ⓘ Batiar


ⓘ Batiar

Batiar, a popular name for a certain class of inhabitants of city of Lviv. It is considered a part of the citys subculture, Lvivs "knajpa" lifestyle, and became a phenomenon at the beginning of the twentieth century although its roots go back to the mid nineteenth century. It declined after the Soviet occupation of Eastern Poland and its annexation to the Soviet Union as part of the Ukrainian SSR in 1939 and again in 1945. The Soviet authorities expelled most of the Polish inhabitants and suppressed the local Polish culture. However, the use of the term continued, and it is a popular term of endearment in todays Lviv.


1. Roots of the term

Origins of the term may be Hungarian, since in 19th century Lviv was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, some of its policemen were Hungarians and they brought the term to the local dialect from their native language.

Definition by the Encyclopædia Britannica:


2. History

It was the name of lower-class inhabitants of Lwow the "elite of Lvivs streets". Batiars spoke their distinctive version of the Polish language, which was called Balak and was a variant of the Lwow dialect. A typical batiar in common imagination was usually financially challenged, but honest and generous urban citizen with a great sense of humor. Among most famous batiars, there were such names as radio personalities Kazimierz Wajda and Henryk Vogelfanger of the highly popular Wesola Lwowska Fala radio show, as well as football star Michal Matyas, who played for Pogon Lwow and the national team of Poland.

The name is still in local use, but now in the Ukrainian language. Now batiars are the playboys of the Ukrainian Piedmont, as Eastern Galicia is sometimes referred to, and are easily identified by exquisite manners, stylish attire, and an obligatory attribute of every batiar lyaska, a staff or a walking stick.



A woman of a batiar could not have been called a batiarka, manners didnt allow. However, to become a batiars koliezanka that was an honor for a dame.


4. Cultural influence

The Batiars Day in Lviv replaced the Soviet holiday of 1 May the Labor Day, the Day of Workers Solidarity. Batiars also adopted the proletarian motto: Batiars of all countries unite!.

At the time of the rise of batiars culture, Lvivs Polish-Jewish poet Emanuel Szlechter wrote lyrics for a song that became well known in prewar Poland, Tylko we Lwowie "Only in Lviv" which became the anthem of batiars, and the accompanying music was written by another ethnic Jew, the Polish Henryk Wars. The Ukrainian repertoire of that song is performed by Yurko Hnatovsky in retro-psychedelic style and Zosya Fedina.


5. Batiars of 21st century

The urban subculture of todays Lviv continues to develop with different styles arising out of its ferment. Among the most prominent representatives are Vova zi Lvova, Orest Lyutyi, and many others.