Drohobych is a city with more than 900-year history, hospitable residents and great hopes for the future. The old Rus’ settlement was in existence in its place as far back as the period of Kyivan Rus. In old times the basis of well-being of the “free royal city” was salt, which was sold all over Galicia-Volhynian terrain and in many cities of Europe. So salt-cellars can be seen on the coat of arms of Drohobych. Cultural monuments found in the territory of the city are the oldest in the region. The status of a city Drohobych obtained in 1422. Present-day Rynok Square is adorned with the town hall built in the 1920 s. Nearby stands a monument to Adam Mickiewicz (1892).
In the 15 th century Drohobych became the chief town of a district. In 1722, after the First Partition of Poland, the city passed to Austria. In 1775 a Ukrainian gymnasia was opened there, one of the first in Galicia. In the mid-19 th century there was an industrial boom. Commercial production of ozokerite, gas, and oil started in the environs of the city. In 1866 an oil-refining plant, the first in Central Europe, was built in the city. Thanks to Drohobych and Boryslav Austro-Hungary became third in the world in the field of oil production. To ensure better conditions for industrial production railway communication was opened in the city at the end of 1772. In 1918 power of West-Ukrainian People’s Republic was declared in Drohobych. From 1919 through 1939 the city was located within the borders of Poland. Drohobych has always been an important center of political and social life. The residents are particularly proud of the fact that the life of Ivan Franko is closely linked with the history of the region and the city. In September 1939 German troops entered the city, and the Red Army, a few days later. From July 1, 1941, to August 6, 1944, the city was occupied by the German troops. From 1940 to 1959 the city was the administrative center of Drohobych oblast.
The Ukrainian wooden churches of the city are really unique. The Church of St. Yura (1654) (23 a Soliany Stavok) was transferred to the city in 1657 from the village of Nadievo due to the fact that the Tatars had burnt down its predecessor. The church is three-framed, three-domed, with octahedral tops. Its walls are completely covered with mural paintings. The iconostasis is carved and gilded. Now it is occupied by the ethnographic exposition “Drohobych Region” (tel.: 28242). However, divine service is celebrated there as well on big holidays. Another sacral structure is located nearby, it is the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (7 a Zvarytska St.) built in the shape of a defensive tower. Its present-day appearance is the consequences of its reconstruction in 1661 after just another Tatars’ attack. The church is under state protection as a masterpiece of wooden architecture of medieval Galicia.
The Roman-Catholic Church of St. Bartholomew (1392) (12 D. Halytsky St.) belongs to the oldest architectural relics of Drohobych. The church has a clearly expressed defensive character, and once it was famous for its baroque altar. On the wall of the southern nave there is a painting featuring the moment when king Kazimir the Great was granting the city the right of an autonomous municipal administration. There one can see a number of fragments of epitaphs, several solid wooden plates of foundation, and the remains of the epitaph of Catherine Ramultova (1572). During the construction of the sanctuary builders discovered the remains of a pagan temple and dug out the remnants of an idol. Its arm, leg and head can be seen on the outer wall. Beside the Roman-Catholic church there is a powerful defensive tower. Its foundation dates back to the 12 th century. In 1551 the builder Ivan Hrendosh of Peremyshl added one tier. In 1979 a memorial plaque was installed on its rosace, saying that the Cossacks seized the city in 1648. Along with these memorials of special interest is a monument to the outstanding resident of the city, Yuriy Drohobych (Koermak). He was well known in Europe as an outstanding scientist, holding the post of rector of Bolognese University in 1481-82.The biographies of K.Ustyianovych, I.Lukasevych, V.Stefanyk, L.Martovych, M.Mentsinsky, B.SchuIz, H. Kossak and other prominent figures are closely connected with the history of the city.
Like most of Galician towns, before WWII, Drohobych was a real paradise for Jewish community. The Jews had their synagogue as early as the 17 th century. The overall number of the community amounted to 15 thousand, almost half of the total population. There were almost twenty synagogues and chapels in Drohobych. Most of the Jewish respectable financiers were engaged in mediation in oil extraction and sale. The Nazis dealt with the local Jews very cruelly.
Most of the ghetto dwellers were killed or taken to concentration camps. In 6 Orlyk St. stands synagogue built in 1842-1865 after the patterns of synagogue in the city of Kassel in Germany. The history of Drohobych is closely connected with the life and creative work of the outstanding artist Bruno Schulz (1892-1942). His works The Street of Crocodiles, The Cinnamon Shops, Sanatorium under Clepsydra, were painted under the impact of Drohobych atmosphere of those days. Lately the affair of B.Schulz’s frescoes he made at the children’s room of the German functionary F. Landau has received wide publicity. A memorial plaque to the artist has been installed on the rose window of the building in 12 Yu. Drohobych St. In 1942 B.SchuIz was killed by the Nazis during a raid.
In 3 Stryiska St. there is the Church of SS. Peter and Paul. In the 1730 s, by consent of the Austrian empress Maria-Teresia, there was founded the Basilian monastery there. The big fire of 1825 annihilated the temple. So it was built anew and consecrated in 1828. The NKVD converted the temple into a transit center for political prisoners. Later it functioned as a students’ club, and only in 1990 it was returned to the community.
At the crossroad of Truskavetska and Boryslavska streets, not far away form Rynok, stands the temple of the Holy Trinity. It was built in 1690 as a church of the Carmelite order. In 1813 the city handed the temple over to Greek-Catholic community. The monks founded a school in which Ivan Franko studied.