Tourist Routes Exploring Ancient Hillforts

Dorohobuzʹke horodyshche (Dorohobuzh Hillfort)

Dorohobuzh Hillfort is located on the northern outskirts of the Dorohobuzh village, on the left bank of the Horyn River.


Archaeological Monument of National Importance


Rivne Oblast, Babyn Territorial Community (Hromada), Dorohobuzh Village


50.6345, 26.56186

Travel Distance to the city centre of the city of Rivne:

26,9 km


Dorohobuzh Hillfort or Dorohobuzh settlement is repeatedly mentioned in chronicles from the end of the 11th century to the beginning of the 13th century. The first information about it is found in the Tale of Bygone Years, often known in English as the Rus’ Primary Chronicle, in the story about the events of 1084. At that period Vsevolod I Yaroslavich, the Grand Prince of Kyiv, gave the city to Davyd Ihorovych (David Igorevich), grandson of Yaroslav the Wise. Dorohobuzh becomes the centre of a separate principality.

The chronicle refers to an existing settlement that arose earlier. “Pravda Yaroslavychiv” or ‘Ustav Yaroslavychiv”, the code of legal norms approved in 1072, confirms this conclusion. According to article 23 of “Pravda” there is penalty (“vira”) of 80 hryvnias for murder of the senior groom at a herd (i.e. the servant in a princely household), and then there is a reference to the precedent:  “as Dorohobudtsi killed him”.

Scholars link the events mentioned in this article to the Kyiv uprising in 1068. Iziaslav Yaroslavich, the Grand Prince of Kyiv, was forced to flee from popular anger to the west, to Poland, and later returned with a large foreign army and restored his power in Kyiv.

Dorohobuzh was mentioned quite often in the middle of the 12th century when Yuri I Vladimirovich, commonly known as Yuri Dolgorukiy or the Long Arm, and Iziaslav II Mstislavich were struggling for the Kyiv throne. As soon as Yuri managed to capture Kyiv, and Izyaslav was forced to retreat to Volhynia, a conflict arose between them over the border Pohorynnia and its main centres – Dorohobuzh and Peresopnytsia.

Each of the rivals tried to send his son or an allied prince to govern here. From 1149 to 1154, due to the unstable political situation seven separate princes changed in Pohorynnia.

In the 12th century, Dorohobuzh was developing as a medieval city and its area reaches 30 hectares. The important factors that influenced the development of Dorohobuzh in the era of Kyivan (Kievan) Rus include its status as the administrative and political centre of Pohorynnia, the centre of the principality, convenient location at the intersection of routes – water paths on the Horyn River and overland roads, leading from Kyiv to Volodymyr-Volynskyi, border position of Pohorynnia volost on the border between Kyiv and Volhynia principalities.

After the Mongol invasion, in the second half of the 13th century, Dorohobuzh is not mentioned in chronicles. Later it was named among the Volhynian cities in the “The List of the Far and Close Rus’ Cities and Towns”, compiled in the late 14th century. According to M. Tykhomyrov, when the author of the “List” wrote about a city or a town he meant a fortified area. This report indicates that the settlement was not abandoned, life continued in it in the 11th century.

Medieval Dorohobuzh stayed on the high terrace of the left valley bank of the Horyn River near a stream that joins it. The remains of the settlement have been preserved here and large areas of the posad, i.e. a settlement, often surrounded by ramparts and a moat, adjoining a town or a kremlin (fortification), have been discovered.

Dorohobuzh Hillfort belongs to the monuments of complex mass type. It covers three fortified parts with a total area of 5.5 hectares. The 1.7-hectare detinets (an ancient Rus’ city-fort or central fortified part of a city, similar to the meaning of kremlin, citadel) was built on the cape and on the side of the field-facing rampart (the one facing the enemy) it was surrounded by a rampart up to 4 m high. From the north, the detinets was protected by three parallel ramparts, which have not been preserved.

The old maps show a descent or a section of road here that led to Horyn River, probably to a wooden bridge mentioned in the chronicles. The area of the outer city lied to the south-east of the detinets. This is an area with the sizes of 125×110 m, which is protected by an arched rampart up to 4 m high on three sides (except for the western one, adjacent to the detinets). At the beginning of the 20th century the western section of the rampart was destroyed and turned into a system of terraces.

Further south, 100 m from the rampart of the eastern part of the outer city, there was another line of defence, which protected the second site of the outer city. The preserved sections of the rampart and moat begin in the east near the gully, cross the hill and descend on the western slope to the floodplain of the stream.

Historic reference: B. Pryshchepa (2016). Pohorynski mista v Х-ХІІІ st. (The Cities of Pohorynnia in 10th-13th Centuries). Rivne: PP Diatlyk M., 297 pages; photograph and video: Yurii Oitsius

Routes that pass through this location