Founded by the Galician-Volynian Prince Danylo Halytsky in AD 1256 and named after his son Lev ("the lion"), Lviv, Ukraine, has, at different points in time, been part of the Austrian empire, Poland and the U.S.S.R. This multicultural past has added much to the city's charm. The resultant mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture and Lviv's special way of life inspired the sobriquet, "the Paris of Ukraine."

The heart of Lviv (pronounced luh-VIEW) is Mickiewicz Square, with its central statue of the Polish lyric poet Adam Mickiewicz. The 13th-century St. Nicholas' Catholic cathedral, with its impressive late-17th century Gothic tower, stands at nearby Rosa Luxembourg Square.

Ruska Street is where the beautiful 16th-century Ukranian Orthodox Church of the Assumption is located. The church has exquisite exterior friezes and interior icons. An open-air museum of wooden architecture, with examples of houses, churches, barns and even palaces, is worth a visit, too.

Other museums include the Lviv History Museum (art from western Ukraine), the Picture Gallery (with paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Titian and Francisco Goya) and the Ukrainian Art Museum (good collection of icons).

Lviv is about 290 mi/465 km east-southeast of Kiev.

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