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Palanka’s on the Ukrainian lands in the middle of the XVII century

Tetiana Gedz

(in the "Book of travel" by Evliya Celebi)

The article devoted to the description of ‘palanka’s on the Ukrainian lands the middle of the XVII century in the "Book of Travel" by Turkish traveler and military leader Evliya Celebi. In the modern historical dictionaries the word “palanca” means a unit of administrative-territorial division of the New Sich in 1734-1775. But in the middle of the XVII century this word means a kind of fortified settlements outside the city walls, or standing alone, usually in the areas protected by nature. We will pay attention to the descriptions by Evliya Celebi in 1657 and 1666 of palanca Kapustina Dolina and palanca Doshka that were among the few sites of settled life on the steppe border. From these description one can get such information about palanca’s:

1. Palanca’s placed on the islands among the lakes or in swamps. In the absence of elements of mountain relief rivers, lakes or marshes wele the key elements of protecting fortifications.

2. Path to the palanca’s led through the long wooden causeways, paved over the marshes.

3. In palanca’s lived both military and civilian population. From the exaggerated figures in the description by Evliya Celebi we can’t judge about the real number of houses, shops and churches there, but we can confirm about their presence. First of all, palanca’s performed the role of the outposts with the permanent garrison, and temporary bases of the military commanders during the war campaigns.

Palanca Kapustina Dolina is marked on the Special map of Ukraine by Boplan, 1650. Now it is Kapustine village in Cherkasy region. Author tried to locate palanca Doshka (this word means “a plank”) on the basis of indications by Evliua Celebi. “One passage” in the text Evlii Celebi limited by the maximum distance of 90 km. On a conventional line Bratslav – Kapustina Dolina now is the village Palanca in Cherkasy region. It places on the same distance from both points and probably was the palanca Doshka in the middle of XVII century.

Kapustina Dolina on Special map of…

Fig. 1. Kapustina Dolina and supposed designation of another palanca on Special map of Ukraine by Beauplan, 1650 (south – at the top)

At the Special map of Ukraine by Beauplan palanca Doshka doesn’t marked. But on this map is an object that has not attracted attention previously. It is situated at the confluence of two tributaries of Tyasmin, one of which is called the Sukhij Tashlyk, in a rather large lake (Jezioro). This lake has been partially or completely handmade, as evidenced by weir marked on the map. On an island in the middle of the lake is located the sign, which means a new colony (Fig. 1). This object could be a palanca, similar to those described above, as evidenced by its placement on the island and the lack of titles.

Palanca Kapustina Dolina, Doshka and others like them were typical for the border with the steppe forms of settled life. Probably, they existed until the end of the XVII century. Then they were disappeared, leaving only the name of the area and possibly a small amount of the settled population.