Settlement ‘Horodok’ and Prospects for Medieval Fortress of ‘Balyklei’ Studying

Keywords: Balyklei, Golden Horde, archeology, numismatics, ‘steppe cities’


In 1998, MDPI (Mykolaiv State Pedagogical Institute) expedition headed by Yu.S. Hrebennikov conducted a study of a stratified settlement and burial ground near the village of Horodok of Variushyne Village Council of Veselynove Raion of Mykolaiv Oblast. It was found out that the largest part of the site was damaged during the forest plantings. Deep draining plowing completely destroyed the cultural layer in the southern part, behind the biggest rampart. The site has three ramparts: the first, the southernmost, is almost unnoticeable; the 2nd is barely noticeable, with the height of not more than 0.3 m; the 3rd rampart is well preserved, and its height reaches 2.0 m in some places. There is also a clearly noticeable moat up to 3.0 m wide and no more than 1.0 m deep.

To carry out the planned research, 5 prospect holes with a total area of 18 square meters were sunk. The holes № 1-4 were located along the central North-South axis, the hole № 5 was sunk 15 m east from the hole № 4. The holes № 3-5 were located in the ‘castle’ part of the ancient settlement, to the north of the biggest rampart.

As a medieval site, the settlement of Horodok is also known among archaeologists as the fortress of Balyklei. Supposedly, during the time of the Golden Horde, the nomadic headquarters of the khan were located here, and the city itself was a trade and craft center of the North-Western Black Sea region. This is confirmed by the finds of coins of such khans as Uzbek, Janibek, Kildibek, Abdullah, Berdi Beg, Khidr, and Tokhtamysh. There is also an assumption that in the 15th century in the fortress there was a mint (temporary or field) and the coins of Khan Mengli I Giray (V. Pyvorovych) were minted there.

Most information about the Golden Horde cities we have got from the descriptions of travelers or other written sources of the 14th – 15th centuries or from maps of the 17th – 18th centuries. Ukrainian Golden Horde archeology is in an unsatisfactory condition, so researches are being conducted chaotically, and the systematization of discovered and studied sites is extremely poor. The last remark is also true concerning the ‘steppe cities’ located on the territory of Mykolaiv Oblast.

Carrying out systematic research on the territory of Balyklei will give an opportunity to reconsider the region’s place on the land trade routes from the Crimea to Europe, to study the Golden Horde city organization, to broaden the knowledge on the Golden Horde, and the Crimean numismatics.


Beletskaia, O.V. (2017). Balyklei v XIV-XVI vekakh materialy k izucheniiu istoricheskoi geografii Podolii i Severnogo Prichernomoria [Balykley in the 14th – 16th centuries (materials of the historical geography of Podolia and the Northern Black Sea Region)]. Zolotoordynskaia tsivilizatsiia, 10, 398-408 [in Russian].

Biletska, O. (2016). «Rybne mistse» chy «Dolyna troiand»: materialy do vyvchennia Balykleia [«Fish Place» or «Valley of Roses»: materials to study Balykleya]. Abstracts of Papers: XX Skhodoznavchi studii A. Krymskoho, Kyiv, рp. 31-32 [in Ukrainian].

Egorov, V.L. (1985). Istoricheskaia geografiia Zolotoi Ordy v XIII-XIV vv. [Historical geography of the Golden Horde in the XIII-XIV centuries]. Moskva: Nauka [in Russian].

Fabritsius, I.V. (1951). Arkheologicheskaia karta Prichernomoria Ukrainskoi SSR [Archaeological map of the Black Sea coast of the Ukrainian SSR]. Kiev: Izd-vo AN USSR [in Russian].

Grebennikov, Yu.S. & Gorbenko, K.V. (1998). Otchet o rabote ekspeditsii Nikolaevskogo pedagogicheskogo instituta v 1998 g. [Report on work of expedition of the Nikolaev pedagogical institute in 1998]. The Scientific Archive of Institute Archaeology of NAS of Ukraine, 42 [in Russian].

Khromov, K. (2020). Blukaiuchy shliakhamy «VIA TATARICA» (problemy vyznachennia torhovykh shliakhiv dzhuchydskoi doby na terenakh suchasnoi Ukrainy) [Wandering along the roads «VIA TATARICA» (Problems of determining the trade routes of the Juchid era in the territory of modern Ukraine)]. Ukrainskyi numizmatychnyi shchorichnyk, 3, 53-66 [in Ukrainian].

Khromov, K. (2020). Lokalizatsiia azovo-chernomorskogo uchastka torgovoi dorogi Tatarskii shliakh iz Azaka vo Lvov po numizmaticheskim dannym [The location of the Tatar shlyakh trade road from Azaq to Lviv along the Northern Coast of Azov Sea and Black Sea (according to numismatic data)]. Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie, 8 (2), 274-283 [in Russian].

Khromov, K. (2004). Monetnyi dvor vtoroi chetverti XV veka Orda Bazar v nizhnedneprovskom regione [Mint of the second quarter of the 15th century «Horde Bazar» in the Lower Dnieper region] In Khromov, K.K. Vostochnaia numizmatika v Ukraine. Sbornik publikatsii. Vol. I: Monety Dzhuchidov XIII-XV vekov. Kiev [in Ukrainian].

Pachkalov, A.V. (2005). O lokalizatsii monetnogo dvora Orda-Bazar (XV v.) [About localization of the Orda-Bazar mint (15th century)]. Rossiiskaia arkheologiia, 2, 87-92 [in Russian].

Pivorovich, V.B. (2013). K voprosu o chekanke monet Mengli I Gireia na teritorii kreposti Balykleia na r. Yuzhnyi Bug [On the issue of minting coins of Mengli I Girey on the territory of the Balikleya fortress on the r. Southern Bug] In Khromov, K.K. Vostochnaia numizmatika v Ukraine. Vol. III: Ulus Dzhuchi, Krymskoe khanstvo i sopredelnye gosudarstva v XIII-XVIII vv. Kyiv: Logos [in Russian].

Pivorovych, V.B. (2008). Monety i skarby Pivdnia Ukrainy [Coins and Noards of the Southern Ukraine]. Kherson [in Ukrainian].

Vyrskyi, D. (2015). Retsenziia na: Cherkas B. Zakhidni volodinnia Ulusu Dzhuchy: politychna istoriia, terytorialno-administratyvnyi ustrii, ekonomika, mista (XIII-XIV st.). K.: Instytut istorii Ukrainy NAN Ukrainy, 2014 [Review of: Cherkasy B. Western possessions of Ulus Juchi: political history, territorial-administrative system, economy, cities (XIII-XIV centuries). K.: Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2014]. Ukrainskyi istorychnyi zhurnal, 2, 197-205 [in Ukrainian].

Yelnykov, M.V. (2008). Zolotoordynski chasy na ukrainskykh zemliakh [Golden Horde times in the Ukrainian lands]. Kyiv: Nash chas [in Ukrainian].

How to Cite
GospodarenkoO. (2021). Settlement ‘Horodok’ and Prospects for Medieval Fortress of ‘Balyklei’ Studying. Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (1(33), 328-338.
Middle Ages