Lviv and Zhovka

Lviv (Lvov)

Lviv, also known as Lvov (Russian), Lwow (Polish), and Lemberg (in Austrian days) is a gateway to Ukraine from the West. We arrived by train from Krakow, where we had just visited Auschwitz and Birkenau, where many Jews who once lived in the places we were about to visit had perished.

Lviv is a beautiful city with a rich heritage, including a Jewish heritage, photos of which are depicted on this page. Other photos of Lviv city scenes are on a separate page. Photos of other Jewish sites in Ukraine also appear on the following pages: Stryy; Berehovo, Mukachevo, and Uzhhorod (in Transcarpathia); and Kyiv

On the northern edge of the city lies the ghetto from which Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps. Below is the monument to those who were deported.

Monument to those who were deported.

Synagogue in the ghetto, close to the monument.

Looking down the street from the monument.

On the southern side of the city was the Jewish quarter, including the Golden Rose synagogue, which is now just ruins.

This stone, alone among all those paving the area in front of the synagogue where some kids were kicking a ball around, has some Hebrew writing on it and what appears to be part of the name, Jakob.


A half hour or so northwest of Lviv is a pretty little town called Zhovka, well worth a half-day trip from Lviv. One of the main attractions is the Pink Synagogue, which was the largest in all of Galicia—the region of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, and later Poland, in which Lviv is located.

Here is a side view:

According to the plaque on the front (which Merry can be seen reading—or trying to read, given that it is in Ukrainian—in the close-up photo above), the synagogue was built from 1692 to 1700 under Polish King Jan Sibielski in Renaissance style. Its walls are up to two meters thick. It was restored and re-stuccoed in 1935–37, but blown up by Nazi forces in June, 1941. Since 1995, a partial restoration has been in process.

Zhovka has some beautiful sites of general interest, too, and a few of them are depicted below.

As you enter town on the road from Lviv, the first site of interest you come to is a striking wooden Orthodox church, built in 1720.

A little farther down the road is a Catholic church, also from the early 1700s. It is in a state of disrepair, but if it is restored, it will be beautiful again.

Zhovka has an expansive and pretty central square, which was partially restored in anticipation of a visit by then-president Leonid Kuchma. He never visited, so the square remains in this partially restored state.

Finally, here is the Zhovka town hall.

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