The biggest on the Dnieper River, the Khortytsia Island was announced a natural and cultural reserve back in 1965.
Being inhabited within the last 5 millennia, nowadays the island has become a place of numerous archeological and historical findings.
Among interesting ancient artifacts are Bronze Age sanctuaries used both for cult purposes and celestial bodies observation, as well as Scythian fortification and burials. Actually, different nomadic tribes hosted Khortytsya before Slavs settled on the island in the 10th century. Thanks to high rocky cliffs on the north and rough rapids of the Dnieper River upstream, making it difficult to reach, the island was used as a Cossack base and has become a part of the Zaporizhyan Sich in the 16th-18th centuries. After abolishing the Zaporizhian Host, the Russian Empress Katherine II gave Khortytsia to possession of count Potyomkin who planned to build a palace surrounded with a park there. It did not happen, and the island has become a home for German Mennonite settlers, which made another 130 years of the Khortystia history. The October Revolution and the World War II events did not get around and raged on the island too.
Owing to uniqueness and diversity of the local nature, fortified with extended scientific interest to the island on the Dnieper River, Khortytsia was declared a reserve. Indeed, there are not many river islands on the planet that happen to have together rocky cliffs and vibrant green floodplains, forests and steppe areas, marches and lakes, ancient findings and national history glory alike.
Gaining a historical vector of development, which resulted in opening a museum back in the Soviet times, the reserve has eventually grown into the most abundant Cossack theme exposition. It also tracks the island history in many interesting details from the ancient time to nowadays.
There are plenty of different routes and excursions on Khortytsia. Though some of them are doable under good weather conditions only. We would say visiting the island is a real must if you happen to be in Zaporizhzhya. Plus, you might be lucky seeing real Cossack Equestrian Show there. And some of the shows are ended with Cossack horilka and kasha (vodka and cereal) treat, which should not be missed if one is already there.