The first known Jewish settlers in Lviv date back to 1256 and became an important part of the city's cultural life, making significant contributions in trade, science and culture. Apart from the Rabbinate Jews there were many Karaite Jews who had settled in the city after coming from the East and from Byzantium. After Casimir III conquered Lviv in 1349 the Jewish citizens received many privileges equal to that of other citizens of Poland.
Lviv had two separate Jewish quarters, one within the city walls and one outside on the outskirts of the city. Each had their separate synagogues, although they both shared a cemetery which was also used by the Karaite community. Before 1939 the city had 97 synagogues.
Before the Holocaust about one third of the city's population was made up of Jews (more than 100,000 on the eve of WWII). In the 1970s the city had over 30,000 Jews. Currently the Jewish population has shrunk considerably as a result of emigration, and to a lesser degree assimilation, and is estimated at 2,000. A number of organizations continue to be active.