Following the Footsteps of the Oldest Cossack Centre in Zaporizhzhia, founded by Prince Dmytro Vyshnevetskyi


  • Vitalii Shcherbak



Zaporozhian Sich, castle, fortress, Dmytro Vyshnevetskyi, Cossacks, Zaporozhians


The emergence of the Cossack community on the southern border was conditioned by its population growth and the necessity to protect Ukrainian lands from Tatar expansion. The long stay of the Cossacks far from the volosts (rural municipalities) raise the need for uniting into cohesive troops led by an experienced ataman. They built fortified towns and small settlements to defend against Horde attacks and securely store their booty. Russian officials wanted to use the Cossack potential and repeatedly offered the ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to build a powerful fortress on the border with the Crimean Khanate in the 20s and 40s of the ХVІ c. However, due to a shortage of resources, Prince Dmytro Vyshnevetskyi was only able to realize this idea later. There are different versions regarding the castle’s location, purpose, and architectural style. However, the idea of identifying Vyshnevetskyi “town” with the so-called “Khortytska Sich” seems doubtful. No direct evidence of the Sich’s functioning in the 50s of the XVI c. has been found in written sources. Only the presence of a “fortress” or “castle” in Zaporizhzhia is recorded. At the same time, a representative of an aristocratic family made great efforts to defend Ukrainian lands, thus contributing to the consolidation of the Cossack community. This marks the outstanding role of Prince-knight Dmytro Vyshnevetskyi in national history. The castle he built on the Kichkaskii cape of the Dnipro River, also documented in the sources as Mala Khortytsia, served as a prototype for fortifications of the Zaporozhian community. This community, established on the island of Tomakivka in the ХVІ с., came to be known as the Zaporozhian Sich.