by Sasha Kurdyumova
The town of Khotyn lies on the right bank of the river Dnister. Archaeologists believe it was founded in the 8th - 9th centuries A.D., during the period of Eastern Slavs' active involvement in state formation. Practically isolated from major roads and contemporary life, the fairy tale-like Khotyn castle is best known for the 50 meters high walls that look out upon the wide, sweeping river as it flows south to the Black Sea. The castle was originally built in the 12th century out of wood and in the 15th century it was completely reconstructed, built of stone. Its 50 meters walls are still considered the tallest in the whole Europe, Kurmaz said. After the fall of the Galician-Volyn principality, Khotyn fortress was mainly controlled by the Cossacks until the Polish established control in the 15th century. The Turks took control of the fortress in the following century, but not for long.
The Khotyn castle is interesting particularly due to the famous battle that occurred just outside its walls in 1621. In the battle, Cossack Hetman Petro Sahaydachnyi defeated the Turks (army of 300, 000 men and officers) and struck an important peace agreement with them, which ultimately benefited the Poles and gave them power over the region. Khotyn finally came under Russian rule in 1793 and was mainly used as a prison up until the end of WWII.
Even today, the castle strikes visitors with its grandeur. Stone and earth fortifications stretch out for about a mile. This 12th - 16th century structure rests atop a man-made platform 10 meters deep, lying on a rocky ground - a genial piece of ancient engineering. Rectangular area 1,219 by 244 meters is enclosed in the earthwork rampart (8 m deep) enforced with bulwarks. The castle's stonework walls are ornamented with red bricks to resemble the style of Podillya rushnyky. This decoration looks particularly beautiful against the background of the Dniester valley.
How to get to Khotyn:
The distance from Kiev to Khotyn is about 565 kilometers. You can get there by car or by bus. Also you can gtake a train to Chernovtsi and reach Khotyn by bus from there.
Where to stay:
Khotyn town center
Address: Olympiyskaya 75
Phone: +38 03731 21 361