Showing posts from 2014

Rover: Bicycle Galician-Style

In the Ukrainian diaspora we call a bicycle a "rover" – the word which was commonly used in western Ukraine before the war. Now in Ukraine the word "velosyped" is most widely used, but people in western Ukraine, espеcially in villages, still often say "rover." 
The first bicycles that were sold in western Ukraine were made by the British company Starley & Sutton (later called Rover Company):
"In the early 1880s, the cycles available were the relatively dangerous penny-farthings and high-wheel tricycles. J.K. Starley made history in 1885 by producing the Rover Safety Bicycle—a rear-wheel-drive, chain-driven cycle with two similar-sized wheels... Starley's Rover is usually described by historians as the first recognisably modern bicycle.
"The Polish word now most commonly used for bicycle – rower originates from Rover bicycles which had both wheels of the same size (previous models usually had one bigger, one smaller – see Penny-farthing, a…

Vault Windows in Lviv

An intersting architectural/infrastructural element of the old buildings in Lviv is the vault window with a metal shutter. Even these seemingly unimportant, mundane covers were finished off with an artistic and decorative touch - a unique cutout, which I assume served the purpose of providing some light and ventilation into the basement vaults. 
The windows would open by key from the outside, and likely were also used as chutes to bring goods or coal directly into the basements from the streets. As these are generally found on the front facade of the buildings, many have been openings to the vaults of storefronts - and so storage of goods was very important. 
Now many of these shutters have been painted over and left unused for decades. The key holes have been painted shut and the keys long gone, while the vaults themselves may have been left abandoned, undisturbed...
Each one has a different design - and there are hundreds of these around Lviv.  My favorites by far are those with th…

Benchmark on Lviv's City Hall

Somehow I only found out about this benchmark last week, so it wasn't included in my original post about benchmarks in Lviv. And I had walked by it thousands of times as it is located right on the Lviv's City Hall.
On the benchmark is "znak wysokości (Polish for "height marker"), an eagle (Poland's coat of arms), and the letters "P. N." It's possible "P. N." stands for "Polska Norma" (Polish Standard) or "Poprawka Normalna" (Normal Adjustment).
As it features the Polish coat of arms, it dates from the interwar period when Lviv was part of the Second Polish Republic.

image from here

Sundial on Stable in Lviv

Hidden behind a tall fence at the end of a small street in Kastelivka stands a villa called "Julietka." It was built for private use in 1891-1893 by Julian Zachariewicz and his son Alfred, two famous Lviv architects. Next to the villa is an old stable with a sundial.

Elevated Guard Stones in Lviv

I found this doorway in a courtyard off of Khrushelnytska Street. I noticed immediately the elevated guard stones and realized that at one point carriages came into the courtyard and passed through this entrance. Now it looks a bit strange with the stairs and elevated guard stones.

Vynnychuk: Searching for a Trace of Old Lviv

"With great pleasure I immersed into the streets, which I had previously passed without notice; I examined the buildings, every courtyard, gazed at the windows and the flowerpots on the windowsills, as though I were trying to find at least some trace of the old Lviv, that vanished world, which will never return, beacuse neither will return those who left it...all that is left is stone, and everything else — the people, language, culture — has disappeared and become but a dream."
(Yuriy Vynnychuk from his book Tango of Death)


"З особливою насолодою я пірнав у вулички, які раніше проминав, не зупиняючи на них погляду, оглядав будинки, кожне подвір'я, дивився на вікна й на вазонки на підвіконнях, мовби намагаючись відшукати бодай слід старого Львова, того зниклого світу, який уже ніколи не повернеться, бо не повернуться й ті, хто його покинув...залишився тільки камінь, а все інше — люди, мова, культура — усе це зникло і стало сном." 
(Винничук "Танґо смерті&q…

Mounting Blocks in Charleston

In the 18th and 19th centuries, mounting blocks were common in cities, towns, and villages. Usually made of stone, they were installed in key locations, usually near inns, churches, country houses, to aid mounting or dismounting a horse, carriage, stagecoach, etc.

The more elabarote mounting blocks are called carriage steps — these slabs had steps carved into the stone.

Together with hitching posts and guard stones, they were important and functional elements of the horse-drawn transportation infrastructure.

My dad was recently in Charleston, SC and took a lot of photos of carriage steps for me:

BBC: Living History: The Man Who Lives in 1946

I'm always fascinated by people who live alternative, historical lives.

Here's a video about a man in England who lives as if it were the 1940s.

"His clothes, his house, the music he listens to - all come from an era before he was even born.
He has always been interested the 1940s, but it is an interest that has grown over the years. He's gone from buying reproduction furniture for his house to tracking down the real thing. His 70-year-old carpet is his latest pride and joy."

Hand-Painted Sign on New Beer House in Lviv

A new beer house opened up in Lviv — by the Lvivske Brewery. The facade includes a freshly painted sign with the words "music" and "dance" in Ukrainian, English, Polish, and German, done old school style.

Bound and Gagged: Shadows of a Forgotten World

I stumbled across an album called "Shadows of a Forgotten World" by a hardcore/metal band called Bound and Gagged. Lol.

Prewar Relics in Przemysl

Various traces of Przemysl's prewar past

Boot Scrapers

indoors with handle (missing part)

also with missing part

Baltimore's Boot Scrapers


Vault Light in Pidzamche, Lviv

I found a Luxfer vault light in a very beautiful building in Pidzamche, an old industrial district of Lviv. Strangely, the vault light is not located outside the front door, as I've usually seen, but at the end of the front hallway — it doesn't seem that there would have been a lot of sunlight going into that part of the hallway, unless the doors at either end were left open...

unusual location
the vault light is in this very beautiful building

Fryzjer Ghost Sign in Lviv

My friend found a great ghost sign on the far north side of Lviv. I'm pretty sure it says "fryzjer" which is Polish for "haidresser."

Antique Vacuum Valve in Lviv Stairwell

Last weekend I joined a couple of free tours that were organized as part of European Heritage Days of Lviv. On Sunday I went on one dedicated to Lviv Seccession (Art Noveau), where we learned about the Lviv “Montmartre” district and visited the former homes/studios and now museums of the painter Oleksa Novakivskyi and of my favorite Ukrainian artist Olena Kulchytska.
We also explored the Lviv “Wall Street” — the streets Hnatiuka and Sichovykh Striltsiv, which at one time were lined with banks.
The tour guide showed us something very unique in the building on the corner of Sichovykh Striltsiv and Kostiushka Streets (one block from where I live). In one of the stairwells of this 1911-1913 building is a valve left from a dust collector apparatus. A hose would have been attached to the valve to vacuum the stairs that would have been carpeted. A valve would have been found on every floor, but now only one remains. I was a bit overly excited when I saw this — I had no idea such things exis…

Modern Hand-Painted Signs in Lviv, Part II

I've been seeing more and more establishments use their facades to list the products that they sell or services that they provide, the old-school way. I particularly like it when the items are listed in several languages, as used to be done in Lviv before WWII. Before the languages used were  Polish, Yiddish, and German, and rarely Ukrainian. Now it's Ukrainian, English, and sometimes Polish and German as well.
This is a continuation of my first such post.  I think some are hand-painted, others stenciled. I like the trend.

Ukrainian patriotic book and music shop
Hair salon

Beaty Salon
Flower Shop

Liquor Store 
Candy and nut shop

Shop and Cafe