Mitarbeiter in Saudi-Arabien
Anlagenbau in Saudi-Arabien
Staudamm- & Kraftwerksbau in Nepal
Tunnelbau/-sanierung in Indien

Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. (FH) Laurenz Görres

Teaching at Lviv Polytechnic National University (LPNU) in Ukraine during WiSe 2022/23

Link to:

 

With the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, I made an offer to help Ukrainian universities train civil engineers. The result was an invitation from the Lviv National Polytechnic University to teach in Lviv for three to four weeks. It was my first time in Ukraine and it was a great experience for me. Ukraine is - apart from the war - a beautiful country with very friendly people. It took me several months to prepare a tutorial program for the students of the Lviv Polytechnic National University, but it was a pleasure to do it. Thanks to Ms Oksana Pozniak, Prof. Khmil, Pavlo, Nadiia and all others involved to organize this tutorial program. Stay healty and keep in touch with me, please! 

Support for PhD students

During my four weeks in Lviv in March 2023 I collected some donations (~700,- Euro) from a PayPalMe-initiative I started. This has resulted in the support of the PhD students of the "Department of Building Constructions and Bridges" with 350,- Euro. The PhD students can use this money to obtain accessories for experimental setups in the laboratory.

Why this commitment makes sense!

For the people of Ukraine, it is essential that the destroyed infrastructure will be rebuilt as quickly as possible. Only a functioning infrastructure will allow a "civilized life". It allows many Ukrainians who have fled the country to return to their homeland. For this necessary "infrastructure rebuilding", Ukraine will need after the war many civil engineers specialized in infrastructure construction.

A thought that has been in my mind for months, because as a civil engineer with expertise in planning and constructing of infrastructure facilities, experience in international projects (please look to references construction) and as a former full professor with expertise in teaching the subject "construction management" (please look to references University | Teaching), this problem appeals to me in a special way.

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"Sound of Sirens"


There is this beautiful song "Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel. "Silence" probably wishes every Ukrainian, because in Lviv and other cities almost daily the slightly different "Sound of Sirens" can be heard. For a "taste" of the "Sound of Sirens" attached live recordings from Lviv:

"Sound of sirens"

Recorded at an open window during an attack with rockets on civilian infrastructure in and around Lviv.

Lviv
09th March 2023
02:41 AM

"Sound of sirens"

Recorded at an open window at the University
- "common" air alarm that sometimes sounds several times a day.

Lviv
10th March 2023
09:17 AM

"Sound of sirens"

Street scene during
air alert

 

Lviv
18th March 2023
09:10 AM

 

In the night of 17th/18th March there was already an alarm at 01:40 AM in Lviv.

According to SWR3 (German radio station), the region around Lviv was attacked with drones:

"Around 1:00 a.m. our region [note: Lviv] was attacked by kamikaze drones of the type Shahed 136, ... Three drones had been shot down, three others had hit buildings that are not residential ..."

Cell-Broadcasting functions in Lviv

How often air alarm sirens sound in Lviv is shown on this website: Air Raid Alarm Ukraine

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Travelling to Lviv, the university, the Lviv cemeteries and the Lviv city centre


Since the airspace over Ukraine is completely closed because of the war, the journey was only possible by train. From Frankfurt I took the ICE to Vienna and then the night train to Lviv. The travel time was about 27 hours. What do you need for a few weeks in Lviv? In principle, not much: clothes for cold and warm weather (1st bike bag), your own small emergency supply of "emergency XYZ" (2nd bike bag), running shoes, sleeping bag ... (small bag on the carrier) and the complete computer equipment for the online teaching (backpack).

 

Travelling and Arrival

Departure Frankfurt Main Station

Changing trains in Vienna (night train to Kiev)

Compartment in
night train to Lviv

The night train has small compartments, each with 3 sleeping places |
On the third bed below the ceiling it becomes tight from the space |
Traveling like in the days of "grandma and grandpa".

The lion as the heraldic
animal of Lviv

Day of arrival  |  In the center of Lviv  |  Taras Shevchenko statue  |
Where Ukrainians sing folk songs together.

 

A huge Ukrainian flag flies good visible over Lviv at the training center of the Army

Accomodation in the
student's dormitory

The provided accommodation in the students dormitory was not the Hilton, but I did not expect that either. It is a typical prefabricated building from Soviet times.

 

University

Building No. 2 - Department of Civil Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering  |  a building from "Soviet times"  |
 My office was directly above the entrance on the second floor.

Department of Civil Engineering

Setup for online and face-to-face teaching in room 225 |
After connecting the VGA monitors to HDMI ports with adapters, everything worked perfectly.

In the morning I cycled from the dormitory to the university by bike  |  On the way I had a "good morning coffee" at the "Coffee Lab".

The expert for "good morning coffee"  |  Always very friendly like all people from Lviv  |  Four weeks in Lviv and I have not met one unfriendly person.

The master of all room keys at the university  |
a funny and sympathetic person  |
He sits under a PERI flag  | 
Every morning the same question: "Two-two-five? Yes? Two-two-five?"

Main building with department of architecture  | 
a beautiful old building

The entrance hall of the university - beautiful and imposing | 
The poster in the middle reminds of the Maidan heroes from 2014.

The staircase of the university -
even more beautiful and even more imposing.

The main building is almost 150 years old
and has beautiful old rooms with amazing paintings.

The series of pictures was created at the end of the 19th century  |  It remindes me a littel bid of the Sistine Chapel in Rome

The series of paintings of the directors is very long  |  Lviv University was founded in 1816 and is one of the oldest in Europe.

The university celebrated its anniversary on 7th March 2023 and invited for the first time in history to a "university tour", which was impressive and was interrupted only by an air alarm. How much tradition is cultivated here can be seen in the official photo series of the university (click here). Something that would do many German university good, not only in appearance, but also in its understanding of teaching "values" and "tasks of higher education". Even though the financial resources of the university are very limited, I could notice how everyone at the university cares about education despite very scarce resources.

Meeting between Roberta Metsola and und President Selenskyj in Lviv

When the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola and President Selenskyj discuss in Lviv that the education sector in Ukraine must become more modern, I can only agree. Some of the equipment at the university in Lviv is probably still from the "Soviet era".

The Lviv students are clever  |  The lack of camouflage nets in the military is solved by the students with the simplest of means.

 Currently, because of the threat by air raids, most students are taught by home schooling, so fewer camouflage nets are produced than usual.

Home schooling or distance learning, which is still common at Ukrainian universities because of war and not sufficiant shelter capacities at the university for all students, is a challenge for various reasons. I had to make small changes to my "tutorial program", which I had prepared for weeks, because it was not possible in Lviv to teach online the way I was used to do like in Germany. But engineering education is extremely important in Ukraine, because the country needs civil engineers for rebuilding Ukraine after war. The fact is, however, that a generation of engineers is lost to the war.

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Fallen soldiers of Lviv

Memorial posters for fallen graduates of the university are displayed on the walls on the way to the office. Since the numbers of fallen Ukrainian soldiers are secret and will be announced only after the war, it is not known exactly how many students and graduates of the University of Lviv have already died in the war. However, the memorial posters that are already hanging make you think about the war.

died: 3rd July 2022
21 years

died: 28th September 2022
36 years

died: ? 2023
27 years

   

Before I traveled to Ukraine, I read about Ukraine as the "land of the brave". I guess that's true. When you see those posters of deceased students that I pasted every morning to the office, discussions in Germany about increased costs in energy, fuel and heating ... seem out of place. It is more or less "nothing" compared to what the Ukrainians have to endure in this war. Also near the town hall is a place to commemorate the recently fallen soldiers from Lviv.

At the town hall are posted notices on soldiers
from Lviv who have fallen recently

died: 17th February 2023
38 years

... leaves behind his mother, sister,
brother, wife, aunt ...

 

 

Lycakivs'ke cemetery - "Ukrainian war memorial cemetery"

An important place before the war was already Lycakivs'ke Cemetery (L√ľtzenhofer Cemetery). It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe and a "gallery of artworks". For people from Lviv it has become a special place, because with the beginning of the war in 2014 all fallen soldiers coming from Lviv were buried here. There are already many fallen soldiers from 2014 to 2022 buried on this cemetery, some of whom reached only the age of 20 years. With the beginning of the invasion, new dead were added weekly, so that after a few weeks the available space in this area had no more free grave sites.

Cementery for ukrainian soldiers  | 
Area of fallen soldiers from 2014 to 2022

Cementery for ukrainian soldiers  |   To the left of the center is the area of fallen soldiers from the beginning of the invasion in 2022.

 

Lycakivs'ke cemetery - Extension of the "Ukrainian War Memorial" outside the cemetery.

I first visited the Lycakivs'ke cemetery and the actual "Ukrainian War Memorial" on the Lycakivs'ke during a bicycle tour. The graves found on this cementery make you think about this war and deeply concerned. When I left the cemetery and continued cycling, I unexpectedly passed the new "Ukrainian War Memorial", which size is shocking. Several burials of fallen Lviv soldiers take place here every week. Men and also women are buried here who have not even reached the average age of my students in Germany.

died: 28th September 2022
36 years
Grove of a student from
Lviv University

died: 22nd July 2022
27 years

died: 6th July 2022
28 years

died: 18th June 2022
19 years

extended war memorial outside Lycakivs'ke cemetery  | 
Area outside the actual Lycakivs'ke cemetery  |
Another grave has already been excavated (left).

extended war memorial outside Lycakivs'ke cemetery  | 
Roberta Metsola was also here  | 
I wonder if she went through the rows and looked at the age of the fallen soldiers?

A walk through the rows of graves makes one very thoughtful. A small child of about three years old, which is holding his mother's hand as they walk away from a grave, turns back, waves his free hand and calls out loudly: "Bye, Dad""! Watching this just let you without any words.

 

A Walk through the rows of graves of fallen soldiers at the cemetery in Lviv  |  Very depressing!

 

While looking at these long rows of graves I realized that the longer we delay or deny help, the longer the rows of graves will become at Lycakivs'ke cemetery. Another year of war and this field will probably not be able to accommodate another grave site.

It also came in my mind that a "hungry, aggressive polar bear" can hardly be deterred from attacking or be convinced to coexist with "peaceful dialogue" (@ Ms Sahra Wagenknecht et al.). I am not aware of any incident where a seal or a human being survived a "peaceful dialogue" with a hungry polar bear. And it is probably similar between Russia and Ukraine. A "hungry, aggressive state" will not be calmed with talks, but only with strength and demonstration of power. The people here in Lviv see it that way. They defy all adverse circumstances of this war (see also Spiegel report of 06.03.2023: "How the Ukrainian economy defies Putin"). However: Talking helps in many cases, too, of course!

By the way, every Ukrainian city has such a war memorial. And every city commemorates its fallen soldiers in its own way. In Ivano-Frankivsk the main shopping street is full of billboards of deceased Ivano-Frankivsk citizens.

Ivano-Frankivsk:
Commemoration of the fallen soldiers in
the city center

died: 25th January 2023
27 years

"Elderly soldier, sniper ... Died during a combat mission ..., Bachmut district, Donets region, due to mortar fire."

Ivano-Frankivsk:
Commemoration of the fallen soldiers in
the city center

Ivano-Frankivsk:
Whole walls of houses honor soldiers
(and their weapons)

And on the other side in Russia the rows of graves of the fallen could be even longer - one should also think about that.

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Lycakivs'ke cemetery - "Gallery of artworks"

The cemetery features many magnificent gravesites. There are over 2,000 family graves in the cemetery and about 500 impressive monuments and grave sculptures. With all the artwork, you could spend days in this cemetery.

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Lviv city centre

Lviv is a city with many cozy cafes, restaurants and pubs and a city full of monuments. The "Tram" itself is a moving monument and still runs as it did years ago in Soviet times. It's also a city that used on cobblestones when building roads - a (small) challenge with a bike with small wheels. You can get everything which is also availabke in Germany. And best of all, there are a lot of nice, polite and helpful people here, despite the war.

Lviv is a city full of monuments  |
Architecturally, Lviv is probably a "pearl", because Lviv is very old and has been under various different influences over the past hundreds of years.

A monumet follows ...

... the next monument.

And the city center at the town hall with all its
pretty buildings is a monument itself.

Despite all these monuments, it is quite good visible that a lot of sand bags are used to provide shelters (see background).

Piles of sand bags that turn a basement into a shelter can be seen all over the city.

If you cannot find a monument in a street, there are at least som beautiful buildings from the "Habsburg period" or the "Tram".

The "Tram" is so old that driving with it takes you back to a completely different time.

The opera house in the center of Lviv

The program of the opera
for March 2023

Lviv combines various cultural influences over many centuries  |
The period of the "Habsburg" however, can be seen all over the city.

The city hall in the city center is a fantastic place  |
I don't know a city with more cobblestones than Lviv.

Lviv is both in once: a "time capsule" and a "time machine"  |
One part of Lviv seems to have stopped somewhere in the past
and another part pf Lviv is already somewhere in the future.

Some houses along the pathway are pure artworks.

The Soviet era sends its regards  |
A "Man-Lifter" from old Soviet times.

The Soviet era sends its regards  |
An "amusement park" from old Soviet times.

Lviv is as beautiful by night ...

... as it is by daylight.

Lviv = monuments after monuments

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Cafe and pub culture in Lviv

 

Lviv also has a nice café and pub culture. One cafe or pub is nicer than the other. The food is good and very tasty.

A famous Lviv coffee manufacturer with cafe.

The basement of the coffee manufacturer is used as a pub and museum  |  You can still see all the old equipment to prepare coffee  |  Pub access only with helmet.

A day teaching at the university, with 3 air raid alarms, ends in a lovely pub | One pub is really nicer than the other | The food is very good.

Do not carry chocolate with you from Germany to Lviv - is not worth it  |  Lviv has his own chocolate manufacturer.

Insider tip: The Lviv chocolate manufacturer with cafe - terrific!

The German "Hefeweizen" is called "Hefeweizen" in Lviv.

In the "Pravda Beer Theater" the beer is brewed itself and is called, for example, "Neptune"  |
Since the sinking of the Russian flagship "Moskva" by a "Neptune ship rocket" the rocket is shown on the bottle itself.

 

There are enough beers here available and they are really good (brewed according to German regulations)

 

A pub band like I have never experienced before. This was only topped when everyone in the pub sang along with the band.

What a sound!
What a mood!

And now all  |  With a obituary of Putin at the end of the song (translated: "Putin" - All: "You small D...")

Definitely the favorite song of all Ukrainians  |
It is an old Ukrainian folk song  |
Listen to it!

Song of the Red Flower

Confess to me
Where you get those charms
Every day without you
Makes me a prisoner of Sadness
Maybe somewhere in woods
You sought magic herbs
You found the sun-gold ruta and put me under a spell
Chorus:
Do not seek the red flower
In the evenings
You’re the only one I have, believe me
For you beauty is crystal clear water,
Is the rushing water of the blue mountains ...

 

Ribs pub "At Arsenal"

Ribs pub "At Arsenal" is a cellar with a really nice atmosphere.

The pork ribs are grilled over open fire ...

... and served without cutlery  | 
Everything must be eaten with fingers.

 

Schweinerippchen werden am Tisch zerkleinert.

 

If this report has given you the idea of planning a city trip to Lviv, don't take any food or drink with you. Especially no chocolate and no beer - you can buy them there in best quality and also quite cheap.

Everything is available in Lviv!

You can also buy German beer in Lviv.

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Lviv at night

 

Lviv is a charming city, even though air alarms can be heard almost every day. This city is more European than many other European cities I know. Even at night (just before 10 pm) there is real life on the streets in Lviv. It is rather dark compared to other cities, but that doesn't bother people. On the contrary, it creates an atmosphere that suits this city. Until the curfew at 12 pm (lasts until 5 am in the morning) you can move completely freely and safely (even as a woman).   

At night just before 10 pm
- Lviv nightlife!

At night just before 10 pm
- Lviv nightlife!

 

At night just before 10 pm
- Lviv nightlife!

 

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Lviv and the beer  |  the Lviv Brewery Museum

 

In earlier times, many Germans moved to Lviv, bringing with them the culture of brewing beer. This culture has been preserved for centuries and can still be found in Lviv today. On one of my Sunday bike rides crisscrossing Lviv, I suddenly found myself in front of a brewery and the Lviv Brewery Museum. I had to stop by and was very impressed. Especially the beer tasting at the end was excellent. All four beers were very tasty.

The history of beer brewing in Lviv

The lion is the heraldic animal of Lviv

Brewing beer went hand in hand with the production of wooden barrels  | 
Another craft from Lviv.

Lviv had many breweries in old times, as this map from Lviv shows ;-)  | 
The university is also already shown in this map (No. 34).

Lviv used to be a "tech center" (and probably will be again someday)

This colleague from stone
invited to a picture

The Lviv Brewery Museum -
a museum worth seeing

In the Lviv Brewery Museum brewing beer was also visualized in a 3D room. Standing in the middle of this room, you get the feeling of being "malt" or "hops" in the beer!

Beer tasting is also available  |
I can recommend all 4 beers!

Brewing beer visualized in 3D!

 

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Conclusion of my teaching engagement in Lviv

 

You can see that the people in Lviv do not want to belong to Russia. Lviv is about 600 km from Vienna and about 900 km from Munich but more than 1.100 km from Moscow. In Lviv, apart from Soviet prefabricated buildings and amusement parks, little reminds one of Russia, for most of what there is to discover has its origins in Austrian and many other cultures.  

As there is also a clinic and rehabilitation center for injured soldiers in Lviv, you can always see men walking around the city center with walking sticks, probably due to war injuries. These injured soldiers, and especially the hundreds of graves in the Lycakivs'ke cemetery, give one the feeling that Ukrainians are willing to pay a (very) high price for their freedom and independence. These people will probably never accept to belong to Russia. I am glad to be here to help a little by showing the students of Lviv University the importance of "construction management", "infrastructure construction" and "engineering work" for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Ukrainians will urgently need this knowledge in the near future.

 

If you want to help me, you are most welcome to do so. Just click on my "betterplace.me" link. Finally, it only remains for me to give the following advice: Visit Lviv, because the city is worth a trip!

Lviv is worth to travel

Famous Ukrainian stamp - This war is absolutly useless

 

 


last updated: March 2023

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