When I enter Ploshcha Rynok, or Market Square, on a late October morning, the sun is not yet high enough to shed a light on its medieval buildings. This is the heart of Lviv, the main city in western Ukraine. The square was planned in the 14th century, but a great fire destroyed most of it in 1527, and the erstwhile Gothic buildings were rebuilt into what we see now: renaissance and rococo style architecture. I walk around the empty square, with my head in my neck to get a better look at the buildings around me. Small sculptures, balconies, lanterns, golden details, all make each house look unique. After coming back from a visit to Lychakiv cemetery, the square is alive. Crowds gather around the statues, the rows of houses, the fountains: it has a different feel now. But the houses are there, and now shine in the autumn sun.
The eastern side is the most remarkable. On the northeastern corner: Bandinelli Palace, built in the late 16th century but destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in its renaissance style. The owner was from Florence, and founded the first mail office in Lviv in the 17th century. Then, there is a rococo building, and the Black House, one of the outstanding houses in Market Square for its unique appearance. It was built for Italian tax-collector Alberti, originally in sandstone, but over the years, it gradually turned black. It is embellished by white sculptures, and is part of the Historic City Museum. There are more palaces and rich buildings on this row, like the House of Bernatowicz and the King John III Sobieski Palace - the latter stands out because of the row of statues on top of the building.
The other sides of Market Square have more noteworthy buildings. Some are used as restaurants, cafes, or shops. Market Square is one big outdoor museum of medieval houses with a lively feel. In the middle, the rebuilt Town Hall, with tower. On its four corners, there are fountains with statues of Neptune, Diana, Adonis, and Amphitrite. Just off the square, there is much more to see: the Latin cathedral, the Chapel of the Boim family, the Armenian cathedral, backstreets and alleys - and much more. I walk up to the top of Castle Hill for a view of the city, and when I am back at Market Square, I walk the stairs to the top of the tower of Ploshcha Rynok. At the top of the square tower, you have unobstructed views over the city and down on Market Square, and can see the houses and statues from a different perspective.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ploshcha Rynok (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ploshcha Rynok.
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