Vul. Virmenska, 14 – residential building
The four-storied row building on Virmenska street 14 (conscription number 165) has preserved the character of a Renaissance townhouse with some later developments dated to the 17th-19th centuries. It is associated with well-known Lviv artists who lived there: architect Piotr Połejowski, sculptor Antoni Osiński, artist Mateusz Miller, historian Denys Zubrytsky. The house is an architectural monument (protection number 22). Now it is used for dwelling purposes.
17th c. – a two-storied townhouse with a low
second floor is built.
Late 18th c. – the two-storied townhouse is reconstructed as a three-storied one.
1869 – the fourth floor is added by architect Józef Miesel.
1910 – all the building’s ground floor premises are adapted for shops with separate entrances.
1911 – the staircase is reconstructed with the use of reinforced concrete (constructor Jan Ostrowski); balconies with entrances to the apartments are arranged on the east courtyard façade.
1935 – a reconstruction of the townhouse is made, its living conditions being improved; some partitions are built (architect Salomon Keil).
1950 – capital repairs are done; the ground floor premises used for shops are adapted for housing, the doors leading to the shops are rearranged as windows, the socle is faced with ceramic tiles.
The house is located in the dense housing of Virmenska street. This street was laid out simultaneously with the formation of the medieval city within its defensive walls and was inhabited by Armenians who arrived in Lviv during the reign of prince Lev Danylovych. This is one of the longest streets in the city’s historic center. It started from Krakivska street and came up against the Dominican monastery walls, having no free exit. The first mention of the Armenian quarter dates back to 1394. The names of Armenian families were fixed in the nicknames of the townhouses. The earliest archival mention of townhouse 14 on Virmenska street comes from 1638 when it was called “that of the Saakowiczs”, from the name of its owner, Saak Wartanowicz. In the schoss books (schossbücher) and court papers this townhouse is referred to as Wartanowiczowska (1639-1659, 1705-1740) and “that of Krzysztof Wartanowicz” (1660-1704). In the 1767 tax book it is designated as Bernatovychivska (Bernatowiczowska).
The present building is the result of several construction periods. The old townhouse was built in the 17th c. and, according to 1712 archival documents, had a very small second floor, that is, it was a two-storied house with a low second floor. In the second half of the 18th c. it was considerably rebuilt. The old townhouse had a two-part and two-tract structure; after the reconstruction it had three parts and three tracts. There were various people among the house residents; in the second half of the 18th c. it was in this house that a famous Lviv sculptor Antoni Osiński and architect Piotr Połejowski lived (the latter till the construction of his own house across the street, on Virmenska 13). However, the townhouse belonged to the Armenian Brotherhood of St. Gregory the Illuminator. Till 1765 it was owned by merchants and pharmacists of the Brotherhood – Antoni Głuszkiewicz, Piotr Bogdanowicz and Stefan Augustynowicz. The latter sold the Bernatowiczowska townhouse to Mateusz Miller, an artist, and his wife Rozalia Osińska, who was the sister of architect Połejowski, for eight thousand guldens. In 1774 Miller moved from there to the Dawidowiczowska townhouse located on Virmenska street 33. After the death of Rozalia Osińska (1793), her daughter Zofia Kempska along with her sister Katarzyna Ratyńska sold the townhouse to their brother Martin Osiński. It was probably Martin Osiński who considerably rebuilt the house adding the third floor to it. In 1840 the house became the property of Denys Zubrytsky, a Ukrainian historian. Zubrytsky’s daughter, Stanislava, who lived in Krakow, bequeathed the townhouse to the Lviv Greek Catholic Chapter on condition that the income from it would be used for education of girls. Zubrytsky’s book collection was made over to historian Anton Petrushevych.
The archival building records of the Bernatowiczowska townhouse start in 1866 (DALO 2/1/192). According to the documents, the house was not in a proper condition at that time; in particular, its crowning cornice was to be repaired. Since it was planned to arrange shops in the ground floor premises, in 1867 permission was given to reconstruct a ground floor window as a door. In 1869 Stanislava Zubrytska had the fourth floor added to the house under a project designed in 1868 by architect Josef Miesel. The reconstructed townhouse was covered with a roof, considerably lower than the previous fractured shingle one. The entrance was constructed on the extreme right axis. In 1900 a shop was arranged in the ground floor premises; that is why another window was reconstructed as a door. The then owner of the building, Aniela Felińska, pressed the Magistrate for the change of the façade’s unaesthetic colour. In 1910 the townhouse became owned by Mendel Hersch Schapiro, a Jew, who arranged shops with separate entrances in all the three ground floor premises as well as warehouses in the cellars. In the course of the adaptation works Schapiro was ordered by the Grono Konserwatorskie to preserve vaults in the cellars. In 1911 Jan Ostrowski, a builder, reconstructed the staircase, using metal structures. It was then that balconies with entrances to the apartments were arranged on the east courtyard façade. In 1935 the townhouse was reconstructed under a project designed by architect Salomon Keil. The building’s layout was changed as some partitions were built. In the Soviet period capital repairs were done; the ground floor premises used for shops were adapted for housing, the doors leading to the shops were rearranged as windows, the socle was faced with ceramic tiles.
The house is built on a small parcel, elongated in depth; it stands on the foundations and cellars of a Renaissance townhouse of the 17th c. The four-storied house is built of brick and stone on stone foundations; it is plastered and has vaulted cellars. The parcel consists of an L-shaped building (its overall dimensions are 12x16 m) and a small separate courtyard.
The townhouse’s four-axis main façade has two pairs of windows of different width. The entrance is located on the second axis to the left. The façade’s decoration is rather ascetic: it is divided horizontally by cornices while its ground floor is accentuated and covered with board rustication; the fourth floor was added later. The windows have rectangular crosspieces and shaped trimmings (the third floor windows have also keystones); under the windows, there are shelves; the second floor windows have shaped linear pediments. The two-wing glazed and barred entrance door is made of forged metal, its design being rather strict. The back façades are smooth, with rectangular windows and reinforced concrete balconies having a simple metal railing.
Basically, the townhouse has preserved the three-part and three-tract layout structure, typical to medieval Lviv. The front tract initially consisted of a vaulted entryway and the so-called “main house”. A staircase was allocated later in the second tract, as well as the so-called “back house” in the third tract. The “main house” is covered with a flat ceiling supported by wooden beams. All bridgings between the floors are wooden. The front tract cellars consist of three chambers which are covered with stone segmental vaults. The three-flight stairs are made of reinforced concrete and have a simple metal railing. The house’s tin gable roof has a wooden rafter-and-beam structure.The house has preserved the character of a Renaissance townhouse with some later developments dated to the 17th-19th centuries.
Aniela Felińska – the owner of the townhouse in the late
19th - early 20th c.
Antoni Gluszkiewicz – a merchant and a pharmacist of the Armenian Brotherhood of St. Gregory the Illuminator who lived in the townhouse which belonged to this brotherhood till 1765.
Antoni Osiński – a well-known Lviv sculptor who lived in the townhouse in the second half of the 18th c.
Anton Petrushevych – a Ukrainian historian.
Denys Zubrytsky (1777-1862) – a Ukrainian historian who owned the townhouse from 1840.
Józef Miesel – an architect who designed the project of adding the fourth floor to the townhouse in 1868.
Katarzyna Ratyńska – Rozalia Osińska’s daughter.
Krzysztof Wartanowicz – the owner of the townhouse in the 18th c.; it is from his name that the house became called Wartanowiczowska.
Lev Danylovych – a Galician prince.
Marcin Osiński – Rozalia Osińska’s son who owned the townhouse after 1793.
Mateusz Miller – an artist who owned the townhouse from 1765.
Mendel Hersch Schapiro – the owner of the townhouse from 1910 who arranged shops with separate entrances in the ground floor premises and warehouses in the cellars.
Piotr Augustynowicz – a merchant and a pharmacist of the Armenian Brotherhood of St. Gregory the Illuminator who lived in the townhouse which belonged to this brotherhood till 1765.
Piotr Połejowski – a well-known architect who lived in the townhouse in the second half of the 18th c.
Rozalia Osińska – Mateusz Miller's wife and architect Połejowski’s sister, the owner of the townhouse after 1765.
Saak Vartanovych – the owner of the townhouse in the 17 c.; it is from his name that the house became called “that of the Saakowiczs” and Wartanowiczowska.
Saakowiczs – a Lviv Armenian family, the owners of the townhouse in the 17th c.
Salomon Keil – an architect who designed a project of the townhouse reconstruction and restructuring.
Zofia Kempska – Rozalia Osińska’s daughter who owned the townhouse from 1765.
Stanislava Zubrytska – historian Denys Zubrytsky’s daughter, the owner of the townhouse, who added the fourth floor in 1869.
Stefan Bogdanowicz – a merchant and a pharmacist of the Armenian Brotherhood of St. Gregory the Illuminator who lived in the townhouse which belonged to this brotherhood till 1765.
Jan Ostrowski – a constructor who reconstructed the staircase in 1911, using metal structures.
- State Archive of Lviv Oblast (DALO) 2/1/1192.
- DALO, Map of Lviv (1936)
- Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine in Lviv (CDIAL) 186/8/829.
- Вуйцик Володимир, "З історії кам’яниць вулиці Вірменської. Будинок №14", Leopolitana II, (Львів: Класика, 2012), 168-170.
- Зубрицький Денис, Хроніка міста Львова (Львів: Центр Європи, 2006), 288.
- Кос Г., "З історії забудови Вірменської вулиці у Львові", Записки НТШ, 1998, Т. 127.
- Липка Роман, Ансамбль вулиці Вірменської (Львів: Каменяр, 1983).
- Мельник Б., Шестакова Н., "Кам’яниці Львівського середмістя", Наукові записки. Львівський історичний музей, 2008, Випуск XII, 133-158.
- Могитич Роман, "Архітектура і містобудування доби середньовіччя (XIII – поч. XIV ст.)", Архітектура Львова: Час і стилі. XIII–XXI ст. (Львів: Центр Європи, 2008)