Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Panoramic View #1 - Lviv, Ukraine

When I arrive in a new city or town, one of the first things I like to do is climb a tower or hill to get a bird's eye view of the place. It puts everything into perspective, so I can visualise where buildings and monuments are in relation to one another, and to understand how the town has grown and changed over time.
Many east European towns start with a medieval core that leads to concrete housing blocks which ring the centre; when viewed from above, these stages of architectural progression and the reasons for town planning decisions become clearer. You can watch as people on the street stop for a chat, an old man buys a newspaper from a kiosk, trams glide to a stop in a sidestreet, a shopkeeper sweeps the front steps - all manner of daily life going on, a grand spectacle to observe and interpret meaning from.
Viewing the city from the town hall tower in the market square or from the summit of High Castle hill provides an opportunity to see the different parts of the ancient city and the dozens of church spires from an ideal perspective.
One rooftop in the old town has been painted with the image of a horse, exclusively for the viewing benefit of visitors to the town hall tower. The highest point of Castle Hill has a large blue-and-yellow national flag flying high above this proudly Ukrainian city.

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