Horod

Horod or hrad. A fortified settlement in Kyivan Rus’; in later times the word described an administrative center for a larger region. The oldest Slavic fortified settlements in Ukraine were built by the Antes in the 6th century AD. A horod was usually located on an easily defensible site, in a forest, by adjoining lakes or marshes, or on a high riverbank. A moat and/or an earthen wall and wooden palisade surrounded the horod and provided further protection. A horod usually consisted of two parts: the inner or upper town (ditynets), located within the fortifications, and the outer or lower town (okolnyi hrad, posad, pidhoroddia, or pryhoroddia), outside the walls. The latter was inhabited mostly by merchants and artisans. Horods varied greatly in area and population, but in the early period of Kyivan Rus’ they were essentially rural settlements, or citadels, serving as places of refuge for the surrounding population in times of war. Those that were well situated (eg, near rivers or in mountain passes) became trade and manufacturing centers and acquired larger populations. Many old towns in Ukraine derive their names from a fortified settlement, such as Vyshhorod, Raihorod, Uzhhorod, and Bilhorod. In Kyivan Rus’ these settlements were so numerous that the Varangians called it the ‘land of cities’ (Gardariki). Volodymyr the Great, Yaroslav the Wise, and Danylo Romanovych built a great number of fortified settlements. (See also Cities and towns.)




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