If you want true European Christmas, one of your best options would be to go to Lviv, this jewel in the crown of the Eastern Europe. Depo.Lviv, a Ukrainian web portal, offers a number of hints where to spend your time – assuming you are in Lviv during this holiday period. It’s definitely worth going there!
Preparations for Christmas start yet in early December.
December 19, on the St. Nicholas’ Day (another favorite holiday for many Ukrainians, by the way), Lviv Christmas fair begins. It’s the first European-style Christmas fair in the country, first hosted in 2009 and since then visited by thousands of tourists from Ukraine and abroad. It is usually located at the Rynok Square, one of the most famous and picturesque places of the city. At the fair, you can buy New Year souvenirs; traditional pottery; own works of modern Ukrainian painters; a wide variety of delicacies – baked rolls, honey, mulled wine, hot chocolate and a lot of other tasty stuff.
While spending holidays in Lviv, make sure you see its key places of interest.
You can start with the Roman Catholic Church of St. Olga and Elizabeth, located near the railroad station.
In the Soviet times, there was no church; instead, it was something referred to as “Lviv’s sweetest place” – a warehouse of Svitoch, widely famous Ukrainian confectionary. However, in the 1990s, the warehouse was rebuilt back into the church.
Next, visit the monument to Stepan Bandera,famous Ukrainian political activist, leader of the Ukrainian nationalist and independence movement inthe 20th century.Behind the monument, you’ll find the Stele of Ukrainian Statehood – a 30-meter-high arc standing on four pillars, each of them symbolizing one of the four most remarkable periods in the Ukrainian history when the country fought for its independence.
Now, it’s time to go and see another hallmark of the city – National University “Lviv Polytechnic”. Established in 1844, it is widely known as the oldest technical college in Ukraine and the entire Eastern Europe.
Make sure you don’t miss St. George’s Cathedral, the main shrine of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. For a while, it used to be a residence of the Church’s metropolitans.
Continue your sightseeing tour and visit another university that Lviv justly boasts of – the Ivan Franko’s Lviv National University, with a monument of the great poet in front of it.
As you reach the city’s downtown, enjoy the views of Dormition Church, Lviv’s main Orthodox church and an architectural masterpiece of the Ukrainian Renaissance. See the Dominican Cathedral that survived many fires and ravages throughout its almost 800-year-long history. Visit the Jewish, Armenian and Polish neighborhoods located in the old town, and listen to its numerous tales and legends.
You may of course choose your own option how to finish the sightseeing tour in Lviv, but assuming you’re hungry and cold after such a long walk, it would be best if you stay for a meal somewhere in the downtown, probably at the Rynok Square. In the light of day and after sunset, it is filled with nourishing smell of coffee, cinnamon and hot chocolate. That will surely make your Christmas trip around Lviv unforgettable!