Vul. Lysenka – Stara Strilnytsia Park
A small park in the city center, not far from the foot of Vysokyi Zamok, between Lysenko and Barvinskyi Streets on the northern slopes of Stephan Hill. Established in 1775 on a territory set aside by the City Council for the city’s rifle society, known as the “Kurkov (eng., Rifle Hammer) Brotherhood”, to conduct shooting practice. The territory was arranged as a botanical garden by Professor Ernst Bittman in 1823. In 1890 it was reconfigured into a public park.
From the 1820s through the 1840s Lviv’s park infrastructure enjoyed a significant upgrade. Commenting on the city’s horticultural achievements of the time, Zigmunt Stankiewicz explains: “It was a period that held domestic life in high esteem and is not improperly referred to as the “Biedermeier Period”, since it was driven largely by sentimental German residents who delighted in song, green spaces, and romantic strolls. This feeling – the way they loved trees and green places – had never been expressed before in quite that way” (Stankiewicz, 1929, p63).
Lviv’s small city rifle park, laid out during the Biedermeier period, was a part of that “green movement”. In 1775 the territory was set aside for the rifle corps of the Lviv City Police, the so-called “Riflery Brotherhood” (Confratemitas Jaculatorum). This military group dating from the late-medieval comprised Lviv’s city security department.
Traditions associated with the group’s activities include shooting contests and the selection of the finest rifleman, who would receive the title of “King of the Rifle Hammer”. The selection was made annually on the day of the celebration of the Christian Corpus Christi festival. In time, Lviv’s rifleman fraternity shed its military function, becoming an elite urban shooting club for the middle class.
In the latter half of the 18th century a large treed lot was granted to the society, located near Zamkovyi Hill on the lower slopes of so-called Stephan Hill. The society set up their firing range and carried out their rituals and gatherings at the location. The road laid in near the firing range would be named “Kurkova”, and later, Lysenko.
In 1823, Professor Ernst Wittmann organized the territory into a botanical garden. In 1825-1829, architect Franz Trescher designed and constructed a center for rifle society meetings and celebrations located near the garden. In 1870-71, a new structure appeared, built by Josef Engel, the current address of which is #23 Lysenko Street.
Subsequent reconfiguration and expansion of the territory into a public park got underway 1890. In the commemorative publication “Lviv in the Era of Autonomy, 1870-1895” reveals: “In 1890, the increase in building construction and park development was accomplished at considerable expense, and thanks to the beneficence of Mr. Leon Bratkowski”. The report confirms that “the firing range has been set in excellent order over the last five years…the garden there has a fine tradition and is a lovely place for a walk” (Miasto Lwów, 1896, 179, 319). Near the end of the 1940s, the park’s status was changed to that of an “urban park for recreation and culture”, though with the subsequent opening of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Park, this purpose was abandonded.
During the Soviet period the Carpathian District Military Song and Dance Ensemble managed the old rifle society building. Currently the building is managed by the Military History Museum’s “Liberation Museum” wing.
Stara Strilnytsia Park is located east of the city center and south of Vysokyi Zamok. It occupies the parcel of land located between Lysenko and Barvinskyi Streets on the southern flank of Stephan Hill, a low hill between Zamkova and Zmieva. The terrain made the location ideal for a picturesque park accessible just through the gates of #23 Lysenko Street.
Ernst Wittman laid out the botanical garden on the territory in 1823, with the subsequent reconfiguration into a city park coming in 1890. Winding paths climb the park hill to Barvinskyi Street, which divides the Vysokyi Zamok from Znessinya Park.
Stara Strylnytsia Park forms part of the eastern segment of Lviv’s Vysokyi Zamok-Lonshanivka-Tsetnerivka-Pohulianka garden ring.
Leon Bratkowski – merchant,
Ernst Wittmann – botanist
Jozef Engel – architect
Zygmunt Stankiewicz – engineer, regional ethnographer
Franz Trescher – architect
- Barański, F. Przewodnik po Lwowie: Z planem i widokami Lwowa. Lwów: 1902.
- Jaworski, F. Lwόw stary i wczorajszy (szkice i opowiadania): Z ilustracyami. Wydanie drugie poprawione. Lwów: 1911.
- Miasto Lwów w okresie samorządu 1870-1895. Lwów: 1896.
- Orłowicz, M. Ilustrowany przewodnik po Lwowie: Ze 102 ilustracjami i planem miasta. Wydanie drugie rozszerzone. Lwów – Warszawa: Książnica-Atlas, 1925.
- Stankiewicz, Z. „Ogrody i plantacje miejskie”. Lwów dawny i dzisiejszy: Praca zbiorowa pod redakcja B. Janusza. Lwów: 1928, p. 62–71.
Material compiled by Ihor Zhuk, december 2012
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