Ukraine and region in the 14th – 18th centuries.
Our land is situated on the banks of the Dnieper river. This river was crossed by 9 rapids. Which lay within a 70 km stretch from Lotsmanka Kamenka (15 km below Dniepropetrovsk) to the village of Kichkas (now inundated). The territory where Cossacks lived was located behind the Dnieper rapids.
Pictures of Dnieper rapids
Plan of Dnieper-river
The territory of modern Dnipropetrovsk region was a cradle of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. In the late 15th century in the course of struggle of Ukrainian people against Tatar – Turkish hords, Lithuanian and Polish feudalists Zaporozhian Cossacks came into being. The political, administrative, military and economic centre of Cossacks was Zaporozhian Sich. During 300 years the vast steppes of modern Dnipropetrovsk area made up the lands of 5 Zaporozhian Siches (from 9 built in Ukraine).
Model of the New Zaporozhian Sich (1734-1775)
The word Cossack means a free and independent man. Cossacks were first mentioned in the chronicle of 1492. In the 16th century. Cossacks united in a single military organization. The first fortifications were built on Khortitsia Island, behind the rapids. So the name Zaporizhya means «beyond the rapids». The word «Sich» comes from the Ukrainian verb sikty, which means to chop up, cut. Zaporozhian Cossacks made their fortifications of wood, cutting trees in the forest.
The last Zaporozhian Sich on our territory was the New or Pokrovska Sich (1734-1775). At a Rada (Cossack’s Counsil) elected the elders (chief commanders, Secretary, judge). At the Rada meeting Cossacks discussed various matters.
Zaporozhian Sich existed by rules and traditions akin to those of a military order of knights in Western Europe. Cossacks called themselves a «knightly society».
The Dnipropetrovsk historical museum is a treasure of Cossacks’ relics.
The picture “Cossack Mamai”. 18th century. Canvas, oil.
The artist’ brushes have left the image of Zaporozhian Cossack, a defender of his native land. A set of folk pictures “Cossak Mamai” of the 18th – 19th centuries is represented in this hall.
In these pictures there is the image of fearless Cossack sitting with his legs tucked under him, playing the kobza. Executed in many variants, it asserted the idea of the people’s struggle for its social and national liberation.
Such pictures were accompanied with words from Ukrainian songs or ballads:
Although you are looking at me
You are not to guess
Neither my name nor my ancestors.
But he who happened
To have been in the steppes
Is likely to guess my name.
In Dniepropetrovsk there are many historical places connected with the history of Zaporozhian Cossacks.
Polish castle “Kodak”
Our city was sited close to the former Kodak Polish Castle. To defend their lands against Turkish hords, to break off the contacts of Zaporozhian Sech and Nadniprovskaya (above Dnieper) Ukraine, the Polish authorities built their castle Kodak. It was built on the right Bank of the Dnieper near the Kodak rapid in 1635. It was erected by the French engineer Guillome de Bauplain. But in 1635 the Kodak castle was destroyed by Cossack detachments headed by Ivan Sulima. It was reconstructed by the engineer Fridrih Hectant. In 1648 when the liberation war of Ukrainian people began the cossacks from Bohdan Khmelnitsky troops annihilated the Polish guards of the castle. Till 1656 the Kodak fortress was subjected to Hetman government rule. Kodak housed the Cossack guards.
The Kodak fortress was visited by Cossacks Hetmans Ivan Mazepa and Daniil Apostol, by boyars Sheremetievs and Dolgorykovs.
In 1709 the Kodak fortress was ruined by the Russian troops by the order of Peter the Great but the city of Kodak existed. In 1734 some people from Poltava, Chernihov area moved to Kodak. In 1768 its population consisted of 1000 people.
The former Kodak fortress was excavated and investigated by nobody but D. Yavornitsky.
In 1910 the memorial mark was installed here by D. Yavornitsky. The mark was designed by B. Eduards.
D. Yavornitsky and A. Pol were art collectors. Thanks to them our museum collection includes Cossack’s belongings in everyday life – clothes, pottery, drinking scoops, pipes. Of great interest is Cossack’s calendar of the 18th century.
Cossack belongings in everyday life
Drinking scoops. Wood-carving
Clerk’s bag and ink-pots
In this hall there is a collection of Cossack Weapon: artillery guns, rifles, pistols, muskets, harquebuses, lances, boot-top knives, sabers. Pistols and sabers are encrusted richly with ivory, silver, corals and mother-of-pearl. Cossacks kept powder and bullets in powder flasks. The museum collection has a comprehensive collection of horns and powder flasks.
Cossacks’ and captured artillery guns of the 17th -18th centuries
Of great interest are symbols of Cossack elders’ authority: mace, baton, kettledrum, colours. There is Cossacks’ flag of the 18th century in this hall.
Of special interests is a collection of historic portraits.
Hetman’s mace and colonel’s baton
Cossacks’ arms. 18th century
Museum visitors could see here a portrait of Bohdan Khmelnitsky (1593-1657), a hetman (1648-1657), leader of the Ukrainian national-liberation movement in 1648-1656, against the Polish aristocracy, founder of the Cossack hetmanate.
Portrait of the Bohdan (Zynovy) Khmelnitsky (1595-1657) Founder of the Ukrainian Cossack state. Bohdan Khmelnitsky headed the national liberation war against the Polish authorities in Ukraine (1648-1657)
Oliver Cromwell called him a «renowned generalissimos». In 1648 the Polish army lost several battles to Cossack regiments headed by Bohdan Khmelnitsky.
It this hall there are portraits of Hetman Danilo Apostol and Assigned Hetman Pavlo Polubotok.
A portrait of Hetman Danil Apostol (1727-1734). By unknown painter
A portrait of Pavlo Polubotok (1722-1724)
The D.N. Museum has a comprehensive collection of ecclestical vestments and church-plate. Museum visitors could see a Sakkos (bishop’s attire) of the 17th century, a stole of the 18th century.
A picture of Trinity Cathedral
Cossacks dealt a shattering blow to Turkish and Tatar Attacks.
Turkish and Tatar weapon
Sculptural portrait of Ivan Sirko, Cossacks’ ataman (early 17th century-1760)
The museum possesses an interesting collection of early printed books published in different print shops of Lviv, Moscow, Ostrog.
Our museum collection obtains Apostoly, printed by Ivan Fedodrov in 1574. The book is illustrated with a gravure depicting Apostole Luke as a scribe. The print run of the Apostole was above 1000 copies, eighty of them are known to have lasted to this day.
Early printed books: the acts Apostles. Lviv, 1574
“Book of the Gospels”. Lviv
One of the most interesting exhibits of this hall is ox-cart of the 18th century. According to a legend D. I. Yavornitsky had bought it at the fair. The cart carried about 16 pounds of salt (1 pound=16 kl).
It is long ago the Zhaporozhian Cossacks lived on this land. But the people’s memory about Cossacks lives. It is in ancient Cossacks’ relics presented at our museum.