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26 October, 08:26

Dnepropetrovsk found its “metric”

In the autumn even the calendar leaves get yellow that`s why the local historians decided to extend their home city age for a couple of centuries. Lyrics apart, the recent book “Pearls of the Cossack Samara`s outskirts: the town of Samara and Bogoroditskaya fortress” can be more serious reason for reviewing the city chronology. Thanks to this book, they managed to restore one of the lacking pages in the city historical “metric”.

The fact is that the ancient settlement of Samar emerged within the precincts of today`s Dnepropetrovsk in the XVI century. One can find the first record about this settlement in the king of Poland, Stefan Batoriy`s famous Universal of 1576 which gave privileges to Zaporozhe Cossacks.

 After one century Novobogoroditskaya fortress appeared there.


The publication presented in Dnepropetrovsk is unique due to the in-depth study of the two town`s predecessors. The research supervisor of Dnepropetrovsk National University Pridneprovie archeological laboratory, Professor Irina Kovaleva, asserts that the information about the town was dispersed throughout various sources, which made this information inaccessible for most citizens and public.

The scientific digest about the destiny of Dnepropetrovsk historical predecessors casts light upon the key period, related to the Cossacks State`s foundation and is dedicated to its 360-th anniversary.


The narration highlights the study of Samar and Novobogoroditskaya fortress` foundation, the newest discoveries in military, social, economical, ethnical and cultural life of the area which are considered by the scientists in historiography tradition context. 

In 2001the scientists started carrying out archeological excavations in the presumed ancient town area and studied the cultural layer within several dozens of hectares. The archeologists were happy to discover the old fortress and town` s remains.

No wonder that this news added some optimism to those citizens who are trying to prove that their home city is much older than follows from its official “metric". Meanwhile concealing age and trying to look younger can be human advantage, grey hairs of centuries or even thousands of years suit the city perfectly. No wonder that there has been a heated debate about Dnepropetrovsk age since historians broke loose from totalitarian system. Actually, the official date record was off-stage disputed because they couldn`t hide from disproving archaeological find.

The senior staff scientist of Dnepropetrovsk National University scientific archaeological laboratory told at the presentation that he took an interest in this historical place after getting acquainted with the work of Dnepropetrovsk local historians Vladimir Benkevitch and Viktor Komeko «Ancient Zaporozhe Cossack town of Samar with a passage» : “ I wanted to see round the area described in the book. I went there for a couple of days to examine the remaining swells and the cape. Fortunately, there are no modern buildings, this is a park area. During the first day I found a seal ring with the fortress plan on it with the help of a metal detector”.

Earlier the archaeologists found the whole ancient coins collection attesting an intense trade barter that is characteristic of a large settlement, town or village. Going deeper into its historical layer, they discovered 12 coins with one and a half grosz value minted by the king of Poland, Sigismund the III who took a German “drypelker” (coin) as a model. This coin, called “poltorak” or “Czech”, was quite widely used in spite of its poor silver content (30 percent). Being very popular, this Czech was often skillfully imitated.  

The town of Samar gives cause to the specialists to shift back Dnepropetrovsk`s foundation date to several centuries. The archaeologists faced even more stunning discovery in Pridneprovie in 1930s while exploring the area that had to be flooded before the Dneproges hydro plant building. They had to explore the cultural layer at least within the most probable research area as soon as possible. It was at this time when the scientists discovered the borders of the ancient town that dates back to the IX – XIII centuries and is situated in Staraya Igren (Old Igren) village area. They managed to make deeper research in late 1960s – early 1970s. Some districts of this town with half dug-outs as well as some cooper and glass workshops were found on the Samara riverside. It was obvious that there used to be quite large trade craft town on the Igren riverside.

It turns out to be that Dnepropetrovsk is more than one thousand years old. Why not?

If the city`s authorities as well as charitable and sponsor foundations contribute to an effective historical study, we could dig even deeper.

Pridneprovie is a real archaeological Mecca, one of the historically richest territories.  Traces of the human race`s activity from the deepest thousand - year’s layers were found there. One may not wonder considering the fact that the Dnieper has always been the gem of this fertile and paradisiacal land.

The problem is that archaeologists haven`t been able to eliminate some historical gaps in a continuous urban life chain so far to meet documentation requirements. It’s a common fact that traditional approach to the chronology of cities is based on the first date written record. This is a very rigid approach which is worth being accepted if the aphorism “Manuscripts can`t be burnt” is considered to be a pure truth.

Even stones of cities fall to pieces with time, but there is their genetic memory left.

Its historical aroma saturates the air of this wonderful land called “Pridneprovie”.


Anatoly Korotchenko