Ukraine is perhaps the least expressed country of Eastern Europe to the rest of the world. A former soviet republic, for years there was a grey cloud hanging above it after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. But things started to change recently. The millennial generation, connected and daring, decided that it had enough of doing things the old way, and that it was time to make a revolution. But as you may know, it turned out that not everyone was ready for the new times. So now there is a war in the East of the country. You can follow the bloody fighting on the news every day. But, do not be mistaken, the revolution in Ukraine is not all about violence. What you don’t see in the news is the social revolution is happening in Ukraine every day.
Lviv has been the driving force behind the revolution in Ukraine during winter 2013 – 2014, also known as Maidan. It’s a city where the Ukrainian spirit is the most strong and vivid. It’s also where a culture of collaboration in social activism, culture, and technology has been growing fast. The public spaces where this collaboration takes place include city cafes, as well as “anti-cafes”, cultural hubs, and universities. Here is NovaEuropa’s pick of the top 5, +1 of Lviv’s public places.
CoMMuna is located in the heart of the old town; it is a universal creative hub for events, meet-ups, work, and study. It follows a model of anti-cafes that has become popular in Eastern Europe in recent years, a solution for the absence of modern public libraries. Here you pay for the time spent in the place, while getting free internet, drinks, and snacks. In the evening there is always something going on at Communa. Public discussions with opinion leaders, workshops, or film screenings are only some of the activities to mention.
Kredens cafes – “Cafe that gives freedom”
Kredens is a chain of casual self-service cafes that is popular among young people. It’s great for meeting friends, work, or study. It’s pretty much the default option to go to when you are looking for a place to work online (or plot a revolution), and to have a good cup of coffee without the fuss of more traditional cafes.
Dzyga, a music cafe & art gallery
Dzyga is really a fantastic place for art and music folks. There is a live music performance by local bands almost every night, and a crowd of creative monkeys hanging around. Various cultural events and discussions take place here regularly, such as Darker Music Talks, and many others. There is also an art gallery on the ground floor. Many of the music and art campaigns of Lviv originate from here.
Lviv Art Palace, where art lives
A centre of cultural events and art exhibitions. A home to the annual Lviv Publisher’s Forum and Wiz-Art Short Film Festival. There is always something to see, and something to learn here, as well as people to mingle with during the events.
Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), a cool university with a not so cool name
Forget its name, this university is one of the most innovative and forward looking institutions of Lviv. Among others, its departments include journalism, media, and psychology. Apart from traditional education, the university is a host to various classes, workshops, and discussions on subjects which include languages, art, dialogues, social activism, and more.
Come In, a new creative space to visit
Come In is a new anti-cafe that recently opened up in Lviv. It’s pretty small in comparison to CoMMuna, but it also hosts regular creative events and it’s a great place to have a team meeting, as well as to work on your own.
Have I forgotten to add an important place to this list? Shame on me. Please let us know of other great public spaces of Lviv in the comments below.