Monday, July 21, 2014

Daemen Students Explore Multicultural Galicia

Daemen students taking part in the study abroad program in Poland travelled from Warsaw to
Przemyśl on July 11. The next day, they travelled to Lviv (Ukraine), where they spent two days learning about the multicultural heritage of the city. This was evident everywhere as students (Elaina Murray, Leigh Alexander, and Daniella Milanese) explored the Old Town with Dr. Andrew Kier Wise (Chair, Department of History & Political Science; Director of the Polish Studies Program), and Dr. Tomasz Pudłocki (Institute of History, Jagiellonian University).

For example, a monument dedicated to the great Ukrainian poet and artist, Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), is located at the city center along Prospekt Svobody (Freedom Avenue). The statue was erected in 1992, one year after Ukraine gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Dr. Pudłocki with students near the Shevchenko monument

Not far away, on Mickiewicz Square, a monument to the Polish national poet (Adam Mickiewicz, 1798-1855) has stood there since 1904. At that time, Lviv was the capital of the province of Galicia (which included part of today's Ukraine and Poland) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Dr. Pudłocki with students in front of the Mickiewicz monument
The architecture in Lviv reveals the layers of its long history. Below, students stand in front of a remnant of the medieval defensive wall.

L-R: Daniella, Dr. Wise, Leigh, and Elaina
Beneath the city, students toured cellars that have been used for a variety of purposes over the centuries -- as retreats for ascetic monks, for example -- and which today are open to the public.

L-R: Elaina, Daniella, and Leigh

Many of the buildings in the city center exemplify the important role that Lviv played during the years (1772-1918) when it was ruled by the Habsburg monarchy, with different architectural styles evident in government buildings and business centers from that era.

Street scene in Lviv

One of the architectural gems is the Lviv Opera House (below), built in the Neo-Renaissance style. It opened in 1901.
L-R: Leigh, Dr. Wise, Elaina, and Daniella

Also located in the Old Town, the Armenian Cathedral (see below) provides an example of architecture from an earlier period. The original structure was built in the 14th century.
Outside the Armenian Cathedral

Before returning to Poland, students stocked up on Ukrainian candies at the border (below).
L-R: Elaina, Daniella, and Leigh

Back in Przemyśl, students began fieldwork for their Service Learning course. This involves a mapping project to provide the precise location of graves in the Jewish Cemetery. This marks the second year that Dr. John Hartman has travelled to Poland to oversee Daemen students' work in the cemetery that his foundation (Remembrance and Reconciliation, Inc.) has restored and preserved over the past two decades.

L-R: Leigh, Elaina, Daniella, Heather, and Dr. John Hartman

The multicultural history of Przemyśl is evident in the iconography and commemorations related to World War I. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, and Przemyśl was the site of the third largest system of fortresses in Europe before the war. Consequently, the city was the site of a great deal of action along the eastern front.

One of the great literary works that deals with Galicia during World War I is the novel "The Good Soldier Svejk," written by the Czech author Jaroslav Hasek and published in 1923. Statues of Svejk can be found in several cities where the novel places him along the eastern front. Below, students are pictured with Svejk in Przemyśl .

L-R: Leigh, Heather, Svejk, Elaina, and Daniella

On July 18, students attended the opening of a new exhibit (see below) on World War I that opened in the National Museum in Przemyśl. The exhibit featured the role of Hungarians in the battles for the Przemyśl fortress during the war.

L-R: Daniella, Dr. Pudlocki, Leigh, Elaina, Dr. Hartman, and Dr. Wise

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