Reserve "Cossack graves" (Berestechko)

Cossack graves are a unique place, sacred for every indifferent Ukrainian. It was here, on these green meadows and swamps, several centuries ago our glorious ancestors gave their lives for the freedom of the Ukrainian people.

It was here, in the middle of three settlements - Ostrog, Berestechka and Plyashev - in 1651, the largest battle of the War of Liberation took place under the leadership of Hetman B. Khmelnitsky. 100-thousandth Cossack army with the support of 30 thousand Tatar khan of Islam III Girey fought under Berestechkom with 300-thousand Polish army of King Jan Kazimir II.

At the most important turning point, the Tatar army treacherously retreated due to any unfavorable omens, thereby prejudging the outcome of the battle. Despite the heroic resistance, the Cossacks were defeated, losing, according to various estimates, from 10 to 30 thousand killed. Most of them were simply buried alive in swamps and marshes.

In 1912 in memory of the tragic events on the site of the battle the St. George Monastery was founded, the wooden St. Michael's Church of the XVII century was moved here, in which Khmelnitsky prayed before the battle. According to the project of architects V.Maksimov and A.Schusev a magnificent temple-monument of St.George in the style of Cossack temples with nine chapters, a unique external iconostasis, a "balcony" church of Boris and Gleb and an underground passage was erected. The underground passage connects the St. Michael's Church with the underground chapel-burial-vault of Paraskeva Friday at the St. George's Church, where the remains of the dead Cossacks are buried.

In 1966, a museum-preserve "Cossack graves" was created on the territory of the monastery. Now it is the National Historical and Memorial Reserve "The Field of the Berestetskaya Battle". The museum of the complex presents finds made by archaeologists on the battlefield. In 1991, the first president of Ukraine opened a monument to the Cossacks here. The current St. George Monastery belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

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