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Lviv Tourist Guide Part 5 - Famous Lviv Myths Or I Don’t Want Any Problems Guys!
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Cool headline, no?! Actually, my recent talk with tourist from eastern Ukraine inspired me to write this article, or gather common myths you might hear or find in the internet relating to Lviv and Ukraine.

It is true that there are many misunderstandings, wrong facts or simply myths about Ukraine, Ukrainians and Lviv in particular. In some cases tangled history of Ukraine is the reason or just some wrong understanding or experience of tourists and visitors of the country. Some are funny and full of passion, but some may be offensive for Ukrainians, so they are actually worth knowing, not to get into uncomfortable situation.

Myth #1. Lviv citizens hate foreigners. This is the common myth that Lviv people are not happy about foreigners that come or live in the city. It is a complete false.

Myth #2. Don’t speak Russian to them!!! Now this is the myth that most of the rest of Ukraine believe in and desperately fear. In some of my first articles I wrote that Lviv is the most European city of all and it always was like that. We never were happy about soviet government or any other foreign rule. That is why Ukrainian rebel army appeared in the beginning of 20th century fighting against Soviet Union and Germany and Polish invaders. Fact is that most of the fighters of rebel army are today our grandfathers and grandmothers that gave us, modern Lviv citizens the feelings they had about foreign rule. However, the fact is that if you try speaking Russian to any person in the street, they are going to understand and reply, with no evil looks or thoughts of bringing you down for this language, that is in the myth. On the contrary, as I already told, modern people are really hospitable and always happy to see foreign people coming to visit Lviv, they will always be glad to help you, if they can. Of course, there is a small percentage of those hating everybody and everything, but it is probably the same as everywhere.

Myth #3. Ukraine, Russia, Belarus were the same country long time ago. Now this is the myth that you may really hurt Ukrainian with. Just for general knowledge, please note, that Ukraine was always a separate state, the oldest state among those three, I named above. Fact that Ukraine was concurred and annexed by Russia for a several times does not mean, Ukrainians and Russians are the same. You may compare this situation with England and Scotland or Ireland. Are those people all Englishmen?! I don’t think so, neither of Ukrainians does.

Myth #4. Kyiv Rus came from Russia. This is the second really desperate and unpleasant myth that appeared due to a number of historical reasons and that may lead to endless and unsuccessful debates. It is really hard to define correct answer, as historic books in Ukraine and Russia differ on this point, relying on Ukrainian and Russian studies respectively. Unfortunately it is hard to define foreign independent study that would end this debate and find the true answer; maybe it is still to come. In fact, some were already done, but they are not recognized by russian side. Of course I have my personal point of view, but as I promised to be honest and true, I’ll not provide it, but would just say, that you should not think the myth is true unless you have strong scientifically confirmed proofs.

Myth #5. Lviv citizens were supporting Germany in World War II. Another myth I advise you not to share or take into consideration. One thing for your information: before WWII started, the population was approximately 300 thousand people in Lviv, in some time, when Germans came and take over the rule in Lviv, the population was 100 thousand. Every third citizen of the city was killed or deported – I don’t consider this a proof of strong loyalty of Lviv people to Germans.

In fact, there are lots of myths regarding Ukrainians, Germans and poles – my honest and most independent advice to you – don’t believe in any of them, until you’ll obtain strong reliable proof. If you will, I ask you to share it with me . Ok, let’s move on.

Myth #6. Ukrainians drink lots of booze. Ah, rather tricky one. One fact is that this issue was “left” for us after 70 years of Soviet rule. I personally handled small investigation, asking old people, whole lived in Western Ukraine for their whole life and whose parents and grandparents lived, and they all state that people were not drinking so much booze as not. Especially it is about “gorilka” – national drink. Yes, it always was here, that is why I called it “national”, but was not being drunk like water. Second fact is, Ukrainians do drink a lot of booze, but they do it during some celebrations or parties, with a lot of food and meat. They don’t just get drunk and lie at the street like a pig. However, just like everywhere, we have cases of “pigs” lying drunk at the streets. What is worth mentioning is that new generations of Ukrainians are starting, quite slowly, but starting to move from strong alcohol drinks. So, I can neither confirm nor decline this myth, it is up to you what to think, or better, - come and see for yourself!

Myth #7. Ukrainian women and girls are the handsomest in the world. Sorry, did I wrote “myth #7”? I meant “Fact #1”! :)

Sorry, but my space slot is running out, so I have to finish my list for now, but if you found it interesting, please do write a comment to this article or send a message directly to me (you can find my address following the link in the “about author” section). If you got interested in myths that are in Lviv, you can ask average people in the streets, of course, if you know ukrainian, or during an excursion around Lviv, you will have a possibility to hear a lot of them told in a really funny and laughing way.

As usual, please feel free to contact me for any issues that may arise and if you are interested, read more of my articles about Lviv tourism – it is a place worth visiting.


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