NUMBER 7 — THE BERNARDINE MONASTERY
The Bernardine Monastery is an impressive monument in the Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque styles dating to1600-1630s. This is a fortified medieval monastery. Having walked from the direction of Mytna Square, through the fortified gate of the monastery, treading on original wooden cobbles past the Hlynyanska Tower, one will find oneself in the monastery courtyard. Here the spirit of antiquity fills every corner. The bustle of modern life comes to a standstill here as though the last four hundred years of world history have not transpired at all. The Monastery of the Bernardines (the Polish version of the Franciscan order) was built outside the city walls; that is why one sees solid, high fortifications well-preserved on the northern and eastern sides.
The monastery’s history goes back to the middle of the 15th century, although the present-day building was constructed in the beginning of the 17th century. This was an epoch of rapidly changing architectural styles. The most prominent builder of Lviv, Paul of Rome, commenced the construction of the church in 1600 in the Renaissance style which was familiar to him, but the artist died in 1618 leaving his work unfinished. Polish King Sigismund, who came to view the construction site, considered the original idea to be too modest, and commissioned the student and successor of Paul of Rome, Swiss Ambrosius Prykhylny, to create a more breathtaking building. The luxurious Mannerist sculptural décor, which does not disrupt the sense of proportion in the slightest way, is the most spectacular legacy of this monument: over twenty sculptures compose a live gallery of picturesque figures of the 17th century. Wroclaw architect Andrzej Bemer completed the monastery ensemble with a Baroque tower and façade decoration. The church interior is adorned with numerous carved altars of the 18th century, and its walls bear original frescos dating from the same period.