Just as a real movie star, Khotyn fortress hides from impertinent curiosity. You can drive through this whole one-storied town in the Chernivtsi region and not have the slightest idea of the treasure hidden nearby on the bank of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Dnister River. Acting as “guardian” near the entrance to the stronghold there is a monument of Hetman Petro Sahaidachnyi, the hero of the Khotyn war of 1621. Farther is the kilometer long earth mound of the New Fortress, constructed in 1718 as a project overseen by French engineers. And only after that comes the breath-taking view of the 700 year old “Old Fortress”, familiar to us thanks to our favorite Soviet films such as “The Three Musketeers”, “The Arrows of Robin Hood”, and “Ivanhoe”.
It came into being in the times of Kyiv Rus. Even then the stronghold which protected ferriage across the Dnister was one of the mightiest in Eastern Europe. Since the middle of the 14th century its owners were Moldavian boyars, strengthening the frontier outpost.