Vul. Krakivska, 09 – former Kolomyiska townhouse

ID: 2048

The townhouse number 9, as the whole Krakivska street, is notable for its old and interesting past. From the mid-17th century this townhouse has been known as Kolomyiska. In the 18th century it was owned by Stefan Vyshynskyi, a Ukrainian painter, and in the 19th century a hotel called "Victoria" with "rooms for lechery" was arranged there, as well as a restaurant or wine tavern named "Under the Three Moors." The townhouse is unique due to its frescoes, preserved on the walls and ceiling. According to the Lviv Region Executive Committee's resolution number 44 dated 28 January 1986, the building was included in the local register of monuments (protection number 619).

Now the building is used as a residential townhouse; from 2006 its ground floor premises are occupied by a café and confectionery called "Freska" where restored wall paintings from the 18th-19th centuries can be seen.


2nd part of the 16th c. — a Renaissance townhouse was built on the site of previous buildings which were burned.
1712 — the townhouse was reconstructed by Fabian Kolomyiskyi after a fire.
Mid-19th c. — the townhouse was reconstructed and adapted for a hotel
1890 — the townhouse was reconstructed under a project designed by architect Alfred Kamienobrodzki
1909 — a mezzanine was added to the building's front part under a project designed by Henryk Müller.
1912 — former toilets were adapted for housing while warehouses were arranged in the ground floor premises.
1936 — stone trimmings of window openings, which had been lost, were restored under a project designed by architect Ignacy Wilkoń.
1938 — the building's façade was painted.
1940s — the building was reconstructed under a project designed by Leontiev.
1986 — the paintings were studied; a fragment of the gate's ceiling was uncovered and conserved (artist restorer Nina Prysiazhna).
2006 — the ground floor premises were adapted for the café and confectionery "Freska"; murals were uncovered and restored.

In old times Krakivska street was called Tartar (Tartharorum platea) and led to the Tartar gate, associated with the Tartar community which lived there after the Magdeburg Rights were granted to the city. Historian Ivan Krypiakevych mentions even a mosque where Lviv Muslims prayed. Soon, however, the community declined and lost its position. From 1441 the street was called Krakivska borrowing its name from the road leading to Krakow. At its end, the Krakivska gate stood as a part of the city's northern fortifications. It was then that the street was built by Gothic-style townhouses. Like the whole Gothic Lviv, these houses were destroyed by the great fire of 1527. On Krakivska street Lviv artisans of different professions lived, including painters Martynus and Hanus, as well as some patrician families, in particular, a well-known family of Ubaldini.

The first record of the townhouse number 9 comes from Lviv's oldest surviving town book dated 1382; however, nothing is known about the appearance of the building. Rebuilt after the great Lviv fire, the building was destroyed by a local fire in 1564. A new, Renaissance townhouse was built in its place, whose structure has been preserved till today. From the mid-17th century the townhouse was known as Kolomyiska, from the family of Kolomyiskyi, who owned it for over 100 years. Fabian Kolomyiskyi rebuilt it "after being burnt by fire in 1712" which was recorded on a miraculously preserved wooden bearing ceiling beam: "Post conflagratam igne lapideam in anno 1712." Perhaps then it was given some Baroque features. In the late 18th century the townhouse belonged to Stefan Vyshynskyi (Wyszyński), a Ukrainian painter.

In the 19th century the townhouse was turned into a hotel called "Victoria" and designed for very refined public. It was then that most thorough repairs and reconstructions were made. The hotel owners changed repeatedly, making their larger or smaller adjustments to the building's design. One of them is known due to an inscription reading "Założony 1847" (Founded in 1847) carved on the Empire-style woodwork of internal entrances leading to the courtyard and to the stairs. After this reconstruction the townhouse acquired some features of the Empire style. Perhaps it was then that the typical vaulted ceiling of the gate and a beamed ceiling in the parlour were replaced by flat ceilings and a staircase with a skylight overhead was arranged. The walls and ceilings of the rooms were covered with paintings. In 1886 the townhouse was bought from Maria Kerschbaum by an Austrian named Ludwig Stadtmüller. In 1890 he modernized the hotel, carrying out a reconstruction under a project designed by Alfred Kamienobrodzki, a Lviv architect and builder. It was then that bathrooms were arranged and the fourth floor was built from the rear. Paintings were restored and new ones were made in the added part. The hotel "Victoria" was notable for the fact that it had "rooms for lechery;" the ground floor premises were occupied by a restaurant and wine tavern named "Under the Three Moors" which was rented by Władysław Stepaniuk. In 1909 Stadtmüller had a mezzanine added over the front part of the building under a project designed by Henryk Müller. And in 1912 he sold his property along with the restaurant to Solomon Friedmann.

Friedmann, a Jew, made a quick fortune. Neglecting basic moral principles, eager to make more money, he settled the hotel staff, consisting of Christians, in premises adapted from former toilets. And to drive the restaurant out of the ground floor premises and use them for commerce, he cut off the electricity and gas. From 1924 the building was co-owned by Max Mehr. At that time, all ground floor premises were occupied by shops belonging to three local trading companies, those owned by Bojko, Weiz, and Wolmann. Their products were advertised on signs and in a kind of lockers attached to the main façade. The Magistrate's monument protection service demanded to remove these advertisements, which did not correspond to the building's monument status. Solomon Friedman expressed his opinion about the house, as if realizing that its "reality is old, it has various murals on the walls, and is entered in the archive of the Royal Capital City of Lviv by the Grono Konserwatorskie of Eastern Galicia", but noted that "the advertising placement was allowed by the Magistrate itself." The case of the signs was settled in 1934, when the heirs, Frederika Mehr and Berta Friedman finally took them off and paid a large fine; in 1936, under a project designed by architect Ignacy Wilkoń, stone trimmings of the window openings, which had been lost, were restored. In 1938 the owners, Berta Friedman and Gizela Jupiter, in accordance with the requirements of the monument protection service, had to restore the townhouse's façade. However, the work ended up with painting it. A request to place back the three moors figures, which had once been on the façade, the owners could not honor as they did not find a sculptor who would recreate one of the sculptures, which had been stolen.

The hotel "Victoria" functioned till the occupation of Galicia by the Bolsheviks in 1939. In October of that year a polling station was arranged in the townhouse. The exquisite monument's walls were savagely covered with slogans and appeals, which could be seen in the staircase until recently and also indicated a certain stage in the history of the city.

In Soviet times the townhouse was made residential. It was reconstructed under a project designed by Leontiev: all premises were rearranged for communal flats, concrete ceilings were constructed and paintings were plastered and whitewashed. A shop was arranged in the ground floor premises.

Paintings, covering the walls at all tiers, were found by restorers Kost Prysiazhnyi, Liubart Lishchynskyi, and Myroslava Mayorchuk during some research in 1986. However, then it was possible to uncover and conserve  only one piece on the gate's ceiling. This work was carried out by Nina Prysiazhna. In 2006, during the adaptation of the ground floor for the café and confectionery "Freska," restorers Viktor Hanuliak and Liuba Odrekhivska uncovered and restored some fragments of individual subject and ornamental paintings.


The Kolomyiska townhouse is located in the central part of the city, on a street going from the north-west corner of the Rynok square. The Renaissance townhouse has preserved a structure typical of the medieval city: it has three tracts (a front part, stairs, and a rear part), two parts, and a wing. The stone and brick three-storied townhouse is rectangular in plan and is covered with a gable roof having a skylight.

The composition of the house's main façade has three axes, with an entrance on the far left axis. The plasticity is made more distinctive due to some order elements: pilasters with Corinthian capitals, magnificent architectural décor in the form of window trimmings with acroterions and figured pediments, garlands and a developed cornice on modillions with women's heads. Grape clusters on the pilaster bases emphasize the original purpose of the ground floor premises, where a restaurant and wine tavern called  "Under the Three Moors" was located. The large shop-window openings are decorated with profiled white stone portals.

The townhouse can be entered through a gate with an Empire-style 19th-century door, which attracts one's attention by stylistic paintings suddenly unfolding on the walls and on the ceiling. From the gate, there is an entrance leading to the café and to a broad staircase of the former hotel. The gate's illusory painting imitates an architectural design, transferring the plasticity of the exterior to the interior. Saturated and  well-tuned colors create an illusion of a ceiling in the form of a yellow-gold coffer, whose blue background is filled with the white interlacement of a floral ornament. Rosettes and volutes, connected by green garlands against the ochreous-red background, form an exquisite décor of the ceiling. The walls of the gate, covered with floral ornaments against the warm green background, are completed with wide friezes covered with subject drawings which are emphasized by magnificent cornices and curved meander (a running wave). In two elongated cartouches, crowned with acroterions (decorative spires), there are subject multi-figured compositions whose main characters are putti (angels-children with or without wings). Monochrome images of child figures with ancient amphorae, glasses and grape clusters are emphasized by an ultramarine background. The planes between the cartouches are filled with Greek masks and tools and are twined with vines.

In the main hall one can see fragments of the uncovered paintings on the ceiling. Their main characters are also putti. However, these paintings are notable for their polychromy. Winged children are depicted in clouds with great bottles and with a glass. Inscriptions underneath reading "Champagnet" and "Tokaj" proudly testify of elite wines which were served here. An elegant seascape in the style of Dutch painting on the fireplace room's ceiling symbolizes the overseas contacts of the owner.

These skilful and extremely sophisticated drawings made more expressive the place's destination. Entering here, one forgets the real world and returns to the carefree childhood, where there are only fun and joy. In vino veritas, a well-known Latin expression says.

Now the townhouse's ground floor is occupied by a café and confectionery "Freska", which tries to continue the best traditions of famous Lviv confectioneries, in particular, "Fortuna Nova", which was famous throughout Europe, as well as the former cafés "Kolumbina", "Capri", "Palermo", "Videnska".


Bojko — owner of a trade firm who rented premises in the townhouse for storage
Weiz — owner of a trade firm who rented premises in the townhouse for storage
Stefan Vyshynkyi (Wyszyński)— Ukrainian house painter who owned the Kolomyiska townhouse in late 18th century
Ignacy Vilkon — architect; according to his 1936 design the lost stone window trimmings were returned
Wolmann — owner of a trade firm who rented premises in the townhouse for storage
Viktor Hanuliak — restorer who worked on the restoration of murals in 2006
Hanus — house painter who lived on vul. Krakivska in 16th century
Alfred Kamenobrodski — Lviv architect and constructor who in 1890 designed a project of the hotel's reconstruction
Maria Kerschbaun — owner of the Kolomyiska townhouse in 19th century
Fabian Kolomyiskyi — owner of the townhouse, he initiated reconstruction after the building had been burned down in 1712
Kolomyiski — famous patrician family from Lviv who owned the building for over a hundred years – starting from mid 17th century
IvanKrypiakevych — historian.
Leontiev — architect who designed a reconstruction project during Soviet period
Liubart Lishchynskyi — famous restorer from Lviv who researched the building in 1986
Myroslava Mayorchuk — restorer who studied the building's murals in 1986
Martynus — house painter who lived on vul. Krakivska in 16th century
Maks Mehr — co-owner of the building from 1924
Friderika Mehr — she inherited the building
Henryk Müller — architect; according to his design a mezzanine was constructed above the front part of the building in 1909
Liuba Odrekhivska — restorer, she did the restoration of the murals in 2006
Nina Prysiazhna — restorer, she did the restoration of the murals in 1986
Kost (Kostiantyn) Prysiazhnyi — famous architect and restorer who studied the building in 1986
Vladyslav/Władysław Stepaniuk — rented the "Under the Three Moors" restaurant
Ubaldini — famous patrician family in Lviv who lived on vul. Krakivska in 16th century
Berta Friedmann — she inherited the building
Solomon Friedmann — owner of the building and of the "Victoria" restaurant from 1912
Ludwig Stadtmüller — owner of the building from 1886, who initiated the reconstruction works in 1890s 
Gizela Yupiter — she inherited the building.


  1. Ukrzakhidproektrestavratsia Institute's Archive, item Л-46/6.
  2. State Archive of Lviv Oblast (DALO), item 2/1/5575
  3. Central State Historic Archives of Ukraine in Lviv (CDIAL), item 186/8/829
  4. Борис Мельник, Вулицями старого Львова (Львів: Світ, 2002), 123-124.
  5. Володимир Вуйцик, "Будівельний рух у Львові", Записки НТШ, 2001, Т. CCXLI. Праці комісії архітектури та містобудівництва.
  6. Володимир Вуйцик, Державний історико-архітектурний заповідник (Львів: Каменяр, 1991), 40.
  7. Денис Зубрицький, Хроніка міста Львова (Львів: Центр Європи, 2006), 138, 239.
  8. Іван Крип’якевич, Львівська Русь першої половини XVI ст. (Львів).
  9. Мирон Капраль, Національні громади Львова XVI–XVIII ст. (Львів, 2003).
  10. Памятники градостроительства и архитектуры Украинской ССР, Т. 3 (Киев: Будівельник, 1985), 40.
  11. Путівник по Львову (Львів: Центр Європи, 1999).
  12. Роман Могитич, "Ліктьовий податок 1767 року", Вісник і-ту Укрзахідпроектреставрація, 2009, Ч. 19.
By Oksana Boyko
Edited by Ihor Zhuk
By Oksana Boyko
Edited by Ihor Zhuk