ones resemble the old plaques that are still found in Vienna, it is likely they date to before WWI; others possibly date to the interwar period.





Below is possibly the only bilingual prewar sign that existed in Lviv. It still hangs on the gate to St. George’s Cathedral but can be easily overlooked as it has been painted over and blends in with the wall. The cathedral was and is so important for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and in turn for Ukrainian national identity, so it could explain why Ukrainian was also used on the address plaque. 


Here someone has tried to steal the plaque.

There also remain other types of old street signage, such as the building letters and numbers below.

 


Occasionally, the street name and building number were part of an architectural or design element of the building, such as the following few.






Comments

  1. Fascinating. I've always been interested in which street/square names DIDN'T change (Mickiewicz Square, for example) from pre-war to post-Communist--it's always helpful for my research : )

    Also, w/r/t the church--interesting that the Polish says "Jura," and doesn't translate the name of the saint. Makes me think that the Polish was more an afterthought....

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    Replies
    1. You may have seen it already, but there is a lot of info about old street names on the Center for Urban History's website (http://www.lvivcenter.org/uk/lia/map/?show=objtype&ci_objecttypeid=3)

      As for the church, in fact in Ukrainian it is also not the genative form of the saint's name. The church technically is named after St. Yur (not St. Yura or Yuriy, which would be George), thus it ends up being Sobor Sv. Yura and not Sv. Yury, as it would be if were Yura. I don't know much more about it than that, but in English I usually see the church translated as St. George's Cathedral.

      Delete
  2. That's so weird. I was wondering about that.

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