As the cruel war in Ukraine rages on, let’s take a minute to appreciate one of the most unique historic gems in the city of Lviv.
This is the Citadel Inn Hotel & Resort.
Located on a strategic hill, overlooking the old part of the city, this former military defensive structure was originally built for an Austrian military garrison in 1852-1854.
The old military fortress has been creatively repurposed and transformed into a 5-star “mini-hotel” with 26 guests rooms.
Ironically, the citadel has long been a contested center of wars in this region.
In 1914, the Austro-Hungarian troops finally left the city, but then a Russian garrison was located in the citadel for several months.
The darkest part of the citadel’s history was during the Second World War when the citadel housed the Stalag 328 POW concentration camp organized by Nazi Germany. There the Nazis tortured many Red Army prisoners, as well as Italian soldiers after Italy decided to withdraw from the war.
After the Second World War, the citadel housed a Soviet military unit, and later, in 1979-1993, the Electron Research Institute of Informatics and Management (NDIIU).
In 2007, this tower was significantly renovated and repurposed into the distinguished Citadel Inn Hotel.
From their website:
“Feel the spirit of Austro-Hungarian Empire in the very heart of historical Lviv. Hotel Citadel Inn will help you to get into the epoch of the elegance, nobility and captivating grace, which were characteristic of the city of Lion in the XIXth century.”
Despite the posh newer interior, there are relics of the building’s military past sprinkled throughout the space.
Interestingly, Lviv has been highly contested land for most of its existence and was a part of eight governments (the Galician-Volyn principality, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, the ZUUR, the USSR, the totalitarian fascist regime, and of course, as part of modern Ukraine.
Another fascinating fact: Lviv has over 2,500 architectural and historical monuments, and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Each year over a hundred festivals (music, food, and culture) are held in Lviv.
The old fortress now offers luxurious accommodation, an award-winning restaurant, a gym and sauna, as well as a meditation room and business center that are open 24 hours a day.
The Dining Room:
The in-house restaurant serves European and Ukrainian gourmet cuisine.
The Guest Rooms:
Almost all of the 26 guest rooms have stunning barrel-vaulted ceilings – part of the original architecture.
Down in the basement, the subterranean lower level makes for an excellent and well-stocked wine cellar and tasting room:
The wine cellar features a wide selection of international wines.
Outside, the Citadel Inn has manicured grounds where guests are welcome to lounge and dine in the summer months.
It’s hard to make sense of the ugly war that is unfolding in Ukraine right now when you see these peaceful pictures of luxury and relaxation.
The Citadel Inn was an earnest attempt to reclaim the region’s war-ravaged past and begin a new narrative of beauty and comfort.
Unfortunately, war has returned to this place.
We don’t yet know the fate of the Citadel Inn Hotel & Resort in Lviv.
Hopefully, this beautiful old place will stand strong – as it always has.