Khortytsia: one of the seven wonders of Ukraine.

Le complexe historique « Khortytsia » est l’un des endroits les plus célèbres d’Ukraine. C’est un symbole de l’indomptable nation ukrainienne, un symbole de liberté et de l’héritage de notre peuple.

The historical complex « Khortytsia » is one of the most famous places in Ukraine.  It is a symbol of the Ukrainian nation’s indomitability, a symbol of freedom and the legacy of our people.

Emperor of Byzantium Constantine VII (9th century) left as heritage for his son not only Byzantium and the phrase “Divide and conquer”, but also several encyclopaedias and the treatise “On Governance of the Empire”. In this work, in the chapter about the road from “Varangians to the Greeks” for the first time in history Khortytsia is mentioned, the biggest island of the Dnipro River and the symbol of free Ukrainian Cossacks

Nobody knows who were the island’s first inhabitants. Khortytsia became famous in times of Zaporizhian Sich (initially – a fortified military camp, later on – the largest organisation of free Ukrainian Cossacs). However, much more ancient settlements of Scythians, Sarmatians, Cimmerians and Slavs were found on the rocks of the island arising 35 metres over the Dnipro. Palaeolithic settlements from 35 thousand years ago were also found here. It is a real history book engraved in rocks.

At the end of the 15th century, Cossacks built their stronghold on the island. It was convenient because they could defend themselves, fish and keep bees, breed livestock in the steppe and hunt in the forests of Khortytsia. There was no oppressive serfdom there and everybody was free, which was unknown in feudal Medieval Ages.

Sich was the capital of the Cossack region, its administrative, religious, business and military centre.

The traditions of Zaporizhzhia Sich were passed down from generation to generation and multiplied.  Of course, the main thing for the Cossacks was martial art, and there were legends about their courage and martial skills.

 Since 1871 there has been a legend about the Sacred Red Oak of the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks.  Legend said that the leaves of this oak tree were red and stayed on the tree all winter.

In order to preserve historical memory and cultural heritage the historical and cultural complex “Zaporizhian Sich”, which represents a generalized picture of the Cossack Sich is located on Khortytsia. Here you can find the most striking elements of the architecture, culture and everyday life of the Zaporizhian Cossacks. The complex is divided into two parts: the inner part (Kish) and the suburbs, where artisan and trade objects are concentrated. On the central square (Maidan) there is the Church of Protection of the Holy Virgin. This is the largest building at the Sich.

Visitors of Khortytsia can attend performance of the Cossack theatre and learn about the military traditions of the Cossacks. Men dressed as Cossacks show how Cossack weapons and equipment were used in practice.

Although possibly not fully authentic, reviving the Sich  gives an image of former and modern Ukraine. This image is enthusiastic, free and brave, just like the Zaporizhian Cossacks.

                                                                                                                               Mariam Khodzhava

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