Throughout its long-lasting history Lviv has acquired and proved its title of the most “European” city of Ukraine.
In some things it was even ahead of Europe and, perhaps, the world.
Lviv has always been a great place for creative minds. So, there is no surprise that everything the first or the best could be done in Lviv.
In addition to being a national, cultural, educational and scientific center of Ukraine, this city is a major industrial center and transport hub. Lviv is the capital of Galicia and Western Ukraine.
The population of Lviv is more than 720,000 people, the metropolitan area is inhabited by almost 1.5 million people.
One can talk about this great place for hours. No matter what theme you choose – be it history, architecture, religion etc. – there are many things to tell.
In this article we aim to tell you about the achievements and inventions which happened in Lviv.
Surely, many of them were done not by Ukrainians. But why don’t we share our love with the people who were inspired by Lviv atmosphere when making their outstanding deed?
So, here is the list of things documented in Lviv for the 1st time in the history of Ukraine and even the world. We’ll start with XVI-XVII centuries.
Jesuit Garden was created in the second half of the XVI century. During 4 centuries it changed its name several times, today the place is called Ivan Franko Park.
Today this beautiful place looks like this.
The oldest park in Ukraine was founded by wealthy Lviv philistine Jan Scholz-Volfovich. Jan Scholz paid 1,600 gold coins to organize the land.
Some time later, the park is owned of Antonio Massari who was Jan Scholz’s son in law of. Massari settled park in the Italian style. In 1855 the park became property of the city where it remains today.
In 1572 the first printer in Ukraine and Russia Ivan Fedorov came to Lviv after being banned from Moscow. Two years later, in 1574, he was the man to print Ukraine’s first book – ‘The Apostle’ or ‘Acts and Epistles of the Apostles.’
Fedorow’s own printing press was used to make a book, he got help from ordinary citizens and also paid his money for it.
The first Ukrainian book had a large format – 300 x 195 mm; it consisted of 15 unnumbered and 264 numbered lists. The book was printed in two colors with a high quality design and printing.
There were from 1000 to 1,200 printed copies of the ‘The Apostle.’
Today, about hundred copies are preserved in major libraries of Ukraine, RF, Poland, Bulgaria, the United States etc.
A monument to Fedorov stands in Lviv center today. The printer holds an open book and his constitution suggests that he was good in carrying thing heavier than papers.
In 1629 the Italian Roberto Bandinelli opened Ukraine’s first city post office in European-style. The service delivered letters to city dwellers on regular basis. The post came from all over Europe.
The Polish King Sigismund III gave Bandinelli the privileges to deliver regular royal mail and also granted him with the title of “Royal Postmaster”.
Although Lviv dwellers could send and receive letters from all over Europe every Saturday, these services were incredibly expensive. Paper was really heavy and thick those days, so that sending only six grams of correspondence, for example to Gdansk, was equal to the daily wage of the skilled craftsman.
Read also: 11 fantastic facts about Ukraine.
Lviv Jesuit Academy – today called Ivan Franko National University – was founded on January 20, 1661 thus becoming the first Ukrainian university. And this is how it looks these days.
However, the institution itself existed since 1608 under the name of the Jesuit College.
According to Hadiach agreement between Ukraine and Poland, adopted in 1658, Ukraine had to open two Orthodox universities (in Kyiv and, most likely, Lviv). This meant that universities of nother religions were not allowed. But the Jesuits made use of sympathy of King John II Casimir and achieved the transformation of their educational institution into university. The corresponding decree was signed by the King on January 20th, 1661.
So, after park, University and post, there comes active XVIII century which seems to be most productive in terms of Lviv inventions. Here you’ll find great beer and entertainment. Keep reading!
In fact, beer was brewed in Lviv since very old times. The first documented mention about the breweries goes back to 1425 year.
The first brewery of Ukraine started working in 1715. And this is how it happened.
In the second half of XVII century Count Stanislaw Potocki signed a decree by which he granted monks-Jesuits with lands and gave them right to build brewery ‘to make their own good tasting beer’.
Thus, in 1715 the first Brewery in Ukraine appeared. The beverage had strict quality control, so its sorts called Bawar, Porter Imperial and Exportove quickly gained popularity in the region and in all Central Europe. In middle of XIX century Lviv Brewery was among three best breweries of Austria-Hungary.
Lvivske 1715 beer is well known and loved in Ukraine today.
A monument to Polish Hetman Stanislaw Yablonsky was built in early XVIII century. It was the first monument ever erected in Ukraine. In 1695 Stanislav Yablonovsky defended Lviv during the last attack of the Tatars.
In the middle of the XIX century that monument was relocated to the place near the present National Museum on Liberty Avenue. People started calling this street ‘Valy Hetmansky’ which means ‘Rampants of the Chieftans’.
In the thirties of XX century the monument was moved to the Trybunalska Square near the church of Jesuits. The historical trail of the monument disappeared in 1944 after the occupation of Lviv by the Red Army.
Newspaper in Polish language ‘Kurier Lwowski’ was first published in 1749. However, it was not printed on regular basis.
Release of the first regular edition took place only in 1776. This newspaper was called the ‘Gazette de Leopol.’
Here is one of pages of the old gazette printed on Janury 1, 1776.
It took a whole century before first newspaper in Ukrainian language would be printed. In 1848 ‘Zorya Galytska’ (‘Dawn Galician’) saw the world for the first time. The first edition was printed in 4000 copies. Newspaper was published once or twice a week and had about 1500 subscribers which was a large number for that time.
Here you can see the first page of one of newspaper editions written in Ukrainian.
During only ten years of its existence ‘Zorya Halytska’ changed its tone from being Ukraine oriented to Moscow oriented. Finally, such mess of languages scared the subscribers away and the newspaper ceased its existence in 1857.
Read also: 30 personalities from Ukraine who changed the world.
The first professional theater was opened in Lviv in 1776. The troupe included actors, singers, a choir and a small orchestra. They worked in genres of opera, operetta as well as comedy, pantomime and ballet.
The troupe was led by Franz Gettersdorf.
Later, the theater group housed in the building of the church of the Franciscan monastery, which had been rebuilt to the theater hall.
In early 1842 Skabrivsky Theater (today known as Maria Zankovetska Theater) was built. This is how it looks today.
At the moment of its opening it was the third largest theater in Europe with 1460 places for spectators. Today the building of the theater is still the most expensive in whole Lviv due to 16 000 oak logs used for the foundation. Surprising, heh?
The world’s first balloon with automatic burner for liquid fuel was launched in 1784. It happened about 9 months after flight of Montgolfier brothers. French inventors used a conventional straw as a fuel to lift their balloon in the air.
And we’re lucky to have photograph of this event.
The first hotel of Lviv (and Ukraine) was built in 1785 by entrepreneur Johann Preshel. The hotel had three floors. Johann Preshel named it ‘Under the Roman Caesar’. In early XIX century the hotel was said to be the most impressive stone building of its district. Today a museum of ethnography is situated in the hotel building.
We’ve done with the productive XVIII century that brought information, some hotel comfort and high quality entertainment.
Now it’s time for XIX century, which promises to be fast, bright and sportive.
Like many other inventions in this world, kerosene lamp appeared by chance.
Pharmacist Mikoliasha told two researchers Johann Zeg and Ignatsy Lukasevich to try to produce alcohol from oil. When trying to fulfill the order of the boss, they accidentally discovered rational process to crack oil thus inventing the world’s first kerosene or oil lamp.
This took place in 1853 in Lviv pharmacy named ‘Under the Golden Star’ (‘Pid Zolotoyu Zirkoyu’).
In the same year Lviv became the first city in Europe that had street lights. In 5 years kerosene lamps were substituted for gas and in 1900 the electricity took its place.
The inventions of Polish researchers became the most popular lighting product. Even now the third part of mankind uses it.
In 1859 building of the railway track started. The length of the track was 97.6 km and it connected Przemyśl (south-east of modern Poland) and Lviv.
Construction of neo-Gothic Lviv train-station was finished in October 1861.
Later, this station would become the starting point for 4 directions: from Lviv to Krakow, Chernivtsi, Brody and Pidvolochysk.
On November 4, 1861 at 10:00 the first passenger train led by steam locomotive named ‘Jaroslaw’ made its way to Lviv from Przemyśl. The train arrived to the final station at 14.30. Hundreds of curious peasants welcomed the movement of the ‘iron horse’ along its route that included stations in Medytsi, Mostys’ka, Pogody.
Today Lviv main railway station is a beautiful place that welcomes its guests with a brewer.
The city of Lviv is considered to be a birthplace of sports in Poland, especially football and hokey. Late XIX – early XX centuries were the years when the sport glory was born.
Football goes first.
In 1894 building of a British style stadium for 7,000 seats was finished in Lviv.
The same year, on July 14, there took place the first documentarily registered football match between teams from Lviv and Krakow. The game was watched by about 3 000 of spectators. Lviv team scored one point and won.
According to ‘Gazeta Lwowska’ newspaper, the football players from Lviv and Krakow wore grey and blue shorts correspondingly. The color of their shirts was white.
The game began at 05.00 pm and lasted for only 7 minutes – till the first point. The goal was scored on the sixth minute by the high school student Vladimir Khomytskiy.
They say that football players had no tactics or strategy, the chief task was to hit the ball past the goalkeeper and get a point. Two flags stuck in the ground served as goal post.
Today there is a monument on the place where the first football game was held.
Owing to initiative and great efforts of Lviv Skating Association, the first hockey match in Lviv was played in January 1905. This was the first hockey game played in accordance with international rules in Ukraine’s history.
The first hockey training sessions started 3 years later, in 1908.
Game in early 1905 started a glorious era of Lviv hockey. Later, representatives of Lviv stood for the colors of different national teams.
Now it’s obvious that Lviv was a very progressive and inspiring place in old times and it holds its positions today. Some of the monuments, historical places and publications haven’s survived till our days, but that’s one more reason to keep them in memory!
Come to Ukraine and feel it yourself.
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