Next page in our guide invites us to visit the ancient town of Vyshgorod, built on an elevation at the right bank of the Dnipro. The town looked like a fortification that bore comparison to nothing of the kind in the area along the Dnipro. To the east the steep banks and the Dnipro itself protected that elevation. The ravines ran around the elevation from the north to the west, stemming from the upper mud swamp. To the south there was a peat bog that stretched in intermittent patches up to the present-day Podil in Kyiv.
Vyshgorod was mentioned for the first time in 946 in The Tale of Bygone Years as an important military strategic site in the Kyiv state. It is quite possible that Princess Olha ordered to construct the first town fortifications. This might have been the reason to call Vishhorod «the town of Olha».
Vyshgorod spread about from the Sel’ Hill. At first it was the site of a small settlement, surrounded by a 500-meter long so-called «Upper» or Old rampart. With the course of time houses were built to the east and south from the fortifications, and the fortified part turned into a citadel and was named the Souvereign’s place and the Prince’s place later on. There were five watchtowers that warned the town about the danger — one on the Sel’ Hill, the other — on the Lub Hill, and the other three — on artificial hills — Nadriv’ia, Ostrozhysche and Bezimennyi.
The town grew on to include the settlements of Boiarka, Hosti and Starshyna. The latter two were fortified by 100 and 250-meter long ramparts. Walls were built at two sides of Boiarka that converged at an acute angle with an artificial hill. To improve security a watchtower and a fortification called Ostroh were constructed (the hill is called Ostrozhysche after it). The blocks where the common people lived grew in parallel with those of the nobility.
For quite a long time that part of the town remained almost intact. However, a 200-meter long southern moat was dug and a 250-meter long rampart was built there. At the same time the settlement of Vypiat’ was fortified with a 100-meter long rampart as it was the first to withstand attacks of invaders.
The second stage in the construction of Vyshgorod started, when the Middle Rampart was built. It was meant to protect the town from the north, west and southwest. The rampart ran from the upper rampart by the so-called Viche Ground up to the settlement of Hosti. Ploughing, sowing, building or planting was prohibited on the Viche Ground. That square is believed to have been the venue of folk assemblies. And our contemporaries started digging tombs,turning the Viche Ground into a cemetery. It occupies almost all of the central part of an area with village houses. The rampart around the Viche Ground was preserved. The 800-meter long lower rampart that protected the new blocks, has not withstood the elements and only separate parts thereof remain.
On 6 July 1994 a historical preserve was established in Vyshgorod to perform research on archeological sites, preserve and restore architectural, historical and archeological sites, and provide guided tours. It is made up of the central fortidied part of annalistic Vyshgorod with remains of a rampart and the foundations of the St Boris and Hleb Cathedral — Mausoleum built in the eleventh — twelveth centuries, town blocks of potters and foundry workers, as well as settlements, dating back to the early Iron Age and the ancient Rusv, tumulusus from the Bronze Age to the ancient Rus’ times. The most remarkable architectural site of that time is the St Boris and Hleb Cathedral. Boris and Gleb were the youngest sons of Prince Volodymyr, son of Sviatoslav, killed in the struggle over his bequest. They were canonized in 1072.
The picturesque village of Demydiv lies 30 km from Kyiv beyond Vyshgorod. It is mentioned in written documents dating back to the eleventh century. During its history the village has changed location several times. The most ancient one is believed to be north from it, by the Kozka river, close to the village of Staryi Demydiv. The next location was to the west, in the Dvorysche tract. There are rampart remains of the settlement of Horodets’ to the east from the village, thought to have been destroyed during the invasion of Khan Batu. The Cossacks led by Semen Palii were garrisoned in Demydiv at the end of the seventeenth century. Polish troops killed them in 1693 and razed the settlement. Demydiv was rebuilt in the eighteenth century and became a part of the county of Dymer.
The village of Liutezh lies at the very coast of the Kyiv Sea along the Kyiv-Mins’k highway. It was mentioned for the first time in the Chronicle under the year of 975. The village was called after Liut, son of Varangian Prince Svenel’d, killed there by Prince Oleh of the Drevlians. Remains of ancient settlements have been found in the vicinity of Liutezh. The inhabitants in one of them used to make iron from marsh ore. During the Second World War an operation was launched in November 1943 in the area of Liutezh to liberate the capital of Ukraine from German invaders. The military personnel lost in action at the Luitezh bridgehead were buried in four common graves.
A few kilometers away from Liutezh there is a village of Novi Petrivtsi that can be traced back to the eighteenth century. It used to belong to Mizhgirria Cloister. Villagers worked at the Mizhgirria faience factory that produced a lot of famous fire-resistant «mizhgir-ka» bricks (up to 500 thousand pieces a year) for the construction j of stoves in the houses. Coming to Novi Petrivtsi, one can see from far away a high mould with a monument featuring a majestic soldier I holding a sub-machine gun. This village at the Kyiv Sea coast is covered with legendary glory. The museum was also established here that is devoted to liberation of Kyiv from German invaders.
The diorama entitled the «Battle of Kyiv. Liutezh Bridgehead 1943» on the Kyiv offensive was inaugurated in Novi Petrivtsi on 4 May 1980. It was on display at the Sviato-Pokrovs’ka (Holy Mary-the-Protectress) Church of the village until 1993. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the battle, a memorial was erected in 1983 close to the church. There is a monument in the shape of a flag featuring soldiers forcing over the Dnipro, bearing the inscription «to the heroes of the Liutezh bridgehead». The commemorative plaques of the memorial immortalize the names of 1,300 soldiers and their commanders lost during liberation of Kyiv.
Built near Vyshgorod on the Dnipro, the Kyiv hydropower plant makes a unique hydro technical facility together with a hydro accumulating plant situated on a hill close by. When the power consumption is low, the turbines of the accumulating plant pump up the water into huge reservoirs. When the power consumption reaches its peak, the water immediately goes to the turbines — pumps. Thus, «energy starvation» is quenched without drawing too much water from the Kyiv storage pool, which is as big as a sea. It is actually called the Kyiv Sea and it plays an important role in the life of the Kyiv region. Fishing is plentiful, there are many resort facilities on its banks, and beaches with pine-trees remind of the Baltic Sea coast in the Jurmala area! As a matter of fact, not only the pine forests on sand are similar, but also the fact that fragments of amber are found on the banks of the Kyiv Sea. More amber is washed out after storms that happen here from time to time. So if you happen to get to the beaches at the Kyiv Sea (just 30 km away from the hydropower plant dam along the coastline), look down carefully, for you might come across a unique piece of amber with a primitive insect inside.
The artificial Kyiv Sea has everything it takes to be a real one — there occur storms on its vast space, the air is alive with seagulls, and yacht sails embellish the maritime landscape. Five kilometers away from the dam on the left bank of the storage pool there is a yacht club, which is well known abroad. Those who want to escape from the noise of car engines and exhaust fumes, as well as those who know how to drive a sailboat, can use a yacht here.
Seven to eleven—year olds have a unique opportunity to learn about being a sailor. In summer they can go sailing, compete in contests, and stay in a sports camp. And in winter they can train in a swimming pool. There is a youth sailing school at the Ukraine Kyiv Regional Sports Council, whose coaches work at the yacht club. For additional information please call at (8-044) 433-4353, (8-044) 430-5629, (8-044) 230-7320.