Coming to Lviv was on my bucket list since I was four years old. This place has always held a very special place in my heart, even if I had not previously visited. My parents and grandparents immigrated to the US from Lviv in 1991, in order to give themselves (and their future children) a better life. My parents hadn’t been back in 27 years. After years and years of begging, I finally convinced them to take our family to Lviv.
When visiting a place, I enjoy taking tours, just as much as I love exploring on my own. I think its important to learn a little bit about the history of a place. Finding out more about the history of Lviv allowed me to learn why the city is the way it is. Taking a tour doesn’t always make you a tourist, it just makes you an educated traveler.
At first, my parents didn’t think a tour was necessary and walked me around the city of Lviv showing me where the grew up, went to school, and got married. Instead of just exploring on our own for five days, I signed us up for a Free Walking Tour with Lviv Buddy. If you have ready any of my other posts, you know I am a huge fan of free walking tours!
We registered for Lviv Buddy’s free “Must See” tour that began at 10:30am at Rynok (Market) Square. Our tour guide, Bogdan, met our group there and started with introductions. Our walking tour consisted of approximately 20 people.
Bodgan showed us around Lviv old town. Bogdan informed us the history of Lviv, starting with the founding in 1256. Not only was the tour educational, but he also incorporated humor and made it extremely interactive. We were able to see City Hall, the Black Stone Building (which was under construction), the Armenian Church, and other notable locations. Bogdan also took us to the Monument to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. We were encouraged to put our hand in his pocket (and grab some metal private parts) for good luck! We walked past hundreds of cafes and restaurants, all of which were extremly inviting. To get a better idea of where to grab a bite to eat, or a cup of coffee, check out my guide here.
He also took us to the site of the Jewish Synagogue that was bombed during World War II and now houses a memorial to the Jewish people. I was shocked to find out that my parents were not even aware that this was the site of the former Jewish synagogue! When they lived in Lviv, it was under communist rule, and religion was not allowed or practiced.
My brother and I were so excited to learn about the city our family came from. It was so interesting to walk around the city and se the places that inspired paintings that hang in our family home.