“The Black House”, 4, Rynok Square
The building at Rynok Sq., 4 is a unique architectural monument of the 16th century, so- called “Black House”. In the early 16th century on this place was a medieval house, destroyed by the fire in 1511. In 1519, the owner of the place Jan Koshner gave it to his son-in-law Andriy from Kyiv, who built a house known as Kyivsky. The house burned in a fire in 1527 but was rebuilt and became known as Koshnerivsky.
In 1588, the owner of the place became Tomaso Alberti, an Italian from the island of Chios, who demolished the old structure and during 1588-1589 erected a wonderful 2-storey Renaissance stone house. According to Lviv researchers the author of the project could be Petro Barbon and Pavlo Rymlyanyn or Petro Krasowski.
In 1596 the house became the property of the merchant and pharmacist Jan Lorencowicz and his wife Regina, who added the second floor of buildings and opened here one of the first drugstores in Lviv.
The name of the Lorencowicz House was fixed in the memory of citizens of Lviv by his son – a much respected advisor in the city, Jan Julian Lorencowicz. His son – Dr. Martyn Nikanor Anchevsky, inherited the house in 1645 and made a thorough restoration of the building in 1675-1677 under the guidance of architect Martyn Hradovsky. The façade of the house was decorated with sculptures of saints, there was established a magnificent baroque attic. The stone portals of the ground and first floor were refurbished. Above the main portal the personal emblem of Anchevsky family was placed – a lion holding a sword in its paw, in a laurel framing, with letters М.А.- S.R.- M.D.- CL. (Martyn Anchevsky, Royal Secretary, Doctor of Medicine, Counselor of Lviv) minted on a cartouche.
On the cornice of the portal was installed a sculpture of Our Lady. Above the porch was set a sculpture Martyn – the patron of Dr. Anchevsky, and on the eaves of the large window of a bureau was put a sculpture of St. Stanislaw Kostka, patron of youth, canonized in the early 18th century.
On the capitals of side pilasters there are sculptures of Jan of Dukla, the mythyal savior of the city, and St. Luke, patron of physicians.
The house is one of the best examples of urban architecture of the Renaissance. The façade is covered with "diamond rust", portals and windows are decorated with carvings of grape vines, heads of angels and birds. Interior of the house is lavishly decorated.
Some rooms have preserved ceilings with wooden carved beams. Niches between the windows are wonderfully decorated with stone carvings.
Deep niches the first floor windows form a comfortable bench, which allows a good observation position for watching the movement in the market. During the 1884 restoration the third floor was added in between the attic and second floor; attic apertures were replaced with windows.
In 1911, the house was bought by the Emile Royinsky, Doctor of Laws, at whose expense the next restoration of the building was made.
In 1926 E. Royinsky sells the stone house to the city. By a decision of the magistrate of 26.03.1926, it was made a place for keeping monuments from the past of Lviv. During the restoration work the house was adapted for museum purposes and on September 22, 1929 a ceremony of consecration and opening of the Lviv History Museum took place.
Today the premises of the house accommodate expositions of sections of Ukrainian Diaspora history (first floor), Ukrainian War for Independence (second floor), history of the Western Ukrainian lands of the second half of the 19-20 cc. (third floor), reserve and service rooms.