Khotyn fortress is located in the Western Ukraine not far from the city Chernivtsi and surrounded with a small town Khotyn. The great stone fortress over the Dniester is regarded one of "Ukraine's Seven Wonders". Khotyn was almost always a frontier town: it was on the border of several Slavonic principalities (Galician Principality from 1140s, Halych-Volhynian Kingdom from 1199, Moldavian Principality from the middle of the 14th century), Ottoman Empire (1712), Russian Empire (from 1812) and Romania (in 1918-1940). Due to its geographical location Khotyn fortress played a great role in Ukrainian and European history.
Recently Khotyn fortress celebrated its 1000 anniversary. The fortress over the river Dnister was built in times of Vladimir the Great in order to defend western borders. It was one of the outposts of Kievan Rus built in the South and West of the state. There is no way to find out how the border outpost looked in those times. However, location of Khotyn fortress was really well chosen: on a natural rock foundation, near a passage across the Dniester River. The castle walls were covered with stone later, in the 13th century. In 1718, French military engineers built the New Castle (1200 x 250 m), consisting of a ditch, billow, seven bastions and three gates.
The panorama of the fortress seen from the Bendersky Gates is really wonderful. If you look at the fortress from the 18th century bastions, it seems small. But once you get close, you perceive its magnificence with its five towers and 40 meter-high walls.
Khotyn fortress is famous for the battle of 1621 which decided the fate of Europe. In April 1621, sultan Osman II started military campaign against Poland which was defenseless after the battle of 1620 with Turkish troops. Europe was to week at those times to stand the pressure of the numerous sultan’s army. Poland could have capitulated, and half of Europe would have been conquered by the Turks. The whole horde went against Khotyn with 300 thousand Turks and 100 thousand Tartars. Against this numerous and well armed army struggled 35 thousand Poles headed Khodkevych and 40 thousand Cossacks of Sahaidachnyi. Osaman II expected to win this battle in a few hours but the Khotyn battle lasted five weeks till October 1621 when the peace treaty was concluded.
Half a century later, on November 11, 1673, Khotyn is the theatre of a new victory over the Turkish army. This time, the triumph is celebrated by Polish, Lithuanian and Cossack troops headed by Jan Sobeskiy.
In XVIII-XIX Khotyn fortress is losing its defense sense. In 1856 Khotyn fortress was delivered its military status and became a touristic object.
In Soviet times, dozens of films where shot here, including "The Three Musketeers", "Arrows of Robin Hood", "Ivanhoe"). In autumn 2008 appeared at the screen again, this time in a film by Ukrainian director Vladimir Bortko: "Taras Bulba".
Khotyn fortress is a great place of interest which attracts a lot of tourists form different countries each year.