«Legendary City,» «City of Lev,» «Little Paris,» «City of Coffee and Rain» — these are some of the names with which residents and guests lovingly adorn L’viv. The first recorded mention of L’viv dates back to 1256. Its founder, Prince Danylo of Galicia, named the city in honor of his beloved son, Lev.
Located on the crossroads of East-West trade routes, L’viv has always been an important center of international trade where various cultures have intermingled and thrived. The convenient geographic location of L’viv attracted craftsmen from different nations: Germans, Poles, Swedes, Armenians and Jews created their own neighborhoods in the city and left their mark on its history. Architecturally, diverse styles such as gothic and baroque, renaissance and romantic, rococo and empire, art nouveau and constructivism have been joined together in the unmatched Galician spirit of L’viv. The great number of historical, cultural, and architectural monuments in L’viv reminds one of an open-air museum. In fact, twenty percent of Ukraine’s architectural museums are located in L’viv. As a result, in December, 1998 UNESCO declared the central part of the city a protected area of historical and cultural significance.
Having more than just a fruitful history, though, modern L’viv is a city where the rich past meets the vibrant future. Many scholars, writers, actors, painters, and students make their home in L’viv. The city regularly hosts a variety of significant cultural and economic events, including international industrial exhibitions, book forums, scholarly symposiums, and musical and theatrical festivals. L’viv is poised and determined to retain its position of spiritual, intellectual, and cultural leadership in Ukraine for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, recent polls indicate that after the capital, Kyiv, L’viv is the most popular city in all of Ukraine.