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Beginning of Halytska Street

Boims’ Chapel in Lviv

A few steps to the right and we are in a small yard in front of the Boims'Chapel. The chapel was built in 1611-1615 by the architect A. Bremer and was then part of the cemetery that surrounded the Latin Catholic Cathedral. Most historians agree that the chapel constitutes the best example of the Mannerism style in Central East Europe.

In the late 16th century King Stefan Batoria invited Yuri Boim, who lived on the boarder between Hungary and Germany, to settle in Lviv. According to his will only three Boim generations could be buried in the chapel.

The luxuriant fasade and interior were decorated by H. Sholtz and J. Pfister. The facade is notable for the Passion scenes and the statue of Mourning Christ, located on the cupola. However majestic the exterior is, the interior part of the chapel surprises one with its splendor. Strange to relate, yet, it looks taller from the inside than the outside. The cupola, which visually widens the space, is decorated with the images of Apostles. Prophets, prominent Church figures and Polish Kings, who are all represented as commoners.

The Dome of Boims’ Chapel from the Inside

The entrance door is crowned with the portraits of Yuri Boim and his grandson Pavlo. Pavlo became a doctor, traveled to China, where he studied Oriental cultural and medicine traditions, and wrote a manuscript about the country. The altar is decorated with polychromy and scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The fresco of the Last Supper is distinguished by the figure of Judas, who has already received the 30 coins and thus is represented sitting on a chair with the devil grinning angrily from under his seat. Because of the fresco of the devil the archbishop D. Solikovsky refused to consecrate the chapel.

The portrait of Yuri Boim and his wife Jadviga, surrounded by the three generations of the Boims, is depicted on the southern wall of the chapel. The sculptural composition of "Mourning" in the central part of the wall is cut out of the alabaster of honey tint, produced in Zhuravno. A disguised door to the right of the altar fuelled the rumors about a secret passage under the chapel and the Boim's house. The recent excavations confirmed the legend. Among the remains of old civilizations, archeologists and restorers found empty bottles of "Soviet Champaign" - the trace of contemporary "explorers". Even Yuri Boim himself could not have foreseen such twist of fate.

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