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September 8, 2002

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Ukrainians tell us not to miss Lviv, the capital of Western Ukraine. . Its beauty comes from a legacy as a hub between Poland and roads eastward. Empires battled over this region for centuries, yet Lviv's guardian angel kept it from harm, even from the fires of WWII. A string of hills surround its skyline of old spires, church towers, and shingled roofs. Architecture combines Habsburg, Renaissance, and Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical - more styles than our eyes can discern.
Lviv is a work-a-day place, "lived-in," and not a showcase for visitors, so it presents an authentic atmosphere of an Eastern European city.
Lviv's skyline shows it's a cultural meeting place by the church steeples; Orthodox, Catholic.
People stand at Orthodox church services, no pews provided. This makes it hard to sleep through service.
The Black Stone house, built for an Italian merchant in 1588. During this time and for 400 years Lviv fell under Polish control. After WWI, this city was the center of Ukrainian Nationalism and a temporary Republic, called Ruthenia, emerged. Then the Poles regained supremacy, only to lose Lviv to the Russians in 1939. Lviv has been batted back and forth between Empires like a tennis ball.
A 200 year old parquet floor made of 14 wood types. Great for skating in your socks!
Flower sellers always do brisk business in Eastern Europe and Russia.