Diary Lemberg-Tallinn
Arvamus 01 May 2010  EWR
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Journeying in eastern Europe

Edward Lucas

Planes, trains and extortionate taxis

Day one

It is never a waste of time to visit the capital of Galicia, which in Latin is called Leopolis (literally, Lion City). But you can waste a lot of time rowing about the name. In the Austro-Hungarian empire the city’s name was Lemberg. It was commonly known as that in the English-speaking world too (it is named thus in a Baedeker travel guide, belonging to your diarist’s great-aunt, who travelled in those parts more than a century ago).

In pre-war Poland it became Lwów (pronounced Ler-voof) and to this day many Poles still use that name. Indeed, they can get quite cross if you call it anything else. Even after the historical reconciliation with Lithuania and Ukraine in recent years, the loss, in 1945, of Poland’s eastern provinces, and particularly the great cities of Wilno (now Vilnius) and Lwów, still rankles. Under Soviet rule, the city usually went by the Russian name of Lvov; in independent Ukraine it is Lviv (or L'viv if you insist on the “soft sign”, which turns the “l” into something closer to a “lyuh”). You can pronounce it “Lyuh-veef” or “Lyuh-vyoo”, depending on which kind of Ukrainian you speak.

From Economist.com The entire article is available in full at the author’s blog, http://www.edwardlucas.blogspo...
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