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An Autumn Walk at the Khortitsa Island

December 12, 2011, 1:20 4291 Author: Anton Bondarenko, translated by Natalia Palanitsya blog.klubok.org.ua "A melancholy time! So charming to the eye! Your beauty in its parting pleases me - I love the lavish withering of nature, The gold and scarlet raiment of the woods"

These words of the immortal classical poet Pushkin were the beginning of the walk of 10 orphans of the Zaporozhye orphanage #3 around the Khortitsa Island, along with 9 children from large families, chaperones and some parents.

The railway station "Zaporozhye Sech" was the meeting point where most participants arrived at by suburban train. The first planned stop was at the stables of the Equestrian Theatre. At the entrance we were met by a very tall Russian wolfhound named Danya.

While the children were getting to know the horses in the stables, Victor the donkey was already bossing around our things in the courtyard

The egg should have been warmed by children's palms for the dinosaur to hatch out of its shell

Then our way was to head south

Well, sometimes we had to move around the island this way

Having a short rest at the Cossack cross

Next stop of our trip was at the unique museum " Scythian Stan" that includes 11 burial mounds. 3 of them are real, the others were piled up in the places where they had been destroyed before. There are some gravestones of The Bronze Age and Polovetskiy statues on the mounds. The museum is situated at the height of 57 meters above the Dnipro river level. It is the highest point of the Khortitsa Island. The highest point is crowned by the biggest survived mound (a burial place of the Scyths) - «Zorovaya Mogila». Also, there is a lapidarium open-air museum. We saw millstones there that are a symbol of prosperity and fertility, a roller or a thresher, a device for thrashing grain, mortars for grinding grain, statues, ancient gravestones and much more.

But we have to move on

A comfortable place to rest

Along with walking there was some time for playing "spies".

Our destination: Protolche settlement. This settlement is located on southern part of the island, close to Osokorovoye lake. In the literature it is called "Protolchiy brod" or "Protolcha". It existed in X-XIV centuries. Originally this place appeared as a commercial-handicraft settlement of the Slavics - Brodniks and did not have any fortifications. It's believed that this place was sort of an outpost between the Slavic people and the Steppe Nomads. Its exceptional strategic location is a reason that allows us to suppose that Protolche was one of the essential places from where Zaporozhye Sech started growing and building out as a military and administration center.

While the table was being set Zhenya started to do chores trying to shine the soot from the kettle

Ilya was at the same time fighting with an "unknown monster"

And Tolya was preparing some wood for winter

This is Petya, a 5 year old hero of our 16-kilometer trip

Next to Protolche there is a pre-reed bed part of Khortitsa. In the reed beds there are more than 20 lakes, channels, coves, small islands and semi-islands. They are the remnants of a once endless reed bed mass "Velikiy Lug Zaporozhskiy". Water chestnuts and floating ferns are the peers of dinosaurs that have found shelter in the lakes of Khortitsa.

But, it was only halfway. We had 8 more kilometers to go, for the way back

That Sunday was particularly warm and the trip around Khortitsa turned out to be a beautiful autumn day.

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