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Khortytsia Island

Khortytsia Island
 
Khortytsia Island is the largest island in the Dnieper River, situated south of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station and now a part of the city of Zaporizhia. It is 12 km long and 2.5 km wide, and covers an area of over 3,000 ha.

The island was located on "the route from Varangians to the Greeks" and was first mentioned as St. Gregory's Island in the mid-lOth century. In 972 Prince Sviatoslav I Ihorevych died in the battle against the Pechenegs at the nearby Dnieper Rapids. The princes of Rus under Sviatopolk II Iziaslavych gathered on the island in 1103 to begin their campaign against the Cumans. In 1224 the Rus princes conferred there before engaging the Tatars in battle.

The island played an important role in the Cossack wars with the Tatars and Poles. In the 1550s Prince D. Vysh-nevetsky built a Cossack fortress 10 km north on Mala Khortytsia Island, which served as a bulwark against various invaders. In 1557 a Tatar-Turkish army attacked the stronghold and eventually destroyed it. With brief intervals, a garrison of Cossacks was stationed on Khortytsia Island between 1596 and 1648. Hetmans T. Fedorovych (1630) and I. Sulyma (1635) launched their anti-Polish rebellions from there, and in 1648 Hetman B. Khmelnytsky routed its Polish garrison. In the 1660s and 1670s the Zaporizhian otaman I. Sirko used the island as his military base. The island was part of the territory held by the Zaporjzhian Sich until its destruction in 1775. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1735-39 a fortress and shipyard were built there in 1737; their remains have been preserved to this day. Now the island is a historical-cultural preserve.


 
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