Amidst the cities of the Ukraine Lviv is rendered unmatched by its numerous historico-architectural relics of the 13—20th centuries which make a rare display of all the historical styles from the Roman-Byzantine style up to the modern functional architecture.
In order to secure this heritage for preservation, study and popularization, a state historico-architectural preserve was instituted in 1975, the preserve including all the buildings on the ancient Rus and medieval part of the city within the boundaries of Lenin Avenue, Mickiewich and Rc-Uni-fication Squares, Radianska, Darvin, Lysenko, Kryvonos, Dovbush, Mu-sorgsky, Zamkovo Streets and Podzamche Square, Lobachevsky, Haida-mastka, B. Khmelnitsky Streets and 300-th Year of Re-Unification Square. The total area makes 120 hectares. The preserve includes about a thousand buildings, over 200 of which are monuments of architecture and buildings of value.
Lviv as a town emerged in the middle of the 13th century on the site of a more ancient settlement which was situated at trade cross-roads from West to East and from North to South. The town was surrounded by hills.
Though the town buildings were not erected «according to a plan, they were not chaotic. The structure plan of ancient Rus town was based upon the apopsia law according to which any town-dweller could forestall the construction of a building on an adjoining site if it might obscure the nature or monuments. The town-building law for ancient-Rus towns included in the Helmsman’s Books had been popular even in the pre-Mongolian times, and it was undoubtedly resorted to in ancient Lviv.
As other ancient Rus town the 13th century Lviv comprised three parts — a castle fortified by ramparts, a stone wall with log pilings and palings, a fortified town, semicircular and adjacent to the northern slope of the hill surmounted with the Prince’s Castle. The town reached the ancient Volyn route (now B. Khmelnitsky Street) and the suburbs. The surrounding town was most densely populated which fact is proved by the number of churches of which remain St. Nicholas’, Onufrievska, Piatnitska, John the Baptist’s and Mary of Snow churches. The suburbs were not fortified. In case of danger the inhabitants took refuge in the fortified town or the castle The castle of the Prince was of stone and well protected. Stone architecture in the 12—13th centuries is testified to by recent excavations.
The most ancient relic of the Lviv architecture is St. Nicholas’ Church in B. Khmelnitsky Street. Tradition has it to be the ancestral principality church founded as early as the 13th c. The relic has not preserved its original aspect due to radical reconstructions in the 13th and early 19th centuries.
What the structure retains of the 13th century edifice are the lower parts of the stone walls and the apsidos made of trimmed blocks of white lime stone, the fact discovered during the 1924 restoration. Trimmed lime stone in town building is typical of Galicia-Vol.yn Rus, of the 12—13th centuries Galicia in particular.
St. Onufry’s monastic church is considered to be another relic of ancient Rus Lviv. It was under Prince Lev Danilovich, son of the founder of Lviv, that monks settled here, presumably near the ancient church. In 1463 Lviv dweller Stepan Dropan renovated the cloister, and almost in a century, in 1550 Prince Konstantin Ostrozhskiy built the stone church anew which became the kernel of the present-day one. The church was built anew each time it suffered ruin from wars or fires.
The building of the cloister was erected in 1683, ten years later it was enclosed with a fortified wall with loop-holes, the wall is preserved till nowadays. The bell tower crowning the church was built in 1820.
St. Onufry’s Church is connected with prominent pages of the native culture history. Here in the church yard in 1583 was buried Ivan Fedorov, Russian pioneer printer who in Lviv «brought back to life the neglected printing». As a tribute to the great pioneer printer, thanks to whom Lviv became the cradle of Ukrainian book rpinting, Ivan Fedorov Museum — a branch of the Lviv Picture Gall-ery — was opened in 1977.
Passing along B. Khmelnitsky Street on to Podzamche we see Piatnitska (Friday) Church, a bewitching relic of ancient Lviv architecture, first mentioned in 1443 chronicles, it must have been founded much earlier — late 13th — early 14th centuries. The presentday building-dates back to 1644—1645.
A priceless relic of art — the Piatnitsky iconostasis, created by Lviv artists in the forties of the 17th century — is one of the most ancient in the Ukraine. It contains over 70 icons, arronged in seven rows. The iconostasis is a magnificent complex of painting and decorative carving. By its style features it is defined as the trend or workshop trait of Fedor Senkovich, an artist of the late 16th — first half of the 17th centuries.

 

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