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”.
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.