Russian Street 4 - Calle Rusa, 4

En esta región de Europa, si uno tiene más de noventa y nueve años, no será excepcional que haya sido ciudadano de cinco o seis países sin haberse movido de, digamos, Rimavská Sobota. Lo mismo vale, claro está, para los edificios.
Around this region of Europe it is not unusual for someone past ninety-nine to have been citizen of five or six countries without having ever moved, say, from Rimavská Sobota. The same holds for the houses.

La puerta de la casa da a la plaza principal de Lwów; su patios, con unos túneles ratoneros de interconexión, se abren paso al fondo hasta la calle de la Judería. El edificio medieval convertido en el siglo XVI en una casa de estilo renacentista lo compró en 1610 la familia de comerciantes armenios Wartanowicz. Allí, en las ventanas que dan al patio, dejaron inscripciones en grabar —antiguo armenio— que hasta ahora no hemos conseguido que nos las traduzcan en los foros armenios donde hemos preguntado. También dejaron encima del arco una cabeza de león con un racimo de uvas en la boca (esta foto no nos salió bien, pero habrá una próxima vez), lo que sugiere que el café polaco «Pod niebieską butelką – Під синьою фляжкою» (a la botella azul), decorado según el gusto Art Nouveau del Lemberg de la Monarquía, contempla una historia de varios siglos. Las puertas del gótico tardío alemán, los marcos armenios renacentistas de las ventanas, los pavimentos austro-húngaros, los carteles de estilo Art Nouveau polaco, los pasadizos tipo kommunalka soviéticos, los graffiti y las pegatinas ucranianas a favor de Bandera y Shukevich se superponen unos a otros y a la vez marcan claramente sus distancias. Y en la jamba derecha de la puerta, todavía, el testimonio persistente de la mezuzá.The gate of the house overlooks the main square of Lwów, its interconnecting, mouse-hole-like inner courtyards finally outcrop in the Old Jewish street. The medieval building converted into a renaissance house in the 16th century was purchased in 1610 by the Armenian Wartanowicz merchant family. They left the Grabar – ancient Armenian – inscriptions on the windows of the patio, which hitherto in every Armenian forum they have been lazy to translate for us, as well as the lion’s head above the arch with a cluster of grapes in the mouth – this photo failed, but there will be a next time – suggesting that the Polish café “Pod niebieską butelką – Під синьою фляжкою” (To the Blue Bottle) established in the Art Nouveau style of the Monarchy’s Lemberg looks back to several centuries old precedents here. German Late Gothic gates, Armenian Renaissance window frames, Austro-Hungarian pavements, Polish Art Nouveau signboards, Soviet kommunalka lobbies, Ukrainian graffiti and stickers cheering Bandera and Shukevich layer on, mingle with and yet separate sharply from each other. And on the right doorpost still there is the trace of the mezuzah.

11 comentarios:

walter dijo...

Decay, destruction, disappearance and death, how dark the path of the río Wang.

Studiolum dijo...

…and beauty and humanity always sprouting again after every destruction. This is the path of life.

Andrey dijo...

What the hell, Russian streets!
This is Lviv! Lviv was not Russia!

Studiolum dijo...

Andrey, once you’ve calmed down, take a map of Lviv and check the name of the street.

Effe dijo...

It's a gift: you're able to see the beauty on scraped walls.
Beauty, furthermore, is not only in existing things: there is beauty also in things that disappear.

And, to Andrey: I knew that Lemberik was in Galicia, or at least in Poland. It's true: you can change country without moving, sometimes, and somewhere.

Studiolum dijo...

Lemberik, Lviv, and I don’t repeat the many names again, was in Red Ruthenia, Poland, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the Soviet Union and the Ukraine, and was inhabited by Poles, Jews, Ruthenians (since about a century called Ukrainians), Rusyns, Armenians, Italians, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and many other nations and ethnic groups. This house with the Armenian inscriptions and the mezuzah on the doorpost stands at the corner of the Russian and Serbian streets; this section of the latter was earlier called Scottish Street (and only the southern part was Serbian) from the Irish monks coming here in the Middle Ages; here, in the Scottish Street stood the Café Szkocka, the Scottish Café, where the greatest mathematicians of the time gathered regularly to offer mathematical problems to each other, and their “protocols”, offered by the wife of one of them, has become world famous after being published in the USA.

Ich bin ein Lemberger.

Effe dijo...

we all would like to be Lembergers

Anónimo dijo...


As always, it is healing to read your perspective on those matters, especially on the cultural richness denied by genocidal WWII and intermittent nation-state ideologies.

My grandmother was also the citizen of several countries without having moved from her village: Austria-Hungary, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the puppet state of NDH, Socialist Yugoslavia and finally the NATO protectorate of Bosnia. She was not a kind or principled woman, but she was a victim of her region's history, along with the good and the bad.

In recent months, I have been making baby-steps toward integrating some central European elements of my self. Given that my mother's family is so Germanophile, and that I've eschewed those aspects all my life, it is hard. I want to run away and read some Chaghatay! (partially of course joking here, because the best Chaghatay scholars have been Hungarian).

But I'm here to ask some questions:

It would be wonderful to read at some point on the question of language in early modern Hungary. It is difficult to find a good analysis of Hungarian versus Latin (or German) before the 19th century.

I refer primarily to the written record. What would a researcher need to know for the archives? How much Hungarian literary production was there? How close is 17th century Hungarian to that taught in language manuals, which is post-language reform?

And a practical question -- would the current staff at the archives know English or German (my guess is, the latter)?

No rush in writing, but I would really appreciate an article on this because of your intelligence and your sensitivity to the wider world.


Studiolum dijo...

Hey, binmashish, it’s a great pleasure to read you again.

Yes, I think most of us here „from the Baltic to the Adria” as the old movement song has it, have similar composite paths behind us, both in the history of the place where we live and in the threads making up our identity. The bad side of it is well known; but it’s also a source of pleasure and richness (once you managed to survive it).

I’m really happy and honored to help you in whatever I can concerning old Hungarian. What are you interested in exactly? In the changes of the language itself? (Hungarian changed surprisingly few since the first written texts in the early 13th and the first recorded words in the 11th century.) Or in the everyday/literary use of it as opposed to Latin and other languages? (This is a more complex question, but has a good literature.) Or the proportion of Hungarian vs. Latin/other texts in the archives? Or a general introduction (eventually in more than one chunk) into the history of medieval Hungarian language and literature (which I am happy to compile).

As to the archives, nowadays young staff speaks more English than German. And 17th century Hungarian, as used in manuscripts, is surprisingly close to post-reform (I mean the great early 19th century language reform) Hungarian which mainly consisted in coining new words, so that one speaking modern Hungarian can fully understood 17th century texts, but not vice versa (although this has never been empirically tested). The difficulty is in 17th century orthography, which was absolutely idiosyncratic, so sometimes it takes time even for a native Hungarian speaker to find out which well known word is represented in a given form.

Looking forward to hear about you soon!

Anónimo dijo...

Thanks a lot for the speedy response!

I've always had a preference for medieval history, but I eventually ended up mostly working on the early modern period, especially between the late fifteenth and the eighteenth century.

Accordingly, even though the medieval developments really interest me, my question here relates to the linguistic landscapes of early modern Hungary, especially in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. What were the social landscapes occupied by Hungarian and Latin, respectively? It seems that there is a decent amount of literature in Hungarian, but is the archival evidence also in Hungarian, or is it in Latin? I am only familiar with some Ottoman documents...

Indeed, as for empirical testing through time -- I'd like to test a fluent speaker of Ottoman on some modern Turkish as well, but it is a bit hard to find a capable informant.

So from what I understand, the morphology of Hungarian is basically the same in the 17th century as today? Orthographic questions don't scare me, I like the idiosyncrasy.

I'm also asking because I remember reading that the earliest fragments preserved in Hungarian are quite different than the later stages of the language (if memory serves instead of google, there is a word I know, "beszeda", in there).

Anyway, there I am, digging into medieval questions again, but in reality, most people simply ignore the early modern period except for informing us about the first book to be printed. Of course, I also wonder what the bulk of the loanwords from this period would be -- Latin? German? some Anatolian Turkish?

Many thanks for your response, I know I'll be happy to read it.

Anónimo dijo...

Oh, just to add -- I keep stressing the archives here, mainly because I can't find that information easily and because that's what I'd be working with.

But I am very much interested in literature and its genres, particularly the secular ones. I know for instance that Zrinyi Miklos aka Nikola Zrinski composed an epic poem in Hungarian. Again, in terms of the questions above, why Hungarian and not Latin? Who would be the readers? Which "foreign words" are used? Is there a lot of such secular literature from this period?

Questions, questions, questions...