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Zaporizhzhya Sights | Khortytsia Zaporozhian Sich and Cossacks
Individual and group tours to Zaporizhzhya

Zaporizhzhya Sights - Khortytsia Zaporizhian Sich and Cossacks
According to historical researchers Khortitska Sich was the first of a series of Zaporozhian Siches. Khortitska Sich was organized in 1552 at own expense of Dmitry Vyshnevetsky known in the cossack folk tales under the name of Baida.

It was a fortress built on Dniper island called Small Khortytsya on lands controlled by the Crimean Khan. The fortress lasted 6 years. The idea which was guided by Dmitry Vyshnevetsky - to create a cordon in the lower reaches of the Dniper against the attacks of Crimean Khan, Rzeczpospolita and the Moscow kingdom.

Five subsequent Zaporozhian Siches - Tomakovskaya (1564-1593 gg.), Bazavlukskaya (1594-1638 gg.), Nikitinskaya (1639-1652 gg.), Chertomlykskaya (1652-1709 gg.), Pokrovskaya (1734-1775 gg.) were on the territory of the modern district and the city of Nikopol (Dnipropetrovsk region). Two other siches - Kamenskaya (1709-1711 gg.) and Aleshkinskaya (1711-1730 gg.) were downstream of the Dniper - on the lands of modern Kherson.

Zaporozhian Sich was located in a protected nature areas. It was surrounded by a moat and a 10-meter shaft on which stood a wooden palisade. Inside the sich was a square with the church and the pillory where the perpetrators were punished. Around the square there were cossack houses, officers houses, warehouses, arsenals, crafts and shops.

Zaporozhian Cossacks or Nizovy Cossacks called because of the place of their primary habitat - in the lower reaches of the Dniper below the Dniper rapids. The formation of a permanent main fortress ("kosh") later received the name of "sich". Cossacks lived in it and its surrounding became known as Sichovy Cossacks. Sich (Nizovy) Cossacks have lived separate and independent from any state community.

Admission to Zaporozhian Sich newcomer was carried out under the following conditions:
- He was supposed to be a free and unmarried
- Had a good talk in Cossack's language
- Had to confess the Orthodox faith and know the symbols of faith and prayer
- Had to undergo a full training on arrival at Zaporozhian Sich - explore the army orders and only then written to the "trusted comrades" list that could happen no sooner than seven years.

The main sources of income for the Zaporozhian Sich were the spoils of war and looting during the campaigns, foreign and domestic trade, wine sales, ferry tribute. By custom the best part of mining Cossacks gave to the church and the rest divided among themselves. The second significant portion of the proceeds were tribute from passing through Zaporozhian Sich lands by merchants, traders, industrialists and chumaks. A significant portion of the proceeds amounted to a tax on houses within the army. The last source of income was wages received by Zaporozhian Cossacks from the Polish King and then from Moscow Tsar.

The final fate of the Cossacks and Zaporozhian Sich was solved by August 5, 1775 signing of the Russian Empress Catherine II the manifesto:, "On the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich and joining it to Novorossiysk province".

In 2004 on Big Khortytsya Island began construction of reduced copy of the Zaporozhian Sich enclosed by a moat, rampart and timbered palisade with several towers. Already in 2009 the official opening of the Historical-Cultural Complex "Zaporozhian Sich" for visitors.

Big Khortytsya Island has an area of 2 386 hectares. It stretched for more than 12 km and a width of 2-3 km. The name of the island comes from the name of the sacred dogs (Hort) which protected the great pagan temple of the god Hors located on the island. A huge number of attractions like the pre-christian time spread out on the Khortitsa and almost every year archaeologists are finding new and more interesting objects.

In Ukraine said: "Zaporozhye Cossacks can deceive the devil himself." The Cossacks were wonderfully combined the sincere piety with no less sincere blasphemy: today could be kneeling at the icons and tomorrow - with bad language, remembering all the saints and devils.

There were "Urus devils" also called as "characterniki" - in other words close in meaning to the "magicians" and "wizards". According to legend they can disperse the clouds and cause a storm, turn into the animal, stay long time under water, go through the fire and heal the wound by word and even to return the dead to life! Characterniki had and what is now called hypnosis. In the old days it was called "take eyes away ".

Characterniki knows that their worst enemy is not Tatars and Turks but Love to the Woman. Saying "lost his head out of love" for the Cossacks had a literal meaning. It was believed that the woman takes the power of warrior. Characterniki who fall in love a woman were lost their vigilance and magical energy which is so necessary in combat.

It is said that Ataman Ivan Sirko, head of cossacks - do not lose a single battle and there were about 50, signed the famous letter to the Turkish Sultan Mehmet IV, participated in the capture of the fortress of Dunkirk during the Thirty Years War and after the death of Ataman Ivan Sirko - cossacks defeated enemies carring in the front of army his right severed arm.

His sobriquet was Ataman Ivan Pidkova for the fact that he could break by the fingers a horse shoe (in ukrainian - pidkova). He was so strong that not only break the horse shoes but thalers. Taking the rear wheel he stopped the carriage drawn by six horses. Taking the teeth barrel of honey threw it over his head.

Chronicler Martin Bielski described the death of Ataman Baida Vishnevetsky in Istanbul - he was thrown from a tower on the hooks in the wall of a bay. Caught on the edges of the hook he lived for three more days until the Turks did not kill him with bows and arrows because he blasphemed their faith.

After the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich last chieftain Peter Kalnishevsky was exiled to Solovki and died there at the age of 112 years!

You could visit Zaporizhzhya Sights - Khortytsia Zaporizhian Sich and Cossacks with

Pavel Korsun | Ukraine tours travel guide


Pavel Korsun
Ukraine and Kiev tour guide

Kiev Travel Guide
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