History of Lwow

Lwow, it is the biggest city in present day Western Ukraine, it was founded as a wooden fort in the mid 13th century by Prince Daniel Halicki of Galicia, a former principality of Kiervan Rus. The first mention of Lwow in early chronicles is from 1256, although archeological excavation in 1993 revealed that the first settlements appeared in the 6th century. Galicia, with Lwow as its chief city, has kept its identity despite many boundary changes and centuries of rule by outside powers.

Lwow very quickly became the centre of trade and commerce for the region. The city's favourable location on the crossroads of trade routes led to its rapid economic development.

The Galician lands became part of Poland in the 14th century. Its nobility eventually adopted the Polish language and religion, Roman Catholicism. From 1356 the burghers had the right of self-government, which implied that all city issues were to be solved by a city council, which was elected by it's wealthy citizens.

The first half of the 17th century appeared to be the most active period in the city's development, by that time there where 25-30 thousand people. About 30 craft organizations were active by that time, involving well over a hundred different specialities. Starting in the second half of the 17th century there was a decline in Lwow's development.

In the First Partition of Poland (1772), Galicia became part of the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire but remained dominated by Poles.

In 1784, the first university was opened. Lectures were held in Latin, German, Polish.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, construction, trade, transport and industry started to develop rapidly until the start of the First World War. Many prominent cultural and political leaders lived in Lwow, it was a meeting place of Polish, and Jewish cultures.

With the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire at the end of Word War I, the Ukrainian nationalistic favour erupted and they tried to proclaim Lwow as the Capital of the Independent Republic of West Ukraine. That Republic never materialised and it was retaken by the troops of the re-emergent Polish State, and Lwow once more returned to Polish rule until the Red Army took control in September 1939. Lwow was occupied by Germany from 1941 to 1944. In 1944 Lwow again went under the Soviet rule.

The activity of the Greek Catholic Church, prohibited in 1946, started again, On August 24, 1991 Lwow began a new era as the Ukraine adopted a declaration of independence.

Now Lwow is a major economic and cultural centre on the Western region of the Ukrainian state.

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