Zmievy Valy

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Zmievy Valy

 

(Zmievy Ramparts), the popular name for ancient earthen defensive installations running south of Kiev on both banks of the Dnieper and along its tributaries. The name is derived from the legend that Russian bogatyrs defeated the dragon (Russian, zmeii), harnessed it to a plow, and plowed huge furrows. Remnants of the Zmievy Ramparts are preserved along the Vit’, Krasnaia, Stugna, Trubezh, Sula, Ros’, and other rivers. Some sections of the ramparts are as much as several dozen km long and up to 10 m high. Similar installations, Trajan’s Ramparts, have also been found in the Dnestr area. It has not been established in what period the Zmievy Ramparts were erected. Some scholars believe that they were built by farming tribes in the first millennium B.C. as a defense against the Scythians. According to another hypothesis, the Zmievy Ramparts were built in the tenth and llth centuries in the Kievan state under Prince Vladimir Sviatoslavich and his successors as a defense against the Pechenegs and Polovtsians.

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