For the first time in Ukrainian historiography, the authors of the article pay
attention to the urban genesis of the Podilya town of Zhvanets, which has historically been
formed as an important border point. Due to the geographical location and relief features of
the area, the states to which it belonged, saw it as strategic. Despite this, in the scientific
literature there is a little attention payed to the issue of urban development of the town, as a
result of which Zhvanets (as of 2020 - the center of Zhvanets United Territorial Community)
does not have a vision of regeneration of historical and architectural environment, which, if
used properly, can serve as an impetus to the economic development of the village. Properly
formed programs, which combine agricultural lands with lands of nature reserves, lands of
historical and cultural purposes into a single concept, will give sustainable development of the
territory and increase the well-being of its population. The publication for the first time
introduces archival and iconographic sources into scientific circulation, which allow to
reconstruct Zhvanets during its belonging to the Commonwealth in the 17th–18th centuries. In
addition, the authors hypothesize the localization of the ancient settlment of Plav on the
territory of modern Zhvanets – Zagora district. The hypothesis was formed on the basis of a
written mention in Ruthenian and Halytsko-Volynskyi chronicles, as well as on the available
traces of the cape settlement on the right bank of the river Zhvanchyk at the place of its
confluence with the river Dnister. With the help of historical cartography, the condition of the
settlement in the 18th–20th centuries was analysed, including its structure and type of planning.
On the maps of the 18th century the settlement is depicted as dicotyledonous, with strong strips
of earthen fortifications, but from the second half of the 19th century a fortified birthplace
remained from the settlement. Its outline is shown in a German aerial photograph of 1944.
According to the results of the research, it was established that the birthplace of the settlement
had no connection with the fortified post (or suburbs), because the shaft of the birthplace has
no place of rupture, and accordingly, did not have an entrance gate on the field side. Therefore,
we assume that Plav was a military base, built as an observation post and served as a military
satellite town of the capital Khotyn.
Based on comprehensive studies of historical sources, iconography and the current state
of cultural heritage, it is established that the planning characteristics of the castle and the
central part of the town (town center) belong to the regular type of modern times, which lasted
in the Commonwealth during the 17th century. The castle itself has been adapted for the use of
artillery since its construction, which makes it impossible to exist in ancient times. Instead, the
earthen fortifications of the town, which were recorded in detail in the historical cartography
of the 18th century, look quite simple and do not include the heritage of the fortification art of
that time, which opens for future researchers other promising issues, including the place of
Zhvanets (as well as Plav) in the hierarchy of border defense facilities of Middle Transnistria.
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