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House of Scientists, Lviv, Ukraine

One of the most famous buildings in Lviv is so-called House of Scientists (Будинок вчених). The building belongs to Lviv’s Regional Union of Education and Science in Ukraine. It is located on the Listopadovogo Chin Street and hosts annual Lviv balls, conferences and seminars, and also serves as a scene for movie shooting. However, this building has not always served for such “innocent” purposes.

The building was built in 1897- 1898 according to design of the famous Austrian architects and authors of the Opera House in Odessa Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner. Originally it was intended to host a noble casino and also, according to several sources, served as a brothel. Initial name of the building was Casino Gerhard. This name is still quite common among the residents of Lviv.

The building is built in neo-baroque style. From the street side the place attracts attention thanks to its massive wooden doors and two statues of Atlases, holding the second floor balcony. Unusual decoration of the facade resembles numerous small phalluses, which, according to the residents of the city, were designed to remind about large number of the brothel’s visitors.

Central entrance of the building leads to a very beautiful carriage courtyard. The building's interior is surprisingly beautiful and rich. One of the most beautiful places is the carved oak staircase, which was filmed in the one of the scenes of "The Three Musketeers" movie. The ceiling above the staircase has a circular glass roof, through which the staircase is naturally lit. The building has several richly decorated halls with antique furniture, moldings, silk wallpapers and hanging chandeliers. There is also a beautiful library which is richly decorated with wooden furniture.

Over the past century, the place has served as a brothel, casino, a departure place for the prisoners to the Nazi camps, campaign headquarter, and so on, but in spite of all these functional and operational changes, the building is well preserved with all original decorations both from inside and outside.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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