Khotyn fortress can be called one of the most popular objects of the kind in Ukraine. This fortress really impresses people by its power and impregnability and it is one of the best preserved fortifications. Every year, thousands of tourists from all over the world visit it. Many people remember the fortress on the river bank by famous movies. Film-makers often used it as a piece of scenery for episodes of many movies.
Inside the fortress is divided into two courts, a court for soldiers surrounded by barracks and with a well in the center, the commandant court between the Commandant’s palace and the Northern Tower. This tower is the largest, and defenders could keep in it even when enemy managed to set inside the fortress court.
The fortress itself is more than just old — its age is about a thousand years! During that period, both appearance of the construction and the rulers of the adjoining lands have changed not for once. This place saw first fortifications back in the times of Kievan Rus, in the 11th century. The stone-built stronghold we can see now was constructed in the 14th century, when Khotyn belonged to the Moldavian Princedom. As a border town, Khotyn always had an important the economic life of the princedom. It housed a customs merchants coming from other regions actively traded their goods and held large fairs. Around the walls of the castle, town streets and lanes gradually grew with artisans coming here to live and work.
For many years, the Moldavian princedom was a vassal to the Ottoman Empire. In the fortress, there lived a Turkish borsholder who brought here his own harem and installed a Turkish bath.
In 1621, the Khotyn fortress witnessed a dramatic event — there a decisive battle of the Polish-Turkish war took place. The army of Zaporozhian Cossack under hetman Petro Sagaydachny played a very important role in securing this victory. The battle ended in a truce that prevented Turks from capturing Podillya region and pushing farther to conquer Europe.
The Khotyn stronghold happened to witness many battles. In the 18th century, Turks captured it again, and did their best to make it still more impregnable.
It is then that the fortress received its external ring of fortifications, the so-called New Fortress. However, after the Russo-Turkish war of 1806-1812, Khotyn was included into the Russian Empire. It received a Russian garrison and the church of Alexander Nevsky, which is still working and is in a good state of preservation.
The fortress of Khotyn on the map