Vul. Levytskoho, 23 – residential building

ID: 1281

Built in 1888 by Władysław Godowski as a private villa, the building is associated with the Mennonite religious community, who owned it in 1911-1939. Architecturally, it is an example of the early introduction of Secessionist motives into Lviv's architecture.


The house no. 23 is located withing a block of buildings of various years of construction. It stands out among the surrounding houses, as it is set back from the sidewalk making hence a garden before its façade. Also, there is some free space between this and the neighboring building no. 25.

The house was erected at the time when there was a river along the street. This stream called Pasika, was a right tributary to the river Poltva. Its water supply came from a source called Prybylo in Pohulianka via wooden pipes. Therefore, the street which originated along Pasika's riverbed, was originally called "Na Rurach" (Ger. Röhren Gasse), as early as the 17th century, meaning Pipe street. In 1885, it was renamed into Jan Kochanowski street (a Polish poet), and in 1941-1944, it was called Breitegasse (wide street) during Nazi occupation. From 1950 till 1992, it bore the name of Vladimir Mayakovski, the Soviet poet. Its present name is after Kost Levytskyi (1859-1941), a Ukrainian politician and public figure, a longtime Galician Diet and Reichsrat member, the first Prime Minister of the ZUNR. He also owned a house (no. 34) on this street in the late 19th – early 20th century.

In the early 19th century, there were two larger plots here (conscription no. 366 4/4 and 367 4/4) with two separate owners. Later, they were further divided into yet smaller ones. First brick houses appeared here in middle of the century. One of the plots here was owned by Josef Svoboda, a well-known artist of Czech origin. Later in the century, his real estate got divided in two (now buildings no. 21-21a and 23 stand on them). Apart from Svoboda, archival sources mention also Bronisław Mrażek, Marya Halper, née Kaniewska, Marya Wiksel, née Goldhaber, Zofia Reiss, née Wisl, and others as real estate owners.

In 1887 Władysław Godowski, an architect and builder acquired a plot here. At the time he resided at ul. Długosza, 33 (present-day Kyryla i Mefodiya). He purchased part of the plot no. 616 4/4 from Józef and Stefania Maciulski (sale contract of 6 October 1887). Next year, he designed and built a two-storied house here. According to the current building code at the time, a regulation line was established here. Godowski perimetered the real estate with a brick and metal fence and constructed a wooden bridge over the Pasika. The plot was conscripted as no. 657 4/4 ("orientational" no. 7a).

In 1896 Karol and Helena Gruby purchased this house from Godowski. They commissioned Michał Kowalczuk, an architect, to move the entrance gate and arrange a wicket in the fence, as "the existing one was not convient as it opened directly on the house's stairs." In January 1897 the owners sought to enlarge their plot by adding a part of the "road parcel." They appealed to the Magistrate with a request. In 1901 they undertook to cover the cost of connecting their real estate (a townhouse consisting of two apartments, two toilets and two kitchens) to the city water mains. The works were carried out by Władysław Niemeksza, an installation engineer.

In 1904, Polish St. Hubert Hunters' Association rented rooms in the Grubys' house. In the same year, Magistrate punished the owner for illegally constructing a wooden shed for a power generator (10 crown fine and one day of arrest). The shed was dismantled subsequently in early 1905 after Karol Gruby died, having left an underage son Jakób-Jan.

In 1911, Mennonite community "Kiernica-Lwów" bought this house. They arranged a hall for divine service here, an office space and apartment for the pastor, as well as a dormitory for Mennonite students. According to address books in 1913, the Jan Müller, a real estate owner, Aleksander Müller, a financial institution employee, and Henryk Pauls, a Mennonite pastor resided here. In 1923 the community was granted permission to add a floor. The subsequent reconstruction was completed in the summer of 1925. Four rooms, two toilets, and a bathroom as well as a storage room were arranged . According to the inventory, apartments made up the first floor of the house; a large prayer hall was located on the second.

Due to the river proximity, the building  had been damp for years, as testify some of the tenants' complaints, e.g. in 1936.

Since 1939, the Soviets' advent to power, the townhouse was nationalized and adapted for housing. In the 2010s, the window woodwork was partially replaced with plastic; the wooden porch in the back of the townhouse was walled up. In 2016 the townhouse was bought by deputies of the Lviv city council to adapt it for a hotel. In 2017 it was entered in the Register of Cultural Heritage of Ukraine as an architectural monument of local significance.

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The three-storied house with cellars is a brick and plaster building. Its spatial structure is formed of two blocks of equal height, covered with a gable tin roof: a staircase, shifted by one window axis, is adjacent to a large rectangular block from the east. The building has three façades: a representative south one, a modest side east one and an ascetic rear one.

In the main façade design, two construction periods can be clearly seem, i.e. the original two-storied townhouse (1888) in historicist style with neobaroque and early secession decorative elements. The wall has banded rustication. The third floor (1925) is notable for its ascetic smooth walls and decorated only with window trimmings. The façade haseight segmental windows; the central four-axis part is accentuated by a wall, while the lateral parts have two axes each; the recessed extreme entrance part has one axis with rectangular windows. The front façade is crowned with a cornice, the lateral and rear façades are topped by wooden carved overhangs, brackets of the gable roof. The basement and ground floor are accentuated by cornices. The basement is made of crude white stone blocks, basement vents have segmental lintels and stylish metal doors. Windows were generously decorated with cast elements: classic (rosettes, egg-and-dart belts), consoles under windows, décor on window segmental lintels with floral motifs and acanthus leaves, which had not yet acquired the stylized character of a somewhat later Secession style.

The main entrance is located on the extreme right axis and arranged via open stone steps with a stone parapet. The stylishly designed woodwork double door has a light. Above the second floor baroquizing window, decorated with profiled trimming having "ears", there is a cartouche with the date "1888" and a heraldic sign in the form of the letter "R".

The east façade has a gable and three window axes; it is plastered, the ground floor is emphasized with banded rustication. The windows are rectangular, with profiled trimmings on the ground and second floors. On the third floor (extreme east axis), there is a balcony with simple lattices. The north, rear façade has seven axes (five window axes of the main block and two window axes of the staircase); it is plastered and has two balconies, a wide one on the second floor (on two window axes) to the left, and a small semicircular one on the third floor, on the extreme right axis. The balconies are fenced with new metal lattices. On the ground floor, where a wooden porch used to be (on the two middle axes), there is a new stone porch now.

The townhouse features an enfilade layout; the reinforced concrete staircase has three flights with stylish forged lattices, the stair landings are made of artificial stone, the corridors are covered with cement tiles. The doors’ woodwork have been partly preserved. Tiled stoves have also been preserved in the apartments.

The townhouse represents the beginnings of the Secession in Lviv in the late 19th c.


Józef Swoboda (czech. Josef Svoboda) — well-known artist, Czech by birth, author of numerous historical scenes, lithographed portraits of people and structures; in the 19th c. he owned the larger plot with conscription number 616 4/4 (orientation number 7-7a, now the territory of buildings number 21-21a, 23).
Bronisław Mrażek — plot co-owner in the second half of the 19th c.
Marya Halper, née Kaniewska — plot co-owner in the second half of the 19th c.
Marya Wiksel, née Goldhaber — plot co-owner in the second half of the 19th c.
Zofia Reiss, née Wisl — Dr. Albert Reiss’s wife, plot co-owner in the second half of the 19th c.
Albert Reiss — doctor, plot co-owner in the second half of the 19th c.
Józef and Stefania Maciulski — plot co-owners, who entered into a sale contract with Godowski.
Władysław Godowski (1842-1910) — plot owner, architect and builder, who built his own two-storied villa on the plot.
Karol, Helena, Jakób-Jan Gruby —plot and townhouse owners.
Michał Kowalczuk — architect and builder, who designed the new wicket and moving of the entrance gate.
Władysław Niemeksza — installation engineer.
Karol d'Abancourt — doctor, High Provincial Court senior advisor, who rented an apartment in the building in 1909-1910.
Zofia d'Abancourt — teacher at a public city school, who rented an apartment in the building in 1909-1910.
Roman Ciszewski — teacher, who rented an apartment in the building in 1909-1910.
Jan Czyżowski — Viceregency advisor, who rented an apartment in the building in 1909-1910.
Aleksander Müller — financial institution employee, who rented an apartment in the building in 1913.
Jan Müller — plot owner.
Henryk Pauls — Mennonite pastor.
Tonia Mildwurm — building owner.


1. State Archive of Lviv Oblast (DALO) 2/1/5319
2. DALO 2/1/5317
3. DALO 2/1/5315
4. Archiwum Glówny Aktów Dawnych (AGAD) Księgi metrykalne i akta parafii i gmin różnych wyznań i obrządków (Ormianie, Autokefaliczna Cerkiew Prawosławna, Baptyści, Mennonici, Ewangeliczni Chrześcijanie) z terenów tzw. Zabużańskich, Inwentarz zespołu PL, 1456.
5. 1849 cadastral map of Lviv.
6. 1777 map of Lviv.
7. 1829 map of Lviv.
8. 1910 map of Lviv.
9. 1936 map of Lviv.
10. Księga Adresowa król. stoł. miasta Lwowa, 1900.
11. Юрій Бірюльов, "Ґодовський Владислав", Енциклопедія Львова, Т. 1 (Львів: Літопис, 2007), 627-628.
12. Оксана Бойко, Василь Слободян, "З історії латинських монастирів Львова. Монастир сестер сакраменток", Вісник Інституту Укрзахідпроектреставрація, ч. 16, с. 59-64.
13. Борис Мельник, Довідник перейменувань вулиць і площ Львова, (Львів: Світ, 2001).
14. Stefan Słomkiewicz, Zygmunt Soczek, Polski Słownik Biograficzny, t. 39, (Warszawa – Kraków: Instytut Historii PAN, 1999-2000).

By Oksana Boyko