Khotyn Fortress is a XIII-XVIII centuries fortress, located in Khotyn on the Dniester. Included in the list of historical and cultural monuments "Seven Wonders of Ukraine".
Khotyn Fortress originates from Khotyn fort, which was founded in the X century on the rocky promontory formed by the high right bank of the Dniester River valley and its tributaries. Its current look it has acquired in the 1340's: under the rule of Stephen the Great of Moldavia the fortress was greatly expanded. Under his leadership, 40 meters (130 ft) high walls were built. He also added five towers, raised the courtyard by 10 meters (33 ft) and dug deep cellars to store supplies. In XVIII century the south wall and South (Entrance) gate with wooden bridges were built by the Turks with the help of invited French engineers. They built a new castle around the old fortress, which was designed to accommodate 20 thousand troops, as well as a mosque with minaret. At that time, the fortress was one of the mightiest fortifications in Eastern Europe.
Today, the most preserved part of the complex is Khotyn castle area of 1200 by 250 meters (3937 by 820 ft). Stone and earth fortifications stretch more than a kilometre around it: earthen wall with bastions, moat along with Yasska, Benderska and Ruska gates. Once there were barracks, workshops, stables, baths in the fortress, but only a stone church of Alexander Nevsky, (built in 1835) former military school and the ruins of the minaret survived to this day. The yard of the castle is divided into two parts: the bigger – with residential buildings (ruined now) and a well in the center (diameter – 2.5 m or 8 ft, depth – 65 m or 213 ft, still with water) – it is called the Warriors court. Wooden bridge serves as an entrance to the castle, it was rebuilt in 1969.
The fortress has five towers: South (Entry) tower, South-west tower, Western (Commandant) tower, North Tower and East Tower. The largest – North has an area of 18 by 19 meters (59 by 62 ft), has four tiers of loopholes. The towers have exits to the battle area, which stretches along the defensive wall and is protected by three-meter (10 ft) high stone battlements.
Today there is the State Historical-Architectural Reserve. Many films were shot here: Zahar Berkut, The Ballad of the Valiant Knight Ivanhoe, D'Artagnan and Three Musketeers, Black Arrow, The Arrows of Robin Hood, Taras Bulba and others.