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Knights of the Dnieper rapids

The Dnieper rapids now rest under the deep waters of the main river of Ukraine. And there was a time when, over 80 kilometers from Yekaterinoslav to Khortitsa, the Dnieper was blocked by stone rocks protruding from the water. Only specially trained pilot-pilots could get around them. The center of this dangerous profession was the village of Pilot Kamenka (now it is the southern suburb of Dnipro). After the construction of the Dnieper Dam in 1932, the rapids were flooded, and the profession became unnecessary. The descendants of the pilots are now very proud of their ancestors. We offer to go to places where the glorious Dnieper knights lived.

PILOT HOLIDAY – A MODEL OF CURRENT OTG

It is not known for certain when a permanent pilot organization appeared on the thresholds. They began to settle here on the orders of the Zaporozhye kosh in 1656. The Pilot Kamenka, Stari Kodaki, the village of Shirokoye and the Sursky farms belonged to the community.

“The Dnieper pilots are direct descendants of the Cossacks, who transported ships across the thresholds …” wrote the ethnographer-traveler Alexander Afanasyev-Chuzhbinsky, who visited Lots-Kamenka in the second half of the 19th century. “A pilot … a person who has become accustomed to danger since childhood , and therefore, in his very appearance, we observe courage and a certain arrogance.His walk was more vigorous and the posture of the body was more direct than that of an ordinary peasant … because he used to be quick during the crossing over rapids, where sometimes fate depends on one instant barges and ife few people … Often pilot takes with him on the flesh of the Son to the boy learned to despise danger, remembered rocks and their names, getting used to its useful, but dangerous trade. ”

According to the Dnieper guide enthusiast Anton Mukhin, the area was later populated with the construction of the Kodak fortress in the middle of the 17th century. The settlement was formed from two – there were a Pilot and a Kamenka, which united. Prince Potemkin in 1783 reorganized the pilotage service, which was associated with the settlement of the steppe region and the founding of new port cities, and Colonel Faliev became the head of all pilots. All pilot pilots were assembled, of which at that time there were 120 people. The movement along the Dnieper was very busy, thousands of ships, barges, rafts, and cargo boats cruised along it all day and night. Therefore, the authority of the Cossack pilots on the Dnieper was very high.

Although the descendant of the pilots clan, Yuri Kazanets, believes that the history of the village is much more than 300 years, because during the construction of the South Bridge, when the right bank was cut off, settlements were found much older.

If there were thresholds, this profession should have existed with them, because only specialists could overcome them, ”says Kazanets.

He said that, according to the tradition of the old-timers, the pilot community was based on democratic principles. Interestingly, this settlement had special rights: its inhabitants did not submit to the local Yekaterinoslav government, but to the Ministry of Railways, they did not pay taxes and had a number of benefits. Twice a year, before the opening of navigation and before its completion, the community held a general meeting, resolved basic issues and elected the chieftain, his assistant, treasurer and clerk. The settlement was interesting in the administrative division: there were hundreds — this was a hundred yards, where a hundred was elected, to whom the tenants obeyed, each of which was responsible for ten yards. In total, there were 11 hundred, that is, in the village there were 1,100 yards, and hundreds were as deputies of the village council. This device was supported until the 60s of the last century.

It is known that pilots had their own charter, according to which rafting was carried out. It clearly spelled out how many people should be on the raft, how the work is paid. Pilots received 25 rubles a year. Half of their earnings from the rafting were left at the general cash desk and, following the example of the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks, were spent on general needs.

For this money, his own school was built, a stone church in honor of the patron saint of pilots Nikolai the Miracle Worker. In the local hospital for orphans, Olga Kosach-Krivinyuk, the sister of Lesya Ukrainka, was treating. According to the recollections of residents, even an amateur theater was in the village, staged “Natalka Poltavka”.

Interestingly, they approached the strategic stock of bread. The grain was stored in warehouses, renewing every three years. If there was a crop failure, then every pilot could borrow grain without interest, and from a new crop it had to be returned.

It was in Lots-Kamenka that pilots carried out water-metering observations of the Dnieper – a water-measuring post was located on the island near the village.

The famous ethnographer-traveler Alexander Afanasyev-Chuzhbinsky lived in Lots-Kamenka for some time and studied the life of its inhabitants. He noted that the pilots are very hardworking and very funny people, calm. There were no drunkards in the village at all. Although signs and traditions were their own – how to “pour in”, or “smooth out” the road, “dampen” the wind. If for some reason the alloy was delayed, whether the paperwork was bothering him, the pilots turned to the merchant, and he had to give it to vodka. They gathered on one of the rafts and thus “surged” the road.

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