Market Square in Lviv

Market Square (Ukr., Rynok Square) is located at the exact center of historic Lviv. In some ways, the square is quite typical, an elemental part of the arrangement of any European historical town of its type. Yet each town square bears its own singular architectural markers which prove crucial in lending a city its particular identity. Among “walled cities”, Market Square was the largest of these urban areas in which the civil, political, and social functions of city residents were concentrated – home to an endless array of activities and events. At the Square’s center sits the city’s most recognizable structure – and home of the City Council – the Town Hall (Ukr., ratusha). The square encompassed the most highly valued properties within the city, residences constructed for Lviv’s wealthiest families by noted architects of the day. Although the city no longer has a single ‘center’, Market Square continues to enjoy a preeminent position in the life of the city.

The remarkable architecture and crucial role of Market Square in the life of Lviv are chief among the reasons for interest among researchers. The aim of this study as a part of the Interactive Lviv project is to manifest the singularity of Lviv’s Market Square by drawing attention to formative moments in its history and principal tendencies in its development. We turn our attention not only to those elements which have resulted in the Square that we see today, but also those definitive moments at other stages of its storied existence. The study combines materials from various Center for Urban History projects: a gallery of historical images of Market Square which make it possible to track changes in the Square’s appearance from the 19th through the 20h centuries; historical maps which establish the layout of the city during particular historical periods (the time when the city fortifications still stood in the late-18th century, and the city at the advent of its so-called fin de siècle); a short documentary on Nationally Registered architecture and Lviv Historical Museum exhibits among the buildings on Market Square.


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