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Guide to the Khotyn Fortress

Khotyn Fortress

State Historical and Architectural Reserve Khotyn fortress

   The construction of the fortress in its modern shapes started in 1325, while major improvements were made in the 1380s and in the 1460s.
 Throughout history, the fortress served to Rus principalities, Tatars, Turkey, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire, Moldavian National Republic, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Romania and Ukraine.

 In 13 century Prince Danylo from Halych and his son Lev rebuilt the Khotyn fortress. In this period a half-meter stone wall and a 6-meter wide moat around the fortress were added.

 The fortress acquired its modern look at the end of the 15th century, when Khotyn was a part of the Moldavian Kingdom. Its borders were considerably broadened. A stone wall, 5-meters (16 feet) wide and up to 50-meters (164 feet) high, grew around it; three towers and two palaces with dungeons were added to the structure of the fortress.

 1621 became a crucial year in the history of the Khotyn fortress. That year the Khotyn fortress was a place for the battle between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It was one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of that period. The Poles, united with Ukrainian Cossacks, managed to defeat the 250 thousand Ottoman Empire army.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Turks conquered the Khotyn fortress and made it their strategic Eastern European outpost here. The south wall and South (Entrance) gate with wooden bridges were built by the Turks with the help of invited French engineers. They built a new castle around the old fortress, which was designed to accommodate 20 thousand troops, as well as a mosque with minaret. At that time, the fortress was one of the mightiest fortifications in Eastern Europe.