The Armenian Cathedral (of the Assumption of the Holiest Mother of God)
The Armenian Cathedral is one of the oldest landmarks in Lviv. It is also the main shrine of one of medieval Lviv’s largest communities, the Armenians. For a long time, this unique temple was the center of religious and cultural life for the Armenians, who played an important role in Lviv’s history. The Cathedral is currently located in the historical center, standing on a place of the former Armenian school and printing press.
Construction of the cathedral began in the 14th century, funded by two Armenian merchants. Over the next two centuries, a peculiar 35-meter (115 feet) high bell tower and a renaissance arcade were built near the church. Over the years, the Armenian Cathedral was many times renovated, surrounded with various annexes, changing its appearance. Nowadays it is a charming eclectic complex, in which traditional Armenian, Old Russian, Romanesque, and Gothic styles are reflected.
The cathedral is the center of an architectural ensemble that consists of the most interesting installations. These include the archbishops’ palace, Benedictines’ monastery, building of the former Armenian bank (the oldest in Lviv), wooden altar, and column with statue of St. Christopher. An ancient necropolis, whose graves date back to the 14th-18th centuries, is preserved in the yard of the cathedral.
The interior of the Armenian Cathedral is, unlike its gloomy exterior, rich and bright. Unique ornaments, colorful stained-glass windows, and mosaics create the impression of stepping into a fairytale. But the temple’s main decoration is the frescos painted in Old Russian style that have remained from the 14th -15th centuries. Today, they have much historical and artistic value.
The frescos created by the Polish artist Jan Rosen at the beginning of the 20th century impress no less than the ancient ones. Despite the fact that they are made in the modern style of European religious painting, the frescos blend perfectly into the cathedral’s interior and make it even more attractive!