Excursion in the ancient quarter includes a lot of places of historical importance: Rynok ("Market") square of Renaissance style, Armenian Cathedral, The Latin Cathedral, The Boim's Chapel, Renaissance ensemble of the Church of the Assumption, The Church of Body of Christ of the Dominican Order.
The Rynok Squre. For over 600 years the Rynok (Market) Square has been the central square in Lviv, preserving its original name and boundaries. The square is framed by 44 ancient stone buildings in various styles of sixteenth to twentieth centuries. Almost all of them underwent further reconstruction. At the four corners of the Rynok square there are symetrically placed fountains with figures of Neptune, Diana, Amphitrite and Adonis. These sculptures were constructed in 1810-1814 by sculptor Hartman Witwer. From each corner of the square two streets run in the direction of old, already unexistant city gates and wickets. In the centre of the Rynok Square stands a 65 metre-high tower. This is the building of the City Hall.
The Latin Cathedral impresses by its strict, majestic shape. The Latin Cathedral is the main seat of the Roman-Catholic Church in Lviv. It is a harmonious fusion of Gothic and Baroque, but also shows elements of Renaissance, Roccoco, Classicism and Art Nouveau. The foundation stone for the cathedral was laid in 1349 by the Polish king Kazimir the Great. From the old cemetery which surrounded the church until the midle of the XVIIIth century, the figure of Crist remains in a tomb built by the campians Chapel. The main altar contains the most precious relic of the temple – a copy of miracle-working Icon of Our Lady of Mercy. Much like all the architectural monuments, the cathedral has changed its look many times over the course of the centuries. The temple is decorated with seventeenth-century fresco painting as well as nineteenth-century stained glass windows which illuminate the temple with a subtle light.
The Armenian Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady was constructed in the fourteenth century when Lviv became the capital of the Armenian bishopry. The cathedral consist of three parts, each representing a different historical period. The most ancient of them is the multiornamented eastern part, which was built in the fourteenth century by the builder Dore (Doring). In the year 1905 the cathedral was restored. It was then that a new part was built and new paintings of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were restored. The yard was covered with ancient Armenian tombs, the oldest of which come from the fourteenth century. The inside of the temple was decorated with contemporary paintings which are caracterized by the richness of composition and colour, mastery and refinement of paintings done by Jan Heinrich Rosen.
The Ronam Catholic Church of Corpus Christi of the Dominican Order was constructed in 1749-1764 under the leadership of engineer-architect Jan de Vitte. The facade holds a Latin inscription: “Soli Deo Honor et Gloria” (honour and praise to the only God). After the fire of 1778 the church was restored and in 1865 a brelfy was added on the left where entrance to the cloister had been. Art critics suppose that the Dominican Xathedral is the most famous of the late Baroque period in Lviv. Part of the complex is the monastery building and the bell tower. Today, the monastery houses the Museum for Religious History. The Dominican Church is still used today by the Uniate Church.
The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary (1581 -1629) with its bell tower that was named after its donor Kornjakt is one of the most beautiful buildings of Lviv. It is a fine example of Lviv's Renaissance architecture, and today is the seat of the Autokephalic (independent) Orthodox church, which is a faction of the Orthodox Church that does not subordinate itself to the Patriarch in Moscow. In Lviv, today, there is only one single church that subordinates itself to the Moscow patriarchy.
Lviv Opera and Ballet House is one of famous and most beautiful places in Europe. It has the name of famous Ukrainian singer Solomia Krushelnytska. Her charming voice was heard on every famous world stage together with great singers of the 20th century such as Caruso, Batistini, Shalyapin, and conductor Toscanini. It was for Krushelnytska that Jacomo Puccini composed the opera “Cio-Cio-San”.
The theatre was built in 1900 by a famous architect Z. Gorgolevsky in the style of “Vienna pseudo Renaissance” which is a mixture of different architectural styles. This imposing building is richly decorated from the outside and has sumptuous interior. The building of the theatre intrigues with its sculptural and picturesque richness. On the facade in the bay there are situated allegorical figures by A. Popiel and T. Baronch: Comedy on the left and Tragedy on the right. The bas-relief composition “Joys and Sufferings of Life” is in the three-cornered tympanum.
The stage is decorated with an original theatrical curtain called the “Parnassus” that was designed by famous Polish artist G. Semygradsky. “Parnassus” was painted in Rome at the end of the 19th century especially for the Lviv Opera House. The painting was exhibited in Rome and in Lviv art galleries before it was brought to the theatre right after its opening.
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