History of Lviv

Lviv is located in foothills of Carpathians in head river of Plotva, left inflow of Zapadny Bug, at the western border of Ukraine in 80 km. from Poland. It was founded in the middle of XIII century by Prince Danilo Galitsky and named in honor of his son Lev.

Since V century of our era on the place of Lviv there were settlements. In due course, these lands passed to the Velikomoravsky state. In X century Kievan Russia and Poland began to pretend to them.

The capital of Galitsko-Volinsk princedom 1272-1349

After long wars with Poles and interstine wars of slavic princes in the middle of 13 century the son of Roman Mstislavovich - Daniel Galitsky, subsequently the outstanding diplomat and the politician had become stronger on the throne. He built some fortresses for state protection, including Lviv. Daniel Galitsky accepted a royal crown and title of the king from hands of papal ambassadors. This title was used also by its successors. After long wars with Poles and interstine wars of slavic princes in the middle of 13 century the son of Roman Mstislavovich - Daniel Galitsky, subsequently the outstanding diplomat and the politician had become stronger on the throne. He built some fortresses for state protection, including Lviv. Daniel Galitsky accepted a royal crown and title of the king from hands of papal ambassadors. This title was used also by its successors.

The first written mention of Lviv was found in Galitsko-Volynsk annals and dated 1256. King Danilo Galitsky, strengthening princedom borders, constructed the city duly that time. It consisted of three parts: the strengthened city, village fence and suburb. Strengthening settled down around present Knyazhaya Mountain. The city was separated from the High castle by a deep ditch and strengthened by high shaft and paling so that it was reliable to be protected from the enemy. The trading way lay through the city by numerous churches. They were wooden, that is why were not saved up to now. On their place stone temples were constructed.

Lviv was quickly developing, and already in 1272 the capital of Galitsko-Volynsk princedom moved there. In 1340-1349 when Romanovich's kin had died away, voivode Dmitry Detko as the deputy of Lithuanian prince Lyubart, ruled the city.

Lviv as a part of Poland and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1349-1772

In 1349 Polish king Kazimir III the Great grasped Lviv and in seven years in 1356 granted Magdeburg right to the city. It gave a strong push to the city development, in 1363 the big Armenian city community based Armenian metropolian country and built a church. The Polish king moved the city centre from Stariy Rynok square and built the new city to the south, round the Rynok square. In a new city the majority of population consisted of German colonists, but some marginal streets (present Armyanskaya, Russkaya, Staroevreyskaya) were occupied by not catholics who were deprived the rights of Lvov petty-bourgeoisie.

Thanks to a favorable location on crossing of trading routes from ports of Black Sea, Kiev, Eastern and the Western Europe, Byzantium and ports of Baltic Sea the city quickly developed.

In 1379, the city acquires the right to have the warehouses that sharply increased attraction of the city to dealers. In 1387 armies of Polish queen, Yadviga had grasped Lviv and surrounding lands.

As a part of Poland (and later Polish-Lithuanian state) Lviv became a capital of «Russian voivodship» which included five starostv with the centres in such cities: Lviv, Kholm, Sanok, Galich and Peremyshl'. 

During next centuries the city population quickly grew, and soon Lviv became a multinational city with set of religious confessions and important cultural, scientific and trade centre. City defensive constructions were strengthened, and Lviv became one of the most important fortresses protecting Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the southeast.

Orthodox bishop, three archbishops: Catholic, Armenian and Greco-Catholic (since 1700), and three Judaic communities: city, prelocal and Karaim were simultaneously in the city. The city was filled with great number of settlers from different countries: Germans, Jews, Italians, English, Scots and many other nationalities. Since XVI century Protestants appeared in the city.

In the first half of XVII century, the city totaled approximately 25-30 thousand inhabitants. There were 133 craft professions in more than 30 shops.

In 1649, Ukrainian Cossacks, led by Bohdan Khmelnitskiy, had besieged the city. They grasped and destroyed the castle, but left the city after repayment reception.

In 1655 Swedish armies intruded in Poland, grasped its big part and besieged Lviv. However, they were compelled to recede without taking a city. 

Next year army of Transylvania Prince D'erdya Rakotsi I had surrounded Lviv, but the city had not been taken. 

In 1672, army of already Ottoman Empire under the command of Mekhmed IV besieged Lvov again; however, war had been finished before the city capture. 

In 1675, Turks and Crimean Tatars attacked the city, but king Yan III Sobesky defeated them in a fight on 24 of August, which received the name Lviv.

In 1704, during Great Northern War, army of Swedish king Karl XII grasped the city and for the first time of its history plundered it.

As a part of Austro-Hungary 1772-1918

In 1772 as a result of the first division of Poland between Russia, Prussia and Austria, Lviv was a part of Austrian empires (later Austro-Hungarian), became political and administrative centre of most backward of its provinces, received the name «Kingdom of Galicia and Vladimiria».

From1772 to 1918 the city officially carried the name Lemberg. After Lviv's entering in the structure of Austria, German became the language of administration , and the majority of posts of municipal government were occupied with Germans and Czechs. However the city continued to remain the important centre of Polish and Rusyn cultures.
Economic and cultural rise of the city began only in second half of ХІХ century when rich deposits of oil were developed, the railway was under construction, and the industry also developed.

In the beginning of the First World War the city was captured by Russian armies (September 1914) and till July, 14th, 1915 the city was the centre of Galits Governorate General, while again had not been occupied by Austro-Hungarian armies. Russian tsar Nikolay ІІ proclaimed reunion of Galicia with Russia. The national political organizations, cultural-educational organizations and publishing houses were violently closed and liquidated. Many representatives of intelligence were sent to Siberia.

In 1915 the Austrian armies again returned to Galicia. The feedback began - prosecution of those who were suspected of sympathy to Russia. They were hung up, shot or sent in concentration camp, the most known was the camp for interned "Talergof" near the city of Grats in Austria. 

Because of the First World War, "scrappy" Austro-Hungarian Empire fell to pieces. There were number of the independent states - Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and others. Ukrainians also began the struggle for independence.

As a part of Poland (1918-1939)

In the end of the First World War on November, 1st, 1918 Ukrainian politicians proclaimed the city as the capital of West Ukrainian National Republic (WUNR). The small group of Ukrainian military men took the city under the control for some days and declared its entrance in the West Ukrainian National Republic. In process of arrival of Ukrainian and Polish parts in the city battle action took place as result Ukrainian parts were compelled to leave Lviv. Ukrainian authorities declared general mobilisation. From former soldiers of Austrian army the Ukrainian Galitcia army (UGA) was generated against which the Polish army in France under the command of Haller acted. UGA with fights receded to Zbruch river. In the summer 1919, the command of UGA once again performed offensive operation, however in view of a serious inequality of forces UGA again receded for Zbruch, on the territory of Ukrainian National Republic (UNR). The Polish-Ukrainian war proceeded until July 1919. According decision of interallied commission in Paris, Lviv was left under control of Poland - until the definitive decision of its destiny. Later Poland made an agreement with Simon Petlyura, according it in exchange for refusal of UNR government of claims for the Western Ukraine it had rendered the military help in struggle against Bolsheviks and coming Red Army.

The period of 1919-1939

During the Soviet-Polish war in 1920 Lviv was attacked by forces of Red Army under the command of Alexander Egorov. From the middle of June, 1920 First Budyonny's Horse army tried to make the way to the city from the northeast. Lviv citizens prepared for defence. Inhabitants, basically Poles,generated and fully completed three regiments of infantry and two regiments of a cavalry. Defensive strengthenings were erected. The city was defended by three Polish divisions and one auxiliary Ukrainian infantry regiment.

After the persistent fights lasting about month, on August, 16th the Red Army passed the river Zapadny Bug and additionally strengthened by divisions of red Cossacks, began stor of the city. Fights passed with heavy losses from both parties, but three days later attack was beaten off and in view of the general crisis in war the Red Army receded. For heroic defence the city was awarded by Polish award Virtuti Militari - «For courage», the highest Polish military award. That award was represented on the Polish arms of the city. After signing of Riga peace agreement, Lviv remained the Polish city, the capital of Lviv voivodship. The city quickly returned its positions of one of the major cultural and scientific centres of Poland.

The Second World War

On September, 1st, 1939 after an attack of fascist Germany against Poland the Second World War began. On September 17, 1939 the Red army passed the river Zbruch and in five days it approached Lvov. 26-28 of October, 1939 in the building of Opera Theatre the national meeting, which accepted declarations "About establishment of the Soviet power inWestern Ukraine" was held. In the end of 1939, mass terror began in West Ukrainian regions. Till the end of 1940 the German colonies existing there still since princely times, moved to Germany. Then executions, Siberian exile of the Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish intelligence, peasants began - all who disagreed or simply did not support Stalin policy. After an attack of fascist Germany against Soviet Union, active armed forces left the city without fight, but before deviation from Lviv from June 22 until June, 30, 1941 bodies of Commissariat of Internal Affairs extrajudicially killed arrested representatives of intelligence, students, pupils of grammar school in Lvov prisons.

In Germany in 1930-th years, the some Ukrainian military formations were prepared. After an attack of fascist Germany against the USSR one of such divisions as battalion "Nahtigal'" under the command of R.Shuhevich entered Lviv. In addition, in that very day on June 30, 1941 Ukrainian nationalists held National Meeting in Lviv, which proclaimed restoration of Ukrainian state. The government, which was headed by Yaroslav Stetsko, was generated.

After beginning of German intrusion in USSR on June, 22, 1941 Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) tried to take, and to grasp the prison, however appeared frontier guards pushed aside OUN members. Firing proceeded up to June, 30, when the city was occupied by Germans. Germans opposed declarations of independent Ukraine, and on July, 12 Hitler ordered to special department of rifle division to arrest all Ukrainian government, and later Gestapo arrested the head of Ukrainian Nationalists Stepan Bandera, who had refused to withdraw the Act of independence. Hundreds active members of OUN were thrown in prisons and many of them were shot. Bloody German occupation began. The German authorities formed concentration camp around the Citadel in which they killed over 140 thousand Soviet prisoners and also they organizes Lviv ghetto and Yanovsky concentration camp for Jewish population destruction.

In 1942-1944 the communistic underground operated in the city (the organisation of National guards of Ivan Franko), scout Nikolay Kuznetsov liquidated Bauer, the vice-governor general of the district Galicia and Schneider, who was the head of chancellery of governorship.

German terror proceeded till July, 27, 1944 when Soviet armies entered the city.

On July, 23rd, 1944 military operation of Craiova Army under the command of general Vladislav Filipkovskiy began in Lviv, with purpose to confirm the Polish power in a city and to receive advantage-grounds at the subsequent post-war negotiations about borders of Poland and USSR.

On July, 24th the Soviet armies took Lviv in a ring, and in two days the city was captured.

After the city capture the local management of Craiova Army was invited to the meeting with command of Red Army where Commissariat of Internal Affairs arrested them.

As a part of the USSR (1944-1991)

After the war Lviv was a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The majority of Polish population of the city moved on the territory of Poland, basically to its western part, on the former German lands (many of them moved to Vrotslav). As a result of the Second World War the national structure of the city was changed, as traditional ethnic groups (Poles, Jews and Germans) were moved or destroyed. The Polish language and its regional variant practically went out of use; Lviv for the first time in the history became basically Ukrainian-speaking city.

250 million roubles were allotted for restoration and municipal economy and culture development from the all-union budget. From all corners of the country thousand highly skilled experts and scientists went to Lviv. Equipment, transport, building materials and were delivered from Moscow, Leningrad, Sverdlovsk and other cities. 

The Soviet power started to conduct tough policy of suppression of Ukrainian nationalist movement. It incorporated to eradication of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, which parishes were compulsorily transferred in Russian Orthodox Church.

After Stalin's death the Soviet policy became more tolerant, and Lviv remained the important centre of Ukrainian culture.
In 50 and 60-th years, the city considerably grew both in population, and in sizes. In Lviv, many known plants and factories were founded and transferred from East Ukraine.

To the beginning of 80-th years there were in Lviv 137 big enterprises, which made buses (for example, LAZ), auto-loaders, TVsets, diverse devices, machine tools with programmed control and a lot of other production.
Science was intensively developing. By 80th years in Lviv there were: 3 institutes of Academy of Science of USSR, branches and departments of academic establishments, tens research, design institutes, their branches and departments, 11 Higher education establishments, in which more than 8000 scientific employees worked. In 1971 creation of Western scientific center of Academy of Science of USSR became an important event in scientific life of the city.
In Soviet time Lvov remained an important cultural centre. In the late 70-th five theatres, philharmonic hall, about 40 cinemas, the circus, 46 cultural center, 12 large museums, more than 350 libraries were working there.

The period of independence of Ukraine (since 1991)

In 1991 of the USSR fell to pieces to a number of independent states. Lviv became an avant-guard of nationalist changes connected with that event.

In 1998 the historical city centre and the Cathedral of Saint Yuara entered in the list the world heritage of UNESCO.

On May, 14-15,1999 in Lviv in a palace of railwaymen the 6th summit of Central-European presidents of the countries took place. The subject of the "round table" was «Human measurement of the all-European and regional integration and its role in the building of new Europe».

In June, 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the city. There he served a mass on a Latin ceremony and took part in a liturgy of the Byzantian ceremony.

Modern Lviv is a compact city, which is enough convenient for a life. Its territory makes 171 sq. km., there are 788 thousand inhabitants in Lviv. On an ethnic accessory the city practically mononational - over 70 % of the population of Lviv is made by Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, Jews, Armenians, Germans, Czechs and representatives of other 83 nationalities.

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