I used to live in Lviv for 5 years, and I’ve been living in Berlin for 1,5 years. It’s long enough to explore the beauty of both cities and fall in love with modern architecture. This article is a subjective mix of the most fascinating buildings I recommend staring at.
Let me give you some context. The end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century is called the Belle Époque (Beautiful Epoch). It was a period of peace, prosperity, and innovations. European architecture before the outbreak of the First World War had two primary directions:
I used to hate Baroque. I always associated it with the corrupt politicians’ perverted taste and fussy villas with overwhelming golden decoration. Recently, I tried to understand Baroque again, and it turned out to be an eye-opening experience. Oh, how wrong I used to be…
Baroque flourished in the 17–18th centuries. It emerged owing to Catholic Church and served as its “brand identity.” Striving to compete with Protestantism, Catholics employed emotion in architecture to better appeal to a broader audience. Baroque was the first European style to spread globally (unlike its predecessors: Romanesque, Gothic, or Renaissance).
Tourists admire Lviv as a whole but rarely understand the value of each piece. Besides, half of the oldest buildings are located outside of the crowded center and don’t get the attention they deserve. So, I’ll give the floor to overlooked sites as well as a few popular ones. Plus, I drew schemes to help you recognize the architectural styles of the past.
13th century — High Middle Ages in Europe. A time of the Fourth Crusade and the rise of the Mongol Empire led by Genghis Khan. The largest country in Eastern Europe was Kyivan Rus, an ancestor of…
Cherkasy, the center-most city of Ukraine, was founded in the 13th century and had a wooden castle, but now the oldest surviving buildings date back to only the 1850s. Locals don’t perceive Cherkasy as a nice destination, but I’ll show you plenty of sites worth gazing at.
The city’s most valuable buildings are credited to the talent of Władysław Horodecki (1863–1930), an architect of Polish origin, often called “Ukrainian Gaudi.” He contributed greatly to the architecture of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and designed several buildings in Cherkasy.
Our first stop is the hotel “Slovianskyi,” colloquially known as the “Blue Palace.” It…
I’ve been to Uzhhorod just once before this trip, and it didn’t impress me, but the night setting can change everything. How did we get there so late? Well, it was a conscious yet a bit crazy decision. My fiancée, Oksanka, and I — both wild about exploring new places — wanted to order wedding rings from a Ukrainian jeweler based in Uzhhorod. So, we booked a ride via BlaBlaCar and departed after midnight from Lviv.
We wanted “a real adventure” and didn’t plan to stay at the hotel. This was our plan: departure from Lviv at 1 a.m.; around…
Vintage industrial facilities always stand out from a modern cityscape: textured brick walls, slim tubes, themed sculptures, coats of arms, arched windows. So, this summer, I was exploring non-touristic parts of Berlin in pursuit of overlooked industrial beauty.
Westhafen, the biggest river port in the city, has been attracting my attention since my first visit to Berlin. One can hardly overlook this huge industrial area with massive tanks, colorful piles of containers, and cranes.
Elevated tanks had served as water storages since ancient times, but spread worldwide only in the 19th century when pipe technology became more robust. The beauty of a tower is that it supplies water when you cannot rely on pumps, for example, during an electricity outage. Thank god for the gravity! Many old towers are protected historic sites and even repurposed as libraries, apartments, or offices.
Berlin has 2500 parks, but tourists and locals often limit themselves to the most popular ones like Tiergarten or Charlottenburg. I don’t know about you, folks, but I got bored after two-three visits and decided to search for something new — and found Pfaueninsel.
This journey started on the upper floor of an empty double-decker #218 coursing from the station Wannsee to Pfaueninsel ferry. My traditionally early wake-up was worth it more than usual: I caught the first trip of the bus. Just imagine the first-person view and passing-by joggers and cyclists waving hello to me and the driver.
Last week I decided to visit another former village, Tegel. Before going to bed, I checked the sunrize time. Google showed 04:48. Well, I set the alarm for four in the morning, hoping to defeat the laziness of waking up so early. As you might have guessed, it somehow worked out.
I jumped out of the metro station and headed to Tegel Lake; the bank was completely empty. Greenwich Promenade is always crowded, especially on weekends. Adults drink beer and children feed ducks and swans, although it’s prohibited, and there are warning tables every 10 meters.
What is the most beautiful metro in the world? Many people immediately name majestic Stockholm underground. My Ukrainian friends, of course, suggest Kyiv — its pompous socialist modernist stations feature folk motifs and impressive vestibules. But Berlin doesn’t top such ratings. I’ll try to prove otherwise with a collection of stations selected either for their design or photo opportunities.
And one more thing: I dared to give nicknames to the stations and hope they’ll make you smile. Feel free to write in the comments below which station (or nickname) you enjoyed the most.
S41, S42, S46 Beusselstraße. …
Stories by Slava Shestopalov about architecture, design, history. Many photos. No touristic clichés.