Khotyn

Administrative center of the Khotyn Raion, Chernivtsi Oblast, in Western Ukraine (48°30′34″N 26°29′31″E). The city sits on the right bank of the Dniester river, some 65 km (40.4 mi) from the oblast capital Chernivtsi and 25 km (15.5 mi) from the nearest railroad station in Kamyanets-Podilsky, Khmelnytsky Oblast. Historical region: Bukovina.

Population: 9,692 as of June 1, 2013 (ethnic composition of the Khotyn Raion, according to 2001 census: Ukrainians, 91.2%; Moldovans, 7.1%; Russians, 1.3%; Romanians, 0.1%).

Area: 20.39 sq km (7.87 sq mi).

Established: Sep. 22, 1002.

First mentioned: 1002.

Member of the Association of Local Governments "The Gediminids’ Way" since its establishment on May 10, 2013 (the constituent meeting of the Association was held in Khotyn).

Official site of Khotyn:
www.khotyn.net

Tourist site:
under construction

Photo album:
Khotyn Castle


Famous for its stone castle, Khotyn takes its origin from a small wooden fort that was built by Volodymyr the Great, Grand Prince of Kyiv, at a settlement populated since ancient times – the 7th century, according to archeologists.

From the 10th c., Khotyn was part of the Kyivan Rus and then Principality of Galicia–Volhynia, which in the years 1340 to 1349 was ruled by Duke Liubartas (the youngest son of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania).

In 1250-64, Prince Danylo of Halych (Daniel of Galicia, whose second wife was a niece of Mindaugas, King of Lithuania) and his son Lev (Leo I of Galicia) encircled the fort with a stone wall and a moat and added a few buildings. Later on in the 13th c., the fortress was further upgraded by the Genoese, who had their trading colony in Khotyn.

Strategically located above the Dnister on important transportation routes, such as the famous "trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks," Khotyn changed hands many times. In 1351, it was conquered by the GDL, and three years later the town went over to the Vlachs. From the mid 14th through the early 18th c., Khotyn was alternately possessed by the Principality of Moldova (1359-1432, 1459-1538, 1541-1562, 1572-1615, 1621-1673, 1699-1712) and the Kingdom of Poland / Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1432-1459, 1538-1541, 1562-1572, 1615-1620, 1673-1699), and finally it wound up in the Ottoman Empire (1711-1812), where it remained almost through the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

In the early 15th c., Moldovan voivode Alexander the Good reconstructed the Khotyn Fortress into the castle more or less like it looks today. In 1419, Alexander married Rymgajla, a sister of Vytautas the Great, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who helped the voivode construct the castle. Prince of Moldova Stephen the Great strengthened it after he reconquered Khotyn from the Poles in 1459.

Monuments from the epoch of the Gediminids and GDL that have survived in Khotyn:

  • Khotyn Castle (13th–18th c.)