Lviv is a city in western Ukraine. The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically has also been a major Polish and Jewish cultural center, as Poles and Jews were the two main ethnicities of the city until the outbreak of World War II and the following Holocaust and Polish population transfers (19441946). The historical heart of Lviv with its old buildings and cobblestone roads has survived World War II and ensuing Soviet presence largely unscathed. The city has many industries and institutions of higher education such as the Lviv University and the Lviv Polytechnic. Lviv is also a home to many world-class cultural institutions, including a philharmonic orchestra and the famous Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. The historic city centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lviv celebrated its 750th anniversary with a son et lumière in the city centre in September 2006.
Lviv was founded in 1256 in Red Ruthenia by King Danylo Halytskyi of the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honour of his son, Lev. Together with the rest of Red Ruthenia, Lviv was captured by the Kingdom of Poland in 1349 during the reign of Polish king Casimir III the Great. Lviv belonged to the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland 13491772, the Austrian Empire 17721918 and the Second Polish Republic 19181939. With the Invasion of Poland at the outbreak of the second World War, the city of Lviv with adjacent land were annexed and incorporated into the Soviet Union, becoming part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1939 to 1941.