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Hall 2

Written by admin on . Posted in museum halls

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 clothes

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.

Hall 1

Written by admin on . Posted in museum halls

The museum archeological collection elucidates the peculiar and vivid ancient history of our land from Stone Age to the 13th century.

General view

The territory where Dnipropetrovsk region is situated now has been inhabited by representatives of different nations, nationalities, ethnic group by the people of various religions communities, confessions since time immemorial.

The first hall has collected archeological artifacts which were found in the Dnipropetrovsk region beginning with Stone Age to the Middle ages. Here archeologist discovered the human encampments of the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods, Copper, Bronze and Iron Age.


Wooden cart details. The middle of the 2nd century B.C.

Museum visitors gain acquaintance with the collection of stone carved images. The most ancient of then is Kernosovskiy idol.

Kernosivka stone idol. 3rd mil. B.C.

Kernosovskiy idol is an Anthropomorphic statue. It’s made of sandstone. It dates back to the third mil. B.C. It was accidentally discovered in 1973 in the Kernosivka village of Dnipropetrovsk region by the pupils of local school during placing silage pit. The idol depicts the supreme God of the ancient Aryan pantheon. Cosmogonic ornamentation, scenes from myths, tools, weapon, animals are carved on the surface of the statue. These carve images help to understand semantics of the stele which represents the creator of the universe, cultural hero, who donated fertility. This idol is a monument of the world importance. There is nothing even remotely resembling elsewhere in the world. It was displayed at various world exhibitions of stone idols in Munich (Germany), Aost (Italy), Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Kyiv (Ukraine).

The museum archeological collection contains artifacts of Old Pit, Catacomb and Timber-Frame archeological culture.

V.Gorodtsov (1860-1940), a prominent archeologist, founder of the classification of copper-bronze cultures (Pit, Catacamomb, Timber-Frame culture)

This funeral cist bears an ornamental design in ochre.

Funeral cist. 2nd century B.C.

The beginning of the second millennium B.C. saw the dawn of the Bronze Age.

Bronze tools axes, knives, adzes and chisels – sharply increased the productivity of labour. At that time the art of bronze casting was discovered.

Bronze tools

The late 5th century B.C. witnessed the appearance of the Iranian-speaking Scythians.

Scythians were brave warriors and skilful mounted arches. They lived according to the laws of a military democracy.

  1. Section “History of the Scythians”
  2. Scythians’ sword and daggers

The Scythians were a community of various ethnic tribes. Herodotus distinguished among them the tillers of the land, plowmen, nomads, Royal Scythians, who deem all other Scythians their slaves. Their basic occupations were cattle raising and metalworking.

The Greek historian Herodotus described the Scythians as an “invincible and unapproachable” people. The might of the Scythians caused apprehensions in the mind of the Egyptian pharaoh who, dreading a possible invasion, brought them off. No European Kingdom could compare with the Scythians.

Scythia reached the height of its greatness in the 4th – 3rd century B.C. During this period Scythians created the first state in Eastern Europe. The famous Chertomlyk and Thick Grave barrows near Nikopol of the Dnipropetrovsk area refer to this period. The immense riches boarded in Scythian barrows included bronze cauldrons, iron swords and bronze arrowheads, gold earrings and pendants, details of horses’ harness, expensive armor, gold plagues, heads of glass paste and carnelian.

Barrow “Thick Grave” was examined by the Ukrainian archeologist B. Mozolevsky in 1971 near the town of Ordzhonikidze, Dnipropetrovsk region. This mound was the burial of a king, queen and their son. The king’s burial had been plundered of its treasures in ancient times. The noble deceased were accompanied by sacrificed servant and slaves. Here the world-known gold pectoral (decorative object worn on the breast) was found.

B. Mozolevsky

Pectoral (replica). 4th century B.C.

It weighed two and a half pounds. It was made by a Greek craftsman. He managed to cram into its 12-inch diameter an exquisitely detailed picture of the Scythians and the animals with which their lives were interwoven. Nothing in nature escaped the artist’s eye, from the muscle-tensed bodies to the tiniest grasshoppers. The master made single parts separately and soldered each one to twisted cords of gold.

The pectoral consists of 3 bands. At the centre of its inner band there are 2 Scythians making clothes.

The middle band contains floral design. One of the main themes of Scythian art-battling animals both real and imaginary – fills the outer band. The Scythians crested so-called animal style in art.

Describing the ritual attending the obsequies of a Scythian king, Herodotus writes that the King’s body was carried through all the lands he ruled and then was brought to the royal cemetery in the land of the Gerrhi.

So, where is that mythical land of the Gerrhi. It must be somewhere in the wooded steppes of the eastern part of the Dnieper basin or in the vicinity of the Dnieper rapids. The riddle of the royal cemetery is far from being solved.

Classical civilization influenced the development of the Scythian culture. The trade contacts between the Scythians and Greek contributed much to the Scythian culture. One of the main articles of Greek import was the earthen ware, especially amphorae – the most common object of Scythian finds.

Articles found on the Northern cost of the Black Sea

So, Scythians have reigned in our steppes for 300 years. In the 3rd century B.C. some Scythians went the Northern Black Sea shore, others – assimilated with Sarmatian tribes.

Sarmatian tribes settled in our land in the 3rd century A.D.

They were engaged in rather advanced stock-breeding. Besides they had smithery, bronze casting, leather tanning; they made all kinds of weapons, clothes and adornments. They worshipped the sun and fire.

Articles from Sarmatian burials of the Dnieper-area

The Sarmatians carried on trade with Greek city-states, ancient Rome and Egypt.

Our land lay on the Great Trail of Peoples, leading from Asia to Europe.

Here in Pridneprovya, water and land routes of various tribes and peoples intersected.

During the period of great migration of peoples different tribes and ethnic groups moved through our land leaving here their monument and artifacts: Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Hungarians, Alans, Khazars.

Articles from Hungarian burials found in the Dnipropetrovsk region

Articles from Voznesensk cult complex (the first half of the 8th century)

Kiln. Late 7th century A.D.

During the period of Kievan Rus our land was settled by Slavic and nomadic tribes (Polovtsy and Pincenates)

Agricultural tools and craftsmen’s goods from Slavonic settlements.

Fish hooks

In medieval times the Dnieper river became part of Varangian route between the Baltic Sea and Byzantium.

Fibulae of the Scandinavian type. Late 9th – early 10th century

Amphora. 13th century. North Black Sea coast import

Museum possesses one of the largest collections of Polovetsky stone idols in Ukraine. It maintains 67 statues. These sacred monuments refer to medieval Turk and Mongolian-speaking tribes included to Polovtsian state union “Decht-e-Kipchak” (Polovtsi steppi) in the 12th – the first half of the 13th century. These stone carved images were associated with the cult of ancestors. According to the medieval nomads’ imaginations, male and female statues kept the souls of their ancestors.

Stone carves images. 11th -13th centuries

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