Palaces of Lviv (Part 2)

During the 19th century many members of the nobility at the time moved from the rural areas of Ukraine into Lviv, attracted by the business, social and cultural aspects of the city. While Ploshcha Rynok had been the center of development until then, most of the newly relocated nobility preferred to build on the outskirts of the city where there was more space to construct their palatial, and often ostentatious, homes.

One such palace was the home of Count Alfred II Potocki, who was the viceroy of Halychyna and Lodomeriya from 1875 to 1883. As an avid admirer of Louis XIV, the ruler of France who came to be known as the ‘Sun King’, the count commissioned a renowned French architect to design his palace. Sadly, he died before his home was completed, but it remained in the family as his son, Roman, supervised the completion of the Potocki Palace. Although the palace remained unscathed through the First World War, during a celebration of the victory of Poland over Soviet Russia in 1919, a plane flying over the city as part of the celebration crashed onto the roof of the palace, setting it on fire and completely gutting the building. The palace was later restored and during the Second World War it was occupied by the invading Italians for a time, before becoming an official marriage registry office under Soviet Rule. In 2001 the Potocki Palace was turned over to the Lviv Art Gallery, and today visitors can view a superb collection of 14th to 18th century European art displayed in the historic building, which also serves as a venue for select functions. The beautifully restored chapel of the palace is home to an ancient icon referred to as the ‘Lviv Mother of God’. Through the construction of their palace, the Potocki family started a trend favoring French architectural styles, which spread to other parts of the expanding city.

Another of Lviv’s historic palaces is the neo-Baroque style palace of Adam Sapega, a princely descendent of a Lithuanian-Russian family who was involved in the financing and construction of railroads in Halychyna. Intricate stone carving is a distinguishing feature of the exterior of Sapega’s Palace located on Kopernik Street. Further along the same street is the former home of Count Belskis, which currently houses a teachers’ center and theater, while a few blogs away on Lystopadovoho Chynu Street visitors will come across the palace of Count Agenor Golukhovski, a conservative governor who made his mark in the country’s history for unsuccessfully attempting to introduce the Latin alphabet into the Ukrainian language.

Certainly, there is much to experience when visiting Lviv, and its array of castles, palaces and mansions adds another dimension to this charming Ukrainian city.

Read Part 1 of this Palaces of Lviv series