Marcin Konkel

Time flies differently here

LVIV / A woman with an umbrella strolling during the rainy weather next to a Lada car.Lada's are a frequent sight in Lviv. This Russian car is widely used yet giving space to more modern constructions. In general streets are not overrun by cars or public transport. It's fair to say that people mainly use their feet or public transport (eg. trams and marshrutkas).

Streets made of cobblestone, trams taken from another century and Lada's taken from Russia. These are not the only things you will notice when in Lviv, Ukraine. This not-so-small (over 700 000 inhabitants) yet kind of "cozy" city on the far West of the Ukraine is a charming place to visit. The decline of Hryvnia (country's currency) has made this city exceptionally affordable for the Western travellers yet also influencing a decline the Ukraine's economy. Lviv is a place that you will want to visit again and again and let me tell you why.

LVIV / A monument in the city.

It's not perfect but it's true in what it is. True to the values and traditions of the locals. It is the only tourist city that I've seen in the East that is ready for tourists yet underestimated and not spoiled by their influences. You can see what I'm talking about it in the products that are offered in shops, restaurants and souvenirs. These are of high quality, crafted things like alcohol (vodkas & liqueurs), coffee and others. You wouldn't suppose that a city in that region would be famous for it's coffee. Quite the contrary. As the official travel site of Lviv puts it:

History of Coffee in Lviv started back in late 18 century with the coming of the Austrians, who revealed all niceties of coffee brewing for Lviv citizens by opening numerous cafés. Coffee started to be more and more popular in different circles of society and soon all Lviv fell ill with coffeemania that can’t be healed. Owners of cafés were arranging evening concerts, dances, there you was to hear all the latest gossips… Often cafés were places where creative youth from Lviv was gathering. Many poems, songs and legends are devoted to coffee that makes this drink even mystical.

The coffee is much better and available in more variations than the popular chains that you know. It is also much cheaper and the surroundings in which you taste it can be exceptional. This includes the interior in the place as well as jazz music and concerts. Even if you prefer the "to go" option you can stroll down the never-ending old streets and just be mindful of the moment. It's no wonder it's advertised as "the city of lovers".

LVIV / A lonely tree in front of a derelict building.

This on the other hand is clashed with the lack of funding and an economy in decline due to recent internal conflict and the conflict with Russia. Numerous soliders strolling the streets. Not because of danger (it's really safe here) but due to being on a permit to visit relatives (28 April - 3 May was Orthodox Easter). Same was visible in Kyiv (also known as Kiev). Nevertheless, they come from the East which is still in conflict. The decline is also visible in the condition of which are the buildings. Although the tenement houses are beautiful and create the exceptional vibe they are also in poor condition and many need to be renovated badly.

LVIV / A woman looking at stalls on Vernissage Market.Vernisazh (ukr. Вернісаж) apart from offering paintings the market has also to offer a variety of ethnically colored items, such as authentic rags made of goat’s wool from the Carpathian Mountains, Ukrainian beaded necklaces called gerdans, wooden boxes and plates, painted eggs and traditional embroidery called vyshyvanka.

During my stay and travels through Ukraine my main subject of photographs were people. I was refining my craft in terms of capturing their emotions and situations they're in. This is something I wanted to do for some time and it will accompany me in the near future. Little less of cityscapes and a bit more of street photography and people. Ukraine was interesting in that matter as it's not yet as much influenced by tourists and overcrowded as, for instance, Prague or Paris. It was easier for me to do the work. The effects you can see below and in the full gallery.

LVIV / A child with his father pointing at a toy.
LVIV / Two people talking while sitting on metal rings.
LVIV / A man sleeping next to his own stall at Vernissage Market on Vicheva Square.
LVIV / City's Opera House and Souvenir Market.
LVIV / A woman strolling through stalls on the Souvenir Market.The market is mainly for tourists or so it may seem. It offers mainly knick-knacks. During the Orthodox Easter it also had part of the merchandise connected with this holiday.
LVIV / City's architecture.
LVIV / A shoe cleaner.This man has been cleaning shoes for over 20 years in Lviv. friend brought the idea to Poland when it was not yet popular there.
LVIV / An interior of a tram drivers cabin.Tickets can be bought directly from the driver for 2 UAH which equals to 0.070 EUR at the time of writing. It is the cheapest way of transport among public transport.
LVIV / People at the Flee Market on Ivan Fiodorov Square.This market is dedicated strictly to books and antiques. With a statue of Ivan Fiodorov in the centre. The story tells that he was invited to Lviv from Moscow by Assumption Fraternity. He later on settled in Lviv and published the first ABC Book and the Apostle in thousands of copies. Today his statue accompanies the sellers and buyers of various book positions and rare antiques.
LVIV / A book seller on Ivan Fiodorov Square.This seller seemed to have found something interesting on the street at which he was looking while unpacking his goods.
LVIV / Sundown over the city.
LVIV / People celebrating Orthodox Easter in front of a church.According to the tradition on Easter Saturday people gather with baskets filled with food which is blessed by the priest.

When you sit in a cafe or stroll down the streets you notice that the time flies differently here. As if it has slowed significantly letting you not rush, sharpen your senses and experience more. Whereas by great cuisine, slower transport (the trams go really slow) or something in the air. Does not matter, really. What matters it what you make of it. See more photographs in the full gallery from Lviv.

What to see?

Markets: Souvenir Market (along Svobody ave), Vernisazh (ukr. Вернісаж) Market, Ivan Fiodorov Book Market


Kryivka (ukr. Криївка) - a hideout styled like restaurant, the food is avarage.

House of Legends (ukr. Дом легенд) - with a fantastic viewing point and a car on the roof.

Museum of Brewing - a museum of one of the most renown in Europe local breweries (next to a market) called Lvivske.

Town Hall Tower - giving a panoramic view on the city. 

Italian courtyard aka Venice Palace- great architecture tucked in one of the market square's tenement houses

Where to dine?

Baczewski restaurant - fantastic food, liquers and vodkas with a long history in Lviv and a wonderful interiors with an orangery, all created with the utmost diligence. 

Beer Theatre "Pravda" - craft beer made on the spot and a restaurant.

Poshta na Drukarskiy - interesting interiors (probably the largest collection of Lviv postcards), large selection of craft beers.

Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture - for a great coffee