The history of Khortitsa
we see the island from the ancient times was a peculiar spiritual center
for the peoples of different epochs. Different natural objects also
were presented as ancient places of the cult rituals and ceremonies
such as Black stone in the northern part of Khortitsa.
This is a large boulder of black color with weight about 6000 kilograms.
It had appeared on Khortitsa with the last ice - house, but it is not
excluded that this stone was carried out by ancient peoples from the
place located in five hundred kilometers to the north. All the stone
is covered with the lines which no doubt, are the deal of the human
being hands but the lines are not formed in some united scheme, in any
case, nobody could interpret their representation and date this phenomena.
Further the little gully and rock Ushvuvaya can be discerned. According to the folk legend "…on this rock the Cossacks, if they had nothing to do knocked the leases". The surface of this rock was mass grown and lichen-grownand in sultry days looked as bald spot gnawed with parasites. On the place of the Preobrazhenskiy's bridge there was the gully Verbovaya (earlier there were two gullies - Big and Small, with growing pussy willows). During the bridge building the gullies were planned out and now here there are the trench gardens of the inhabitants of the town.
Further the island is traversed with one of the largest ravines - Dolgaya (Dubovaya, Gannovka). At the end of the 19-th century here grew the huge oaks and primroses of the plant kingdom. In the ravine the Germans-mennonites had found the colony - Island of Khortitsa and lived there 127 years (1789 - 1916). The germans-mennonites had registered Khortitsa forest: up to 1870 there were 49000 oaks, 1000 lime-trees and 4500 pear-trees not counting other shoots. The Mennonites took care about the trees through the definite period of time, took away dead wood, planted some more trees. Since 1876-1877 on account of the serve the inhabitants of the Alexandrovsk began to pull the forest of Khortitsa. Then the Mennonites decided to sell the part of the forest by auction but incidentally the natural felling of the trees had continued. After 1884 there were small quality of the trees on Khortitsa.
Opposite to the German colony the riverbed of the New Dnieper there was a small island which was washed out with flood in 1820.In our times on that place the rock Oh-Vzdoh. This name symbolizes the sigh of relief of the peoples overcoming the terrible rapids.
Behind the ravine Long from the north to the south some more ravines are extended. The island inhabitants called them as Matveyeva and Karpovka in accordance with the names of the peoples, which had lived there. Not far from there a big ravine Konskiy Spusk is situated. Behind the gullies the rock Dumnaya is stepped out into the Dnieper as a cope. Zaporozhian cossacks were gathering there their "thoughts". During the Mennonites the rock was called Martynova - from the german Martin. From this place beautiful view is opened on the river and the left bank. Now the preventorium of the "Dnieprospetsstal" works is located here.
Further the gully Bashmachka is located. There is an information about the inhabitant of the island named Bashmak. He was a high way robber and was hiding in the gullies. Historian D.I.Yavornitskiy in 1915 had a meeting with this man who handed Cossack weapons for the historical museum in Dnepropetrovsk. In the name of the gully is connected - it is impossible to assert flatly.
. The gully Kostina named according to the names of the Cossacks Shvets and Kostya who had there their winter camp. Further behind the Kostina gully there is a Lime-tree gully which at one time was covered with ancient lime-trees.
Names of the ravine Kapralka (lowland Kapralschina) and the island Kapralskiy Prosered appeared at the time when prince G Potyomkin was the owner of the island (1775-1789). Here there lived an old corporal in the dug-cut and had to guard the Potyomkin's garden. Only a little far to the north a high hill (burial-mount), called as Potyomkinsky (later Cossackskiy) is located. During the times of germans-Mennonites the ravine began to be called Korneeva, in accordance with the name of the first settler - Korney Ens. In the southern direction the high steep slopes are extended, they are called Khortitskiy (or Cossackskiy wal). The ravine Glinyanaya (or Proreznaya) crosses them. Near the flooding area the ravine Zmeevka is located.
From the high Khortitsa slopes the flooding areas of the eastern bank can be discearned. This lower part of the island is cowered with bushes, grass trees with numerous lakes and channels, which were the beginning of the Cossacks' Velikiy Lug. Among the oldest names of the flooding area lakes there is Podkruchnoye. It is extended along the steep slopes and is devided in several separate lakes, which are united with each other by the channel. The lake Golovkovskoye is one of the deepest, there are many tortoises in it. The lake is named in accordance with the name of Zaporozhian Cossack Golovko who lived on Khortitsa and was a fisherman. Then he resettled to Alexandrovskaya citadel based in 1770 on the left bank of the Dnieper. The black poplars, willows and rush are growing on the banks of the lakes Osokorovoye and Lozovatoye. The lake Karasevoye is rich with fish.
The flooded areas of the island are crossed with the dam. Embrenkment is extended along the lakes Podkrychnoye, Osokovoye, and Golovoivskoye. Some time ago there was a railway from the left bank to the right bank. In the years of the second World war during advances of the fascist troops in 1941 in the northern part of Khortitsa the bridges of the engineer N. Streltsov (built in 1927-1933) were blown up by the soviet military forces. Connection on the Dniproges dam was also destroyed. After the liberation of Zaporozhye the temporary bridge was set over the flooding areas of Khortitsa in 1944. The railway was worked up to 1952 and then was dismantled.
Folk-lore-ethnographical horse theatre is located in the flooded part of Khortitsa island. The activity of the horse theatre "Zaporozhian Cossacks" is directed on preservation and development of the Cossack traditions. Horse and folklore performances and traditional Cossack tradestake place here. Not far from there the restoration pavilion "Zaporozhian Chayka" is situated which can become a museum of navigation.
Opposite the southern edge of the island from the right bank the river Lower Khortitsa is flowing into the Dnieper. Its lenghth is 16 kilometres. Earlier during the spring floods the valley of the river was overflowing on 2 kilometres, it was named as lagoon. In this time from the Dnieper a lot of the fish had stropped. The ravine, which is crossed by the river Lower Khortitsa, is named as Kapustyanka. In this ravine the Cossacks had their land and grew cabbage. After 1775 here lived the Cossacks: Leontiy Popovich, Fyodor Zadiraka and others, they were occupied in fishing, hunting, bee keeping, cattle breeding, grazed the horses.
Norther the river Middle Khortitsa is flowing which gave the name to the ravine with the same name. In 1772 for protection from the enemy the posts on the border were singled out from Zaporozhsian Sech. One of these posts with Colonel Ivan Babura included two sergeants and two hundred horsemen. It was located opposite the Khortitsa island. After abolition of Sech I. Babura took up the service in the Russian army and in 1777 he had received as the rank country 2882 desatins (measure of land) of land. From that time the ravine was called Baburskaya and the river - Baburka. In 1803 the mennonites had settled here and based the colony Burwald.
Sometimes between the rivers Middle Khortitsa and the bank of the island the riverbed of the Dnieper became so shallow that it was possible to ford it. Hydroarchaelogical investigations confirmed that there was a "Protolchiy Brod" there in Old Russian Times. It was mentioned in chronicles of 103, 1190, and 1223 years. In the flooded part of Khortitsa in 1976 till 1980 it was revealed a settlement of the Old Russian Times (from 11th to 13th centuries). It probably can be the remains of the mentioned in chronicles Protolche. The local inhabitants were occupied in metalworking and other trades. Some time later the Tartar settlement of 13th to 14th centuries was located on this place. Toponym "Protolche" is originating from "protolcha, protoloka"- reduced stream of the river shoals, rapids, narrow place between steep banks. And - "protolchit", to cut a path.
Stepping in the northern direction we can see the ravine Wide. Other name of this ravine is Deer's, as it has twenty-three branches, as "deer's antler".
The ravine Generalka is spreading over above from the bridge by Preobrazhenskiy (from Khortitsa island to the right bank). During the campaign of 1736-1739 there was a "general public house". In this place there was a food shop, in which in the low-yields years general Keizerling had given provisions to soldiers and Zaporizhian Cossacks "from mercy" as claimed the Cossacks.
Behind the ravine Generalka the rocks Gavunivskaya and Karakayka are raised near a long sandy coast named as Tourist Beach by the contemporaries. The rocks are named in honor of Zaporozhians Karakay and Gavun who were occupied in fishing and had there a whole group of fishermen there. Further the rock Gromushina is stepping out the Dnieper. Near the rock there is a gully - Gromushiny Razdoly (Gromushina hole), it is called according to the name of the Cossack Gromuha. He had a lot of cattle there. There were two springs in the gully: one spring was below - Cold spring (it exists up to now), the second spring Cossack Well in the upper gully was given up and was over grown with grass.
Archeological works in 1990 - 1995 in the northern part of the Malaya Khortitsa island had discovered the monuments of different epochs - from bronze epoch to the period of the Cossacks. The remains of the 16th century fortification, guns, fragments of sabers, axes, tips of arrows and spears, coins as well are dated by the scientists to the times of Dmitry Vishnevetsky, who in 1556 had built "woodearthern township" and held there three hundred Cossacks. From this fortification the prince repeatedly carried out the attacks against Tatrar and Turkish citadels in the lower Dnieper, taking cannons and ammunition for protection of his fortification. In 1558 the Crimean Khan Devlet-Girey had approached unexpectedly to the coast of Khortitsa. Long siege of the fortification forced Vishnevetskiy to leave his outpost. Tartars burned the "Township" of Cossacks. The folklore identified the prince with Cossack Baida, that's why the island is called according to this name. The word "Baida" means free unmarried carefree man.
The Malaya Khortitsa island could not remain without attention in the next centuries. Zaporozhian shipyard was based in 1736 and also the fortress with two dug-cuts for offices, 8 soldier dug-cuts and 31cossack barracks. The shipyard presented itself a fortification with earth walls and a moat. The western earth wall had length of 85 meters and the southern - 110 meters, the northern - of 105 meters and besides, near the western earth wall there was a moat with depth of 1,5 meters. The place was chosen not accidentally. A great number of the ships, built in Bryansk in 1736, while passing over the Dnieper rapids, were significantly damaged or gone down. That's why the head quarters of the Russian army decided to build the ship base behind the rapids. According to the archive information of this period, from 1738 till 1739 there were about 400 ships on the shipyard - from the Cossack boats, to the great sailcloth brigantines. Mainly the fleet consisted of the Cossack boats, which had 24 oars, with length of 18 meters and width of 3,5 meters with four small guns (two on the low and two on the stern). After the end of the war the epidemic of plague was spreaded in the army. Russian military forces had left Khortitsa and Zaporozhian shipyard. Several tens of ships were left near the banks of Khortitsa and in due course the ships sinked. Thanks to the investigations of hydroarcheologists in 1999 it was succeed to raise on the surface a Cossack boat of 1736-1739 and numerous equipment of Russian-Turkish war period. The ship gun lifted from the Dnieper bottom was an essential addition to illustrate the war events of the 18th century.
Behind the Baida island you can see early mentioned Kantserovka gully. One of the branches of the Upper Khortitsa river flows across this gully. According to the version of V. G. Fomenko the name of the gully is connected with Turkish "kansira" that means "bleeding" and it is supposed that there were great battles in this area. Rather the name of the river is originated from the grayish-brown color of water owing to outpace of red clay. Two rocks along the right bank are also called Kantserovskie. The rock Rogoza is elevated not far from the earth fortifications of the Russian - Turkish war times (1736-1739).
The short gully - Kutsaya was located near the Naumova gully. Behind it - the rock Kopychevataya, small stones were on the top of the rock. There was a report and, even, affirmation, Zaporozhian Setch existed here. Folk legends about this Setch forced the head of land council Garkushevskiy to place a cross on the supposed place in the upper part of Kutsaya gully in 1891 ostensibly from honor to Zaporozhian church (this cross stood there up to the 17th century).
Further, enough wide coastline of Muzychina gully is located in the north direction of the island, it named according to zaporozhian Cossack Muzyka. Here there were many spring and historical monuments as well: a settlement of ancient people (end on the 3rd - beginning of the 2nd thousand years BC), the remains of dug-cuts and fortifications of times of war with Turkey (1736 - 1739). Tsar's wharf was built in 1790 opposite to Muzychina gully in former mouth of the Upper Khortitsa river. There appeared rafts from tsar's treasure to ensure Germans-Mennonites with floated timber. The Mennonites made a dam there after the great flood in 1845, and the river Verhnaya Khortitsa turned its current into Kantserovka gully. The wharf was renamed in Pervomayskaya in 1930. The Germans-Mennonites had based the colony in the territory of Upper Khortitsa, the center of the Mennonite region.
A long vertical rock Black Rock is situated behind the gully Muzychina along the northern coastline of Khortitsa. From the Black Rock in the southern direction across the island the earth fortifications were extended. They were built in 1736-1739. Today Black Rock is considered as a probable place of death of Prince Svyatoslav in 972 according to the historical novel "Svyatoslav" by S. Sklyarenko. Uninterrupted range of rocks of the northern coast includes also a rock Laznyi, called so for its suitable shape for bouldering. Further the rock Pig's Head is extended into the Dnieper. Its form resembles the head of wild boar drinking water. This unusual rock is well seen from Dneprovskaya clam.
Besides ancient names of gullies, rocks, lakes on the Khortitsa island there are names of the settlements that appeared during economic using of the island: of vegetable-growers, stock-brooders, vine-growers, forestry, Zaporozhian Sech, Old Dnieper, three masts (pulled down in 1988).
Proposed ethnography-tourist map of Khortitsa gives a motion about a modern state of geographical objects and historical monuments, historical names of the area.