Berezan Island


The island that witnessed many civilizations

Berezan Island is located in Ochakіv district in Mykolaiv region, a few kilometers from Rybakіvka resort .

From the east and north it is washed by the waters of the Dnieper and the Bug, and from the south and west by the Black Sea. The island is not very big. It is 850 meters long, 350 meters wide in the north and 200 meters wide in the south.

Berezan island had different names, such as Borisphen or Borisphenida, Holy Eleutherae, Byuryuk-Yuzen-Ada, Byuro-Uzen-Ozim, Buyan Dolsky and the island of Lieutenant Schmidt.

Berezan has a rich history. The Greeks, Romans, Goths, Normans, Turks, Russians, British, French and Zaporozhian Cossacks dropped anchor at its shores.

At the end of the 7th century BC there was the first ancient Greek settlement in the Northern Black Sea coast.

At that time, this area was a peninsula and its territory was twice bigger than you can see today and the sea level was 5-6 meters lower at that time. A little later, the peninsula became a foothold for establishing Olbia - a Greek city-state.

Today, the island of Berezan is a part of the historical and archaeological reserve "Olbia". In the 4th century BC the inhabitants had to leave the settlement, as the peninsula started moving away from the mainland and the island was formed.

Berezan - a strategic outpost

In times of the Kyivan Rus the trade route "from the Vikings to the Greeks\” was passing through the island. In the XII century the island became a strategic point at the entrance to the estuary.

For a while the island was owned by Zaporozhian Cossacks, who warned off the attacks of Turkish troops, but later the Turks invaded the island. The Turks built a fortress, taking control of the way out of the Dnieper-Bug estuary into the Black Sea. During the Russian-Turkish war Zaporozhian Cossacks stormed the island.

Berezan is also called the island of Lieutenant Schmidt, who was shot here in 1906. In 1968 on the highest southern point of Berezan island the original monument to P.P.Shmidt and his associates was built. It looks like a huge, wind-filled sail - the marine symbol of courage and firmness of the sailors.

Vessels that were going from Kyivan Rus to Byzantium and back stopped on the island of Berezan. During archaeological excavations the ruins of a famous temple dedicated to the mythical hero Achilles, praised by Homer were found. Pushkin also mentioned this island as “Buyan island” in "The Tale of Tsar Saltan".