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Latin Cathedral, Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv’s Archcathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, more famous as Latin cathedral, is one of the two churches in Lviv that wasn’t closed during the Soviet rule.

The cathedral is located on the Market square, which is the heart of Lviv’s Old Town. The Cathedral was founded more than 6 centuries ago, in 1360, on the place of a small Roman catholic church, which was destroyed by fire. The construction of the building lasted for more than a century and was completed in 1479. The founder of the church was Polish king Casimir III. The author of building’s architectural design was Peter Stecher. According to his initial plan the building was supposed to have two towers, but even after 120 years of construction the cathedral was not built conclusively, as far as it has only one tower. As a result, the building has asymmetrical look.

The cathedral is made of stone. From outside it has cream color with dark windows and dark green roofs. Though the building is not very impressive from short distance, it looks incredible from the roofs of neighboring buildings. The length of the building is 67 meters, while width is 23 meters. The main body of the building has cubical form, but because of the numerous chapels the building has asymmetrical and more complex shape.

As almost every other old church in Lviv Latin cathedral was renovated for several times. Initially it was created in Gothic architectural style, and despite the numerous renovations and addition of elements from Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism, the building has retained its initial Gothic features. If any of the churches in Lviv deserves the title “Gothic church”, it is definitely Latin Cathedral.

This spectacular building, without any doubt, also deserves the title of Lviv’s heart. For centuries it was the place where the war trophies were kept, from where the decrees of the Polish king were proclaimed. The Cathedral bears the imprint of the most significant historical events of the past 6 centuries. For example, the renaissance elements within cathedral were added because the cathedral needed renovation, because in 1527 the fire destroyed the city almost completely. The bullets on the East wall of the Cathedral are reminding about the Turkish siege of 1672, while the whizzbang reminds about the Ukrainian-Polish war of 1918-19.

The cathedral contains numerous wooden and marble altars, icons and sculptures. In 1839, especially for the cathedral, a musical organ was made, which is still played during the ceremonies. The windows of the building are decorated with modern stained glass, made in the beginning of the previous century. The cathedral has several chapels. Most impressive one is the Renaissance style chapel of the Kampian family dating back to the 17th century. It is decorated with marvelous stone carvings representing different themes from the Gospel.

This amazing church has been granted the honorable title of Minor Basilica in 1910. It is the main church of Roman Catholics of Lviv.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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