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7 Wonders of Ukraine: Prince Vladimir's Legendary Khotyn Fortress

19. August 2009 by Gregg 0 Comments

Prince Vladimir, also known as Vladimir I of Kiev or Vladimir Svyatoslavich the Great, has appeared in many of the legends and fables of the Russian and Slavic peoples, but he was in fact a documented Crown Prince who ruled Kievan Rus (which comprises much of what is Ukraine, Russia and Belarus in modern times) from around the year 980 to 1015. During his reign Vladimir built many palaces and strongholds. One of them, Khotyn Fortress, is still around today.

Built to protect the borders near the South West part of his Empire, Prince Vladimir’s Fortress has gone through many changes over the centuries. This would include being expanded from a fort to a fortress, being nearly completely rebuilt around the 14th and 15th centuries and changing territorial hands repeatedly from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The government finally decommissioned the Fortress as a military entity in 1856 and it stands today as a major tourist attraction. The fortress was awarded the status as the 7th Wonder of Ukraine in 2007, after a nationwide vote, placing it in the list of Ukraine’s Seven Wonders along with Sofiyivsky Park in Uman and Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev.

A great many legends still exist regarding the fortress. A large dark spot on one of the walls is said to be caused by tears, some say the tears of a young girl who was killed by the Ottoman Empire’s forces during their possession of the Fortress, or the tears of Khotyn rebels killed by Turkish occupying forces. Another legend says that a secret 12 mile tunnel connects the Khotyn Fortess with the nearby Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle.