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Lviv: unseen to the touch

Sofiia Dmytryshyn


"Lviv on the palms of your hands"

We are all so different and see the world so differently. Just imagine what a bright picture would open up before us if all our feelings were put together!

The full does not understand the hungry — that is a fact. However, you can always make a little effort. And we're not talking about food here. We are happy that Lviv is becoming more and more inclusive, many initiatives are being developed, and it helps people with visual or hearing impairments to better feel the surrounding beauty.

We would like to introduce you to one of such initiatives — the project "Lviv on the palms of your hands". It was initiated by Oksana Potymko, executive director of the Lviv regional center of public organization «Ukrainian Union of Invalids». Within this project, 4 bronze models of popular objects of the city have already been created in Lviv. The author of the project also has a visual impairment, and therefore better understands all the nuances of creating such models and the needs of people with disabilities. Many blind people know that the Town Hall, for example, has a tower. They can find out the height of the building, how many steps to the observation deck or what is the architectural style. Nevertheless, to see and understand the elements, details — is almost impossible. That's why it's important.

These miniature figurines bring positive to everyone: for some the figures help to understand what this or that building looks like, for others to get memories from distant shelves of memory, and others just like to look at these beauties in detail and from above, instead of looking somewhere to the sky.

It is also worth mentioning the sculptor who created most of these tactile models — Vasyl Odrekhivsky. Lviv residents and guests of the city could visit the exhibition "Touching, I see" with three-dimensional sculptural portraits. By the way, his father and grandfather were also engaged in sculpture.

The process of creating a model is interesting, there are four stages. First you need to calculate everything correctly and clearly. Based on these calculations, a 3D model of the planned building is created, which is then poured with clay or gypsum. Next, the model must be filled with bronze and complete the creation — everything should be corrected by hand. As you can see, the work is troublesome.

So what is it — Lviv to the touch, Lviv with closed eyes? Let's take a short route.

Stop 1. City Hall

Let's start our walk from the heart of Lviv — Rynok Square. We are standing in front of the City Hall, and we can immediately touch and explore it tactilely. The sculptor worked out a model to the smallest detail, even lions. This miniature was the first in Lviv, and a large crowd gathered for its opening. An exact copy of Lviv City Hall is 130 times smaller than the original. You can read about the building on the Braille plaque.

Stop 2. Lviv National Opera

From Rynok Square we walk to the next location - the Opera House on Svobody Avenue. Preparations for the creation of this miniature were even more serious. The Opera House was scanned with a special 3D scanner using drones. Vasyl Odrekhivsky accurately conveyed the proportions and forms of the sculptures "Genius of Tragedy", "Genius of Music" and "Glory", which we see at the top of the theater facade.

Many visually impaired people were also present at the opening of this model, and after the event they were invited to a performance at the Lviv Opera — Giuseppe Verdi's opera "The Troubadour".

Also read: Panorama of Lviv through the ages

Stop 3.  Taras Shevchenko Monument

Then we move in the opposite direction from the Opera. To the right of the monument to Taras we see another bronze model with a plaque with text in Braille. For convenience, the corners of the sculpture are rounded. A big advantage of this location is the accessibility for people with disabilities — ramps have been installed in the square and tactile tiles have been laid.

The miniature of the monument to Shevchenko is a bit different from the previous two. This model was created by two brothers — Volodymyr and Andriy Sukhovsky, the form was cast at the Lviv sculpture factory.

Stop 4. St. George's complex

Last, but not least, model on our route — St. George's complex more than a meter high. This is a truly grandiose work: we can touch the Cathedral of St. George itself, and the bell tower and the curia, and the monument to Andrei Sheptytsky and even the Metropolitan Gardens. The creation process took about 9 months.

Preparing for work was not easy. In order to recreate the Cathedral and the whole complex in detail, it was necessary to survey the territory from a helicopter and raise archival documents. When installing the model, the distances between the objects were also taken into account, so that it was possible to go around the monument and to approach the cathedral safely and comfortably. The sculpture was co-authored by Vasyl Odrekhivsky and Maryan Korol.

In such a special place, on St. George's Hill, our today's journey ends. But we will definitely continue it.

Let's reveal a secret: it is planned to make even more such models in Lviv, and a model of the Garrison Church will appear in the near future. Without any doubt, we are very happy about that.


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