The stormy and extremely interesting history of the unique Ukrainian city of Lviv is seven and a half centuries long. Lviv emerged in mid-13th century as the capital of a powerful Eastern European state – the Halychyna - Volyn Principality. Owing to its unique geographical location at the intersection of the main trade routes between the West and the East, in the 15th-17th centuries Lviv became the leading trade centre of the Eastern Europe and the largest city in Ukraine. Having spent half a millennium in the European cultural space, the city turned into a genuine architectural pearl, a centre of book printing, crafts and arts.
In the 18th-20th centuries Lviv as a part of the Austro - Hungarian Empire became known as the city of technical innovations. For instance, kerosene and the kerosene lamp were invented here for the first time in the entire world. In early 20th century Lviv became the capital of the third largest oil producing region after the USA and Russia. Lviv spent the period between 1939 and 1991 under the reign of totalitarian Soviet Union. From the first days of Ukraine’s independence Lviv obtained the status of the cultural and spiritual capital of the Ukrainian state. In 2004 Lviv acted as the principal social catalyst of the democratic Orange Revolution. Quite recently, in 2006, Lviv celebrated its 750th birthday.