Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv: hear the voice of the fallen

Marusia Bilous | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Do not be surprised if someone in Lviv proposes you walk to a cemetery. This is a usual thing for the citizens. Such an unexpected journey is easy to explain because here, in Lviv, is situated one of the most famous cemeteries in Ukraine – the Lychakiv Cemetery. Here, you can see the history of Ukrainian culture. This cemetery is the last resting place of many clerics, writers, composers and actors, famous singers, doctors and artists, architects, people who left an incredible legacy that extended their lives forever. Therefore, I propose that you not be scared and listen to the voice of the fallen to enjoy the beauty, majesty and incredible history that conceals the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv.

Photo © credits: iStock/Prabuddharay

The history of the cemetery

The State Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve "Lychakivskyi Cemetery" was founded in 1786. From the first years of its existence, famous figures of culture, art, science, as well as the administrative elite of the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria were buried here. The oldest tombstone on the cemetery dates back to the distant 1675. Today, the Lychakiv Cemetery is a kind of museum of tombstone sculptures and open-air architecture. It occupies a graveyard of 42 hectares. On its territory, there are burials of more than 400 000 people. People who made a significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian culture and science are buried at this cemetery, as well as the heroes of the present - people who perished during the Revolution of Dignity and at the front of the war in Donbas. 

Photo © credits: iStock/palinchakjr1

Famous personalities buried at the Lychakiv Cemetery

If you are a true connoisseur of sculptures, this place will surprise you with a phenomenally large number of artworks. The atmosphere of peace and calm of the Lychakiv Cemetery will not frighten you, but on the contrary, it will give you a sense of appeasement and make you think about sacred things. Almost every ancient sculpture in the cemetery has a plot with some deep meaning in itself. The gravestones show the crafts that people worked on during their lives, or even tell the whole story of a certain person's life. Everyone who comes to the Lychakiv Cemetery needs to visit the grave of a genius Ukrainian writer, publicist and scientist - Ivan Franko. The monument depicts Franko in the form of one of the most famous literary symbols of the poet - a bricklayer who breaks the Great Rock. The monument appeared on May 28, 1933.

Photo © credits: iStock/alexmak72427

The most famous Ukrainian opera singer, Solomiya Krushelnytska, is buried here. Throughout her life, she has been recognized as the most reputable opera singer in the world. At the tomb of Krushelnytska stands a young Orpheus with a harp in his hand - a symbol of music, which she devoted all her life to. Other prominent people buried in this cemetery are - Viktor Chukarin, an athlete-gymnast, an absolute champion of the world and two Olympic games; Stanislav Lyudkevich and Mykola Kolessa - prominent and legendary composers; Volodymyr Ivasyuk - a legendary composer and poet. It should also be mentioned that many Polish soldiers are buried in the cemetery, and every day a large number of visitors from Poland comes to this cemetery.

Photo © credits: iStock/yurii_zym

Doesn’t matter how strange it sounds, but exploring the Lychakiv Cemetery is not a terrible experience. The only period when the cemetery is filled with an atmosphere of anxiety and fear is during the autumn rains. There are the trees without leaves between the tombs, the winds are wandering, and the cemetery is full of crows. Otherwise, for the rest of the year, I would suggest you not to be afraid and certainly visit the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv to hear the voice of the fallen and understand their stories.

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