Small towns. Lviv region

December 31, 2022
December 31, 2022
— I've been saving up for a vacation in Egypt all year, but I've never been to Biryuchy Island. I live in Kharkiv, but I don't know what Sharovka is. Have been in Kyiv for six years, but never visited Sofiyivsky Park in Uman, which is not so far away by car.

This is a typical situation in Ukraine. We travel very little. If you travel a lot in the country, you are most likely a sociologist/urbanist or a cultural scientist/ethnographer (from your own observations). Every suburb has something to see. But why do Ukrainians rarely choose travel as a weekend activity? We have several assumptions. Of course, we are not talking about wartime, because now most Ukrainians have other problems. And traveling took on other meanings related to survival and volunteering. But the war will end, and these events will make Ukrainians more interested in their history and homeland. We plan to independently check all our "whys" by making several one-day expeditions to unfamiliar small towns of the Lviv Region. Well, let's go!


Around nine o'clock in the morning, the city of Stryi just wakes up. Single wandering people, with dozens of cars and buses, only near the bazaar usually slow down. The streets smell of bread and coffee "from stryiko" ("uncle's" in free translation). Morning masses can be heard from the churches.

The city has a pleasant measured atmosphere. The air is clean, but with the aromas and music of big cities. Sitting on the 3rd floor of a cafe with panoramic windows on Shevchenko Street, we had the impression that we were in Kyiv's Podil area. On the quiet and architecturally attractive street of Solomiya Krushelnytska, it seemed as if we were in the city of Frankivsk. The boarded-up windows of the estates behind Rynok Square reminded us of the depressed quarters of Katowice.

Stryi seems to be made up of quotes. We only got to know him in one day. But they couldn't feel of its identity — we need more time.

So we have new questions for reflection. What indicates the identity of the city? Should we demand something unique from each settlement? Do you need to invent a wow factor to mark the territory? Who is more important: people or buildings? Maybe it's enough for a small town to be just ordinary? Simply convenient, simply affordable...


The invisible spirit of a resort town hovers over small Skole in the Lviv region.

Invisible — because you don't see it with your eyes, but rather with a light nudge in the back. Because he hides between the lines about the heroic past. Because you have to find out how to relax here personally.

Obviously, this year it is extremely difficult to rest everywhere, but a state of unprecedented ease appears as soon as you jump off the regular bus. The tall coniferous trees evoked Tanya's childhood memories of Sevastopol parks, and the wooden church — of Shevchenkivskyi Hai in Lviv (it is also known as the Lviv Skansen). Something worked here, like clip-on thinking: the sun, warmth, narrow streets, trees, 1-2-story buildings, an ice cream stand, mineral water — fleeting observations as we go to the beach for a swim. The measured behavior of the people, their positive attitude towards the visitors, even the assortment of the store with embroidery tell us that there are tourists in this city.

We were attracted by the opportunity to use the walking routes of the "Skolivski Beskydy" National Park, the entrance to which begins from the bridge over the river Opir ("Resistance"). That's where we headed, to the recreational embankment area of the Spivoche Pole ("Singing Field"), after having morning coffee at the Domino pizzeria. And only the September mountain flash became an associate for us on our journey...


"Benefit, strength and beauty" is a famous triad of components outlined by the Roman architect Vitruvius, on which twenty centuries of architecture are based. Any architectural detail in the city can be characterized by such parameters. A bench, a lantern, a fence, a garbage can — everything has a function and must be strong enough to last as long as possible. And what about beauty? How important is beauty for a garbage can, for example, and at what pace is modern design starting to appear in Ukrainian cities? We paid attention to such details in Slavsko, because in small Ukrainian towns, according to our observations, it is rare to find good design on the streets. Why?

We believe that design is always superimposed on the functional skeleton of the form. The basis for the city is the high-quality pavement of pedestrian and highways, well-kept architectural foundation, lively vibration of public spaces, unity with the natural environment. Modern design has appeared in Slavsko, and this is a good sign of the development of public space. Bridges made of the latest materials, lanterns of unusual shapes in parks, design plates and signposts, even in flower beds you can see constant trends in planting plants (predominantly not annual, but perennial grasses).

People abroad are willing to pay for a good design, especially for a high-quality and unobtrusive design that guarantees functioning for decades. One of the examples of good design in Slavsko is the facade wooden scaffolding of the second floors of buildings and the use of natural components in the organization of space. But, to be fair, we note that we are in the midst of the town's economic transformation, when big money has already gone into the local resort component, but urbanism has just begun its reconstruction.


A trip to Boryslav is less about modern urbanism or architecture, more about the history and consequences of industry in the city.

In the process of communicating with the guides, we realized that the very phrase "Lost Boryslav" used here is interesting. What kind of loss are we talking about in tourist excursions?

Less than a hundred years ago, salt, oil and ozokerite were of great value to the region. The land on which the city is now built was used for the extraction of resources, wealth and fame. When they talk about loss, they talk about the fact that the resources are exhausted, they no longer give the volumes they used to. The city lost its importance in the economy and industry market.

If you look at old photos from the oil fields, the city had a terrible appearance: cut forests, huts and towers. It is difficult for people who are now fighting for the right to clean air and space for cyclists to imagine what the stench of oil and the mess of constant fires was like. Mud instead of asphalt roads, oil swamps instead of lakes with swans.

Until now, we can observe many signs of oil and gas production right on the streets: cranes in operation (about 750 of them) are still standing in the park or in someone's yard, pipes sticking out on the side of the roads, each under its own number, a light smell of oil that can be to feel walking down the street.

Authors: Mistograf / 2022

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