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What is Lem City?

Yaroslava Yaroslavska



Дата публікації

What was Lviv like 100 years ago? Do you think it's hard to imagine? But no! Today we’ll look in Lviv in the 1930s through the memoirs of the famous science fiction writer Stanislav Lem.

"I’m from Lviv, and I’ll remain a Lviv resident until my death. Nothing can be changed, people and nations, not cabinets that move from corner to corner" this is how Lem repeatedly emphasized his origin. Having lived in Lviv for 23 years, the writer placed his memories of the city of his childhood in the book "High Castle".

Stanislaw Lem was born on the 12th of September 1921 in a polonized jewish family. The family lived in a small house number four on Braіerivska Street (now B. Lepkoho St.). The future writer studied at the Karol Shainokha State Gymnasium (Lyceum №8 on Pidvalna St.), then at the Medical University.

The road to school seems interesting, which little Stanislav could overcome almost with his eyes closed. Every morning he walked along Monіushka and Chopin streets, Smolka Square (modern General Hryhorenko Sq.), Jahellonska (now Hnatіuka St.), past the Marysenka cinema (modern Voskresinnia Theater) to Legion Street (Svobody Ave). Then he passed the "Viennese coffee shop", where the first landmark was an electric clock, the other was on the tower of the Town Hall.

Among the favorite places for walks was the Jesuit Garden (now I. Franko Park), which, however, "did not make any delights" and Stryiskyi Park. The latter, of course, is another matter: “There was a lake in the shape of an octagon, and on the right, there was an alley leading to the edge of the world. In winter and summer it was dominated by the Bachevsky Tower, quadrangular, lined on all sides with rows of full-colored bottles. I was terribly interested in whether there was a real liqueur, or just colored water, but no one knew".

Of all the attractions of Lviv at that time, the most attractive was Zalevsky confectionery (now the restaurant "Puzata Khata") on Academichna street (now Shevchenko Ave.). There was no need to look for such windows, decorated with a large scale. These were amazing sculptures made of marzipan and chocolate, allegorical figures frozen in almond mass, even slices of lemon, were the work of confectionery carvings. This whole picture seduced passers-by every day, especially before Christmas and Easter. By the way, this pleasure was not cheap: the cake cost 25 money - a terrible amount, considering that the big bun cost five at the time, and the lemon - about ten.

Important points on the map of Lviv sweets are also Italian ice cream in the passage of Mykoliasha (now Mickiewicz Sq.), confectionery "Yugoslavia" near the Opera House, where there were the best oriental sweets in Lviv and a kiosk with Mr. Cavuras at the corner of Holy Spirit Square (now Ivan Pidkova Sq.).

In addition to confectionery, there were no less important shops - toys. One of them, the Kleften store, was located near the George Hotel. "They sold luxurious massive flat poodles with tin soldiers, cannons firing peas, wooden fortresses, whirligigs, etc."

Next, on Slovatskoho Street in front of the Main Post Office, was the office of the ship company “Cunard Line” and in each of its windows stood a large model of an ocean liner.

The High Castle, which rises above the city, was important. According to Lem: “… was for each of us what heaven is to a Christian. Usually, they went up Teatynska Street (now Kryvonosa St.), and a few steps from the place where the tram rails ended, the slope broke off and there was a majestic panorama of the city, bordered on the right by the top of the Sand Mountain, and on the left by the park thickets. We were drowning at this hour under a cloudy sky, giving in to its flow…”

Overlaying Lem's “High Castle” on the map of modern Lviv becomes an increasingly difficult task over time, but it is such memories that give us the opportunity to dive into the past and open it to the future through the present.


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Нажаль, під час відправлення щось пішло не так. Спробуйте знову.