Learn more about Khortytsia

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See also Russian Mennonite community Chortitza. Coordinates: 47°49′″N, 35°6′″E
Image:Khortytsya from space.jpg
View of Khortitsa from space.

Khortytsia Island (Ukrainian: Хортиця, Russian: Хортица, Khortitsa) is a large island on the Dnieper which played a vital role in the history of Ukraine. The island, situated within the modern industrial city of Zaporizhzhia and extending from northwest to southeast for more than twelve kilometers, has an average width of 2,500 meters. There are oak groves, fir woods, meadows, and steppe.


[edit] History

Zaporizhzhia takes its name from nine Dnieper cataracts, which were leveled in the 1930s, when the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station was constructed immediately upstream. Only granite cliffs, rising to the height of 50 meters, testify to the original rocky terrain of the site.
Image:Khortitsa Kapishhe.jpg
A Neolithic altar reconstructed at Khortitsa.

The island has been continuously inhabited during the last five millennia or so. In the Early Middle Ages, it was a key station on the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. In his treatise De Administrando Imperio, Emperor Constantine VII mentions a certain island of St. George immediately downstream from the rapids. He reports that, while passing through the cataracts, the Rus would be easy prey for the nomadic Pechenegs. Indeed, the Rus' leader Svyatoslav I was attacked and killed during his attempt to cross the rapids in 972.

Starting from the 16th century, a Cossack stronghold on Khortytsia formed the core of the network of forts, which comprised the Zaporizhian Sich. The stronghold on Khortytsia was established by the Polish-Ukrainian magnate Prince Dymitr Wisniowiecki. It was there that the Cossacks would elect their hetmans. It was also there that they wrote the notorious reply to the Ottoman Sultan. By the 18th century, the Sich had been subjugated by the Russians, who built new fortifications for the wars they waged against the Ottoman Empire.

[edit] Museum

Nowadays, Khortysia is designated a national museum. The rural landscape of the island features the Zaporizhian Cossack Museum and a Cossack horse show. The museum building is modern, nestling low in the landscape with dramatic views of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station to the north.

The museum contains exhibits dating from the Stone Age through the Scythian period (c.750 - 250 BC) down to the 20th century, including a model of the Pecheneg ambush which claimed the life of Svyatoslav in 972 and a panorama representing the Battle for Zaporizhia, fought during World War II on October 14, 1943.

[edit] See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

[edit] External links

Volkhov-Volga trade route: Lyubsha | Aldeigja | Álaborg | Hólmgarðr | Sarskoe | Timerevo
Dvina-Dnieper trade route: Pallteskja | Gnezdovo | Chernigov | Kænugarðr
Other locations: Bjarmaland | Khortitsa | White Shores | Miklagarðr | Særkland
Varangians | Rus' | Slavs | Merya | Bulgars | Khazars

ru:Хортица uk:Хортиця


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