Welcome to Lutsk, one of the oldest cities in Ukraine. The first mention of it dates back to 1085, when the Volyn principality was just being formed.
I will tell my impressions from walking around Lutsk and interesting facts about this city, its peculiarities.
97% of the 215 thousand population speaks Ukrainian and it is reported that this is the most Ukrainian-speaking city. There are friendly people here and whatever language you speak here, you will be understood. Even in Russian. There is no prejudice, even in our time of war (2023).
As for me, Lutsk is very apolitical and there is no big mix of Ukrainian and neighboring cultures here, although it is very close to the border with Poland and another state (I won’t say the name, because I’m not comfortable with it). You can feel it, including in restaurants – a lot of Ukrainian cuisine. There is, of course, Georgian, Italian, Austrian, but it is more like exotic than usual for these places (in my opinion).
Walking around Lutsk it is hard to say that it is a very old (in terms of age) city. There are neat, clean streets, a lot of beautiful murals on the houses and very few old, even ancient buildings and structures. If you look – the oldest are XVII, XIX century – except for the Old Town.
In the Old Town there is Lutsk Castle (Lubart’s Castle) and many other historical buildings, but it is such a small piece of land compared to the rest of the city that you can walk around it in two hours and still not feel the antiquity that you would like.
Now Lutsk most likely resembles a young city. With wide roads, alleys, smooth sidewalks and bike paths. It is young also because there are a lot of young people here. If earlier I met so many students in Kharkiv, now Lutsk has been added to my list. I noticed neatness in Lutsk. A lot of people wear branded clothes. I did not meet homeless people and animals on the streets. As for animals, I was very surprised – very few stray cats and dogs.
And Lutsk is also the city of mourning. There are many monuments and memorial plaques to the blackest pages of Ukrainian history – from the shootings of Ukrainians by the NKVD (Stalin’s police) to the memorials to those who died in the Russian-Ukrainian war of 2022, which are still under construction. There is even a whole park where you can walk for hours and see where this or that monument is dedicated to this or that event.
Lutsk is a city of electric transportation. I saw more trolleybuses than shuttle buses. If there are large municipal buses and you pay for the fare here not by handing money to the driver (as in many cities), but by paying at a contactless terminal with a credit card or a special pass. Public transportation is well developed in Lutsk and you can go anywhere in the city.
Lutsk cultural and political
I was surprised that there was a lot of attention to cultural figures, less to political figures. It turns out that Lutsk is also about culture. There are plenty of museums here, and there are also great exhibitions of modern art.
I was surprised by the fact that there are no big chains of stores in the city that I am used to as a resident of Dnipro. ATB, Varus (Ukrainian national retailers). Only Silpo and local chains that I have never heard of before, for example, Tam-Tam. There are ATB, but there are only a couple of stores and they are on the outskirts.
This is how Lutsk is through the eyes of a tourist. Come here, walk around the city, see the sights and everyone will find something different in this friendly and tidy city.