The Ensemble of Ruska Street

  • The ensemble of Ruska Street (16-20th centuries) includes residential houses and administrative buildings of ancient Lviv.

    Since the 14th century Solyanykiv Street (‘Salt Traders’ Street’ in Ukrainian) was the centre of Ukrainian Lviv, so called because its inhabitants actively traded salt, often leaving for salterns in the Pre-Carpathians, some of the few in Europe in those times. This street was later renamed Ruska Street (Ruthenian Street), as this was where Ukrainians, called Ruthenians in ancient times, would settle. This district remained a political, economic, and cultural centre for Ukrainians for many centuries.

    Building No. 2 in Ruska Street (15-17th centuries) is one of the oldest stone buildings in Lviv. The building retained elements of Gothic architecture, as evident in the first floor vaulting and the open profiles revealing ancient brick masonry. On the side of Serbska Street the house façade was reinforced with thick buttresses.

    Building No. 4, erected in the 16th century, has retained its original planning structure and Gothic cross-vaulting. The white masonry portal also dates back to the 16th century, as does the stone lion’s head in the courtyard above the brick arch; the lion bears a bunch of grapes in its mouth, evidence that the building used to accommodate a winery. The white carved stone window frames have also been preserved  with their original inscriptions in Old Armenian (Grabar), indicating that the establishment was owned by the Armenian Wartanowicz family. At present the building houses the GerdanArt Gallery, and through the courtyard one comes across a very original coffee shop called “The Blue Bottle” which is decorated in old Austrian fashion.

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