Sustainable rehabilitation: Lviv’s historic Old City gets a facelift

24.08.2016 – For a long time, Lviv’s Old City was left to ruin. GIZ is training craftspeople to comprehensively rehabilitate the historic buildings.

On 24 August, Ukraine will celebrate its national holiday and the 25th anniversary of its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. Although Ukraine’s recent history has been marked by war and unrest, many of its towns have come through the past centuries largely unscathed. One of them is the western city of Lviv.

Despite having been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998, for a long time, many of the buildings in Lviv’s Old City were not rehabilitated, or only in makeshift fashion. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is assisting the City of Lviv in sustainably rehabilitating the Old City in cooperation with the city administration, citizens and the private sector.

In connection with these activities, GIZ is focusing on providing initial and continuing training to construction workers and other professionals. Seminars and courses on rehabilitating historic monuments form part of the project. This allows architects, blacksmiths and carpenters, for example, to receive further training in rehabilitation methods, time management or accounting. Many crafts and tradespeople have since set themselves up in the rehabilitation market. Since the project began in 2009, some 20 new small and medium-sized enterprises have been created and around 480 construction experts have been trained.

Private house owners and Old City residents are also benefiting from the project. They are eligible to receive free advice on subjects concerning house renovation and to take part in funding programmes for the rehabilitation of parts of historic buildings. Some 2,000 households in Lviv have taken advantage of the scheme to date. Citizens can also contribute proposals and ideas on how and where there is a further need for restoration or upgrading in the city via the ‘Maisternia Mista’ workshop initiated by the project. Inhabitants’ satisfaction with the city’s renovation has risen by 15% since the start of the project, which is scheduled to run up to the end of 2017.