Defensive structures of Kyivan Rus

The construction of defensive structures played a significant role in the architecture of Kyivan Rus. Typically, the location of ancient Rus cities was determined by the geography, with natural obstacles such as rivers, hills, and ravines providing protection from most sides.

The unprotected sides of the cities were fortified with defensive structures.

The simplest form of fortification was an earthen rampart topped with a wooden palisade (Chastokil – in Ukrainian) or fence made of horizontally placed logs. The outer side of the ramparts was surrounded by a ditch formed during the excavation of soil for the construction of the rampart.

A more sophisticated construction was the rampart with “gorodni” – wooden log structures filled with soil. This design provided strength, increased steepness, and protected against landslides. Wooden walls, formed by the above-ground parts of the gorodni, ran along the top of the rampart.

Hoardings (Zaborola  – in Ukrainian) were located on the walls – combat platforms for the defenders of the city. These were wooden shed-like constructions projecting on consoles beyond the outer line of the defensive wall or tower.

Battlements for shooting were placed in the front wall, and openings in the floor were designed for vertical defense of the rampart. The tops of the hoardings were covered with roofs. To prevent fires, the wooden parts of the gorodni and hoardings were coated with clay.

Gate-towers (Brama – in Ukrainian) played a crucial role in the defensive fortifications, serving as important links in the defense of cities. Gates were constructed in the form of towers with a passage in the lower part. Walls and ramparts were adjacent to the sides of the gate-tower.

In cases where there was a moat in front of the gate, a narrow wooden bridge was built over it. In times of danger, the defenders of the city sometimes destroyed the bridges themselves to hinder the enemy’s approach to the gates.

In the AW23 BRAMA collection, dedicated to the architectural heritage of Kyivan Rus, special attention is given to references to defensive structures.

The wooden palisade is recreated in palazzo trousers through vertical pleats.

Defensive hoardings are reflected in the dress and top with a massive overhanging collar imitating shingles.

Dranka cape is a reinterpretation of a defensive outpost covered with an impenetrable scale of wooden planks.


KHYZHA collection continues to explore Ukrainian architecture and its construction traditions, reinterpreting the architectural heritage and daily life of the inhabitants of the Ukrainian Carpathians. PODYH embraces the simplicity and clarity of the forms and lines characteristic of the region’s buildings, creating a connection between centuries-old traditions and the present.

The collection’s name, KHYZHA, which means “dwelling” in Ukrainian, refers to the traditional houses of the Lemko people, one of the ethnic groups in the Carpathian region.

The collection embodies the shapes of various traditional structures such as wooden churches, bell towers, windmills, and houses, as well as architectural and construction methods used by masters.

“It was fascinating to explore techniques used by different craftsmen and integrate them into garments,” says Daria Plaksyuk. For example, the traditional carved talisman six-petal rosette (called Gromovyk in Ukraine) has been reinterpreted and adorns cutouts on the back of dresses and tops.

The silhouettes of the styles also replicate the volumes and forms of architecture: lively and light fabrics represent the connection with these incredible buildings through wide, trapezoidal, and stepped structures.

Special emphasis was placed on the colors in this collection, which reflect both the natural elements of Carpathian architecture – wood, straw, and clay – and the colors of regional ornaments and decorations.

Among the looks of the collection, the raffia dress occupies a special place. With its imitation of the structure of a thatched roof and a multitude of refined details, this dress becomes a true work of art.

Another highlight of the collection is the bags and accessories. “I am very proud of the accessories made from leather scraps, which mimic traditional roofing techniques such as “Dranka,” a type of wooden shingle, and thatched roofs.

Additionally, this season we introduced the Vitryak keychain, a handmade leather accessory that reinterprets the traditional wooden windmill,” says Daria Plaksyuk.

The name of each item is a Ukrainian word associated with its architectural inspiration, such as Vitryak – windmill, Dzvinytsya – bell tower, Dranka, Gont – types of wood shingle, Strikha – straw roof, and others. It helps to stay connected and further delve into the heritage of the region and style.

The decorative element of the pediment – tympanum (in Ukrainian – Tympan) – is reflected in the scalloped bottom

The delicate ornament of lace carvings is reflected in the embroidery on the Merezhyvo dress

The Dranka cape is a reinterpretation of a defensive outpost covered with impenetrable scales of wooden boards

The inspiration for the creation of Dranka dress was the traditional method of covering roofs with wooden boards (in Ukrainian – Dranka)

The defensive tower-fence (in Ukrainian – Zaborola) is recreated in Zaborola top through a massive overhanging collar with imitation of wood shingles

The defensive tower-fence (in Ukrainian – Zaborola) is recreated in dress through a massive overhanging collar with imitation of wood shingles

Wooden palisade (in Ukrainian – Chastokil) is recreated in palazzo pants through vertical pleats

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The tower-like shape of traditional Ukrainian wooden churches was reproduced in the image of Vezha pants and Vezha skirt