Johann Alnpek, the famous Lviv burgomaster, once wrote about medieval Lviv: “There are the crowds of Jews, it’s almost their promised land.” Indeed, starting from the 14th century when the Polish king Casimir III the Great hospitably opened the doors of the Polish state to the Jews, this people is closely linked with royal Lviv.
The history of Jewish people is a special and vague page in the world history. The history of life of Jewish people in Lviv is also full of different events, not only joyful and happy ones but also sorrowful and painful ones. In this tour we will travel to both well-known and little-known places of the city and its suburbs, which keep memories in its walls and stones that are not always visible, but can and should be felt.
The Jewish settlement in downtown
The Jewish community of Lviv, like the Ukrainian and Armenian ones, was concentrated in two places: one inside the city and one that lay on the outskirts. Urban Jewish settlement occupied the South-Eastern corner of the Downtown. The most expressive sign of Jewish block is perhaps Starojevreiska Street. Here you will find out how the Jews of Lviv made their living. Why did the fire often break out from this part of the city? What does "mezuza" mean? Is it true that the Golden Rose Synagogue is named in honor of a woman?
Jewish settlement on the outskirts
There was something special about the Jewish community Lviv: there were two of them in Lviv. The first one was inside the city. Another one was on the outskirts, on the territory of so-called Krakivsky suburb. Each community in Lviv lived its own life and had separate rights and privileges. Up to the 18th century, the communities were actually conflicting: marriages between them were virtually impossible, and the Jew from the outskirts would never move to the downtown, and vice versa. Although the Community that lived on the outskirts was in a somewhat better economic situation than the urban one, it was not so protected from hostile attacks. The most painful chapter of the Jews in Lviv is also connected with this settlement on the outskirts. It was here that following the German invasion during World War II, a Jewish ghetto was intentionally established, and as a result over 100,000 people died. Today, the Jewish community in Lviv tries to preserve and, if possible, restore its historical heritage, which can be regarded as an integral part of the history of the royal city.
Getting acquainted with Jewish Lviv would not be complete without Jewish cuisine. Therefore, we will end our tour at Café-Bar Jerusalem where you will be able not only to taste authentic Jewish dishes, but, if you wish, try to prepare them together with the cook