Two cities of Ukraine – Part 1: Holding our breath for Lviv – David Brussat

by David Brussat, Architecture Here and There – contributing writer

Lviv’s beautiful architecture.

My friend and former colleague on the Providence Journal editorial board, David Mittell, once wrote me a guest post called “Why I love Lviv,” a city he has visited dozens of times and hopes to visit again, even though he is laid up in a sort of convalescent home. “Lviv in Ukraine is the least-known most beautiful city in Europe, maybe in the world.” Looking at some pictures online of Lviv – including the one above – I am sure he is correct.

For now, Russian forces invading Ukraine have not attacked Lviv as they have the capital, Kyiv, and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Lviv seems to have more lovely buildings than Kyiv and Kharkiv. The capital is a mixture of the old and the new, the latter probably built mostly during the decades of Soviet occupation that ended in 1991. Kharkiv appears – again, from online images – to be predominantly in the blockish, stultifying Soviet style.

At some point and in some degree, those two cities will be rebuilt after the vile Russian attack ends, as may end up the case also with Lviv, whether Vladimir Putin manages to defeat the Ukrainians or not. News reports and commentary offer some hope that Ukraine’s brave military and civilian resistance has slowed the Russian assault and may already have degraded the likelihood of the criminal Putin’s accomplishing his war aims. We are all rooting not for Vlad the Impaler but for brave President Zelensky.

Having never been to Ukraine, or even to my knowledge spoken to a Ukrainian, I nevertheless feel that the idea of independence must be uppermost in the minds of Ukrainians’ resistance, family and friends aside. And yet I also believe that the beauty of Ukraine, and especially of its cities, girds the courage of its soldiers and citizens in the defense of their independence and sovereignty. It is surely easier to rise to the defense of a beautiful homeland. Here are some images to show some of the beauty that Ukrainians are defending.

The photos below are of Lviv, and I apologize for not recording the source information. They are mainly from tourist websites.

Tomorrow, in part two, we’ll look at the beauty of the capital city of Ukraine – Kyiv.


To read other articles by David Brussat:

David Brussat

My freelance writing and editing on architecture and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call (401) 351-0457