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History of origin of Khotyn city and Khotyn fortress

Khotyn is a city of district submission. Khotyn district borders on such districts of Chernivtsi region - Zastavna on the west, Novoselytsya - on the south, Kelmentsi - on the east, and on the north - with Ternopil and Khmelnytskyy regions. Center of Khotyn district  located on the right bank of Dnister, in his middle flow. To the nearest railway station in Kamyanets-Podilskyy - 20 km, to the regional center - Chernivtsi is 65 km. The population is 12 thousands people.

Khotyn is one of the known and oldest cities of Ukraine, which in 2002 celebrated the millennium. In fact exactly at the beginning of ХІ age it’s traced its continuous development, which in obedience to information of archaeological researches and information of writing sources, was not halted consequently during the whole second millennium. Although on territory of the city found out the settlement of primitive people of "trypilska" culture, early ferrous and early slavonic time, however there was a direct succession between them. Settlements which preceded a city Khotyn were  ordinary  agricultural villages which, did not differ from other settlements on the territory of Middle Dnister. 

Specialists examine the origin of early medieval city of Khotyn as direct investigation of including of territory between Carpathians and Dnister in the complement of Kievan principality at the end of X age (approximately in 993 - 1001 years), when the big Kievan prince Volodymyr overmastered annalistic pedigree principalities of east Croats and Tiverets finally. Khotyn fortress became one of centers of princely power. It was built on the border of X-XI ages on the naze in 20 meters high, located between a canyon of Dnester and narrow  arched canyon of brook,  which  rounded this naze from western and north sides. Being an administrative center the fortress controlled the single road which went out from the everlasting forests by the bank of brook to the ferriage on Dnester exactly at the foot of rock which a stronghold overpeered on.

According to traditions defensive architecture of Old Rus, first strengthenings were wooden and earthen. Their basis was made by an earthen billow, fixed frame constructions. Without regard to that they were not saved, existence of the main building of the fortress in XI age does not cause doubts. In fact only at his presence there could be settlement tailings of which archaeologists found out at the Sonth side on the area of 20 hectares. Presumably from the beginning this city had the name Khotyn - «Khotin'». It originated from the slavonic  name Khotyn (Khotin), widespread exactly in a XI-XII ages. In a modern language its semantic value similar  to the adjective "desired", "desirable". Possibly it was the name of the first princely voevode, who managed the building of the castle.

Moldavian and Romanian writer and historian B.P.Khashdeu marks in the works: "naive folk legend talks that a Khotyn fortress was first built yet at life of Jesus Christ"(Khashdeu. Select. - Kishnev, 1978 - p.186).

The Encyclopaedic dictionary of Brokgauza-Efrona (St-Petersburg, 1903) on page 588 reports that foundation of the city of Khotyn is added the leader of daks - Kotizon, on behalf of who the city was named.And building of Khotyn fortress belongs to time of Genoeses domination here which had on a bank of Dnester point-of-sale bases and trading posts.

In 1961 scientific expedition of the Chernivtsi regional museum worked in Khotyn. The connoisseurs of defensive architecture from Kyiv at the head with professor G.N.Logvyn, archaeologists from Kishinev, students of the Chernivtsi university under the direction of the known archaeologist B.O.Timoschuk, researchers of a particular region from Chernivtsi took part at the expedition. During four summer seasons researchers dug out ancient ruins, collected things, carefully studied cultural stratifications. And gradually an initial history of Khotyn was forming, history which is unwitnessed by writing sources. Archaeological excavations witnessed that people have lived here in copper age yet - about 5 thousand years ago. They settled on a cape in an early ferrous epoch (first millennium B.C.). 

Exactly here Khotyn became its development. From beginning it was small, built by east slavs wooden fortress, its insignificant tailings were found out during excavations. Unfortunately, it was not succeeded to set time of construction of the wooden fortress, and consequently of the city of Khotyn, because of building of wooden castle the oldest cultural stratifications were destroyed. Next to a wooden fortress and simultaneously with it there was an unfortified settlement. On his territory semiearthen habitations with stoned stoves was dug out, which   are dated by IX-X ages, and on the depth of 1.2 - 1.4 meters the cultural layer of VII - VIII ages was found out. These materials testify about existence of Khotyn as a slav settlement already in VIII age. Since then life on his territory was not halted.

In X-XI ages Khotyn entered to the Kievan Rus. In development of ancient Khotyn a large role was played by trade. Its strengthening guarded a large ferriage on Dnestr and restrained the predatory raids of conquerors. And in ХІІ - ХІІІ ages, when Khotyn entered to the Galychina-Volhyn state, his development was closely connected with a trade-route which gone down the Dnestr.



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