Showing posts from February, 2016

Listy: Prewar Mail Slots

A few weeks ago, I awoke to find that the original mail slot on the front door to my apartment was missing:

"Last night someone stole the old metal mail slot from my front door and the front door of my neighbor's apartment. Mine was old, but my neighbor's was definitely original as it had the Polish inscription "Listy" (letters). It was nearly 100 years old. To see the empty spaces on our doors this morning was quite depressing, a reminder that these traces of the past are ephemeral. The history of my city, which has become a part of me, is disappearing from right in front of me."
It was another reminder to not to put off exploring, taking photos, etc. I realized that I never did take a photo of either of these mail slots. I was never in a rush because I never thought the ones on my property were at risk...

In my case, at some point a panel was added to the door, thus covering the actual mail slot opening. But the metal mail slot was kept nevertheless and r…

Говірник: Шляк трафив

From a series of videos about the origins and meanings of various Galician words and phrases

Servant's Quarters in Prewar Building in Lviv

I suppose it was common for buildings in Lviv's center and wealthier neighborhoods to have the architectural infrastructure for servants who lived with the families. These now largely antiquated architectural elements would have included a servant staircase, sleeping quarters, and a separate wash area.

Fortunately, the planning of my apartment hasn't been changed since it was first built in the 1910-1920s, and many of these elements are still prominent.

At the far end of the kitchen there is a wooden staircase that used to lead to the first floor; however, after the war it was closed up. Where we now have a washing machine is where the servant's toilet/washing area would have been.

The most interesting part is the servants' sleeping quarters, for I haven't come across anything similar in Lviv. In the corridor that leads from the main entrance hall to the kitchen there is a loft, which used to serve as a bedroom for the hired help. A wooden ladder leads to a small r…

Old Hand-Painted Signs in Paris

Some lovely old photographs of Paris with hand-painted signs

On Lviv's Ghost Signs: 'House with Stained Glass Window'

On Lviv's ghost signs from the book "The House with a Stained Glass Window" (by Żanna Słoniowska, 2015), which takes place in the early 1990s:

I always tried to read the city like a book, but it turned out that he knows the alphabet. Near the facade of a building, from which recently the plaster had crumbled, he said:
     "It's Yiddish: "coffee, tea, milk." Every spring Lviv sheds, uncovering on the facades letters from different alphabets. The current government treats this phenomena as a dangerous disease. Something like a rash. The symptoms, overcome in one place, then always appear in many other places. But homegrown doctors are confident in their skills and their chosen therapy."
    "And nothing works out for them?"
    "So far no. But this...won't last long. For me the stained glass window in your staircase is the last cultural membrane of the city. If it cracks, nothing can save it."
    "The fall of Rome?"…

"Główne" Glass Inscription

An inscription on a door leading to stairs up to an apartment in a building on Prospekt Svobody. "Główne" is Polish for "main."