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Church of Saint Olha and Elizabeth, Lviv, Ukraine

Each building has its unique history and very often these histories are quite lamentable. History of the church of St. Olha and Elizabeth in Lviv (initially Saint Elisabeth church) is full of tragic pages. The church was built from 1903 to 1911 in the memory of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who was tragically assassinated in 1898. Only few years after the completion of the building during the World War I its bells were confiscated and remelted for the needs of Austro-Hungarian army. After few years the building was damaged because of the Polish-Ukrainian war. During the Second World War the walls and steeples of the building were badly damaged. In 1946 the church was closed and later in 70s turned into a depot by Soviet government. Only in 1991, after 80 years of difficulties and tragedies, the building was officially opened for the second time and reilluminated into the church of St. Olha and Elizabeth. Today the church is under the control of Ukrainian Greek Catholic church. In spite of numerous tragic pages of its history, even today this church pleases visitors with its austere beauty.

The church was built according to the design of architect Theodore Talevski. The building was built according to the traditions of neo-Gothic architecture. The height of the building is 85 meters. Keeping the traditions of neo-gothic architecture, Talevski created a building with high sharp steeples, ogived windows and a two-level semi-circular apse. Outside, the building has dark color with white stone garnish round the main elements.

The main facade of the building is decorated with sculpture of Petro Voytovich, named "The Crucifixion with John and Mary". Interior of the building is simple or even austere - white walls, shiny floor made of stone, almost complete absence of internal decorations. Special attention attracts the huge musical organ, made by famous brothers Bernacky.

The church is situated on the Kropyvnyts'koho square. Location of the church was not chosen accidentally. According to the original plan each visitor after going out of the train station in Lviv, was supposed to see the church first. Even today despite all misfortunes of the past century, fortunately, the church is still welcoming tourists, arriving to the city by train.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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