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Rynok Square in LvivHistory of remarkable, rightfully European city of Lviv is inseparably connected with this small square – Rynok (Market) square. Every building of this city, and this square as well, is wrapped in its legend.

The main architectural adornment of this square is the City Hall. Rynok Square in LvivBuilding of the City Council located in the center of this square used to be the Magistrates City Hall during the times of Vladimir Opolskiy reign. Above mentioned gentleman started the construction of the first Lviv City Hall as early as in XIV c. This architectural monument has been rebuilt several times, but the appearance it has nowadays, the construction gained in 1851. The last reconstruction of the City Hall was made in the style of Vienna Classicism. For the moment being, it has the central tower of 65 meter height. After walking up 400 stairs, you will see unforgettable panorama of the city and will have a close look at the mechanism of the big City Hall clock. There are two lions standing at the City Hall entrance, and the city emblem adorns their shields.

Rynok Square in LvivThere are four rather interesting fountains surrounding the City Hall, which are decorated with Greek statues: Amphitrite and Diana, Neptune and Adonis. Due to work of a sculptor Gartman Vitver, they have become righteous citizens of this square since 1793. In reality, these fountains are wells, as water doesn’t blow, but flows in two streams.

Originally, Rynok square used to have another name, which is “the Ring” («der Ring»), that is German for “ring, circle, confined space”.  German craftsmen, invited by Jan Kazimir III, built this square, which also explains German origin of the name. However, this word pronounced by local citizens was consequently transformed to “Rynok”. In Middle Ages, central squares of German cities were built following the same principle as the constructed Rynok square.

It was here, near the Poltva river, in its picturesque valley, at the order of Kazimir III colonists established a new European city. King of Poland built the city applying advanced building techniques of those times. Exactly for this purpose he invited craftsmen and constructors from Germany. Later on, architectural additions were made by Italian and Austrian architects.

The city of Lviv itself took the first breath of Europeanization in Ukraine.Rynok Square in Lviv

Rynok square has become a blending of various creative ideas, combining them in one peculiarity – harmony and concordance. It seemed, the square breathed with Renaissance. The atmosphere of real music flows in old Renaissance houses of Lviv. Windows of such buildings are placed asymmetrically: one of them is aside and it is situated in the host’s room, two others – in the main hall. Not mote than three floors and not more than three façade windows – these are main criteria of constructing houses on Rynok square, which have made a great contribution in creation of its unique architectural look. Later on, there appeared buildings with four or five windows on a floor.

Lviv patricians would usually ordered designs of their houses from Italian architects. However, Italian Renaissance was accomplished with local traditions, namely eastern Ukrainian architecture.

Nowadays, almost all houses on the square are used for their original purpose. They are homes for a number of Lvivians.

Rynok Square in LvivRynok square also has another majestic figure, which is double stone statue, combining from one side, a figure of a man with a sword, from the other – a woman with a pair of scales, standing back-to-back. This monument is a silent witness of numerous tragic events, which were sentences to death. These were executed at so called “pranger” – a whipping post, to which quarrelsome women and purloiners were tied.

Let go further. If you want to enjoy aromatic Lviv coffee, you should visit its small native “Italian Patio”, having the address of 6, Rynok square.

In general, there are 45 buildings located on the square: the City Hall and 44 houses (stone ones). Almost each building here has a protective sign of “Architectural Monument”. It is an interesting fact, that in older times these buildings were not numerated. Instead, they had their names, given after the family name of their owners, or caused by peculiar elements of decorative finishing of the house façade, like “Under the Deer”, “Under the Lion”, “stone Lukashevich’s” and others.

All stone squares resemble each other and differ from each other at the same time. Each of them has its unique artistic appearance. Territory of the square was divided into four parts according to the side of construction: Southern, Northern, Western and Eastern. The most beautiful and interesting buildings of Rynok square are located in its eastern part. “Black Stony” (Building #4) and “Kornyakt’s Platz” (Building #6) are true masterpieces of European art of the Renaissance epoch.Rynok Square in Lviv

“Black Stony” is considered to be one of the best monuments of residential construction on the whole territory of Ukraine. It was built as early as in 1588-1589 for a pharmacist Yan Lorentsovich, who naturally opened a drug-store on the ground floor. Building #4 got the name “Black Stony” two centuries later, after facade limestone had turned dark. “Black Stony” has very rich façade decoration. Portals and window frames with wonderful ornamental carving and walls rusticated with diamond squares from the foundation to the highest floor ensure this building unrivaled picturesque look. In addition, façade of the house us decorated with sculptures of disciples, St.Martin and the Holy Mother of God.

Rynok Square in LvivThe only example of applying Gothic style in residential construction is “Kornyakt House”, built in 1580 for a rich Lviv wine merchant. Later on Building #6 got the name “King’s Stony”, as it became King Yan’s property.

Nowadays, Lviv History Museum is located in this building, and in its cozy “Italian Pation” – Lviv Chocolate Factory. Various performances, concerts, tradeshows, interesting art events are regularly organized here.

In 1629, the first post office was opened in Lviv. It was located in Building #2 under the name “Bandinelli Palace” which is one of the brightest examples of late Renaissance architecture.

Rynok square has traditionally been the center of public, political, economic and cultural life of Lviv. And it still is in modern times. Rynok square is so called open-air museum.

Author Marina Melnichenko

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