Detinets (Russian: Детинец) or Dytynets (Ukrainian: Дитинець)[1] is an ancient Rus' city-fort or central fortified part of a city, similar to the meaning of kremlin (fortification), citadel. The term was used in the Kievan Rus', in Chernihiv,[2] Novgorod the Great (see Novgorod Detinets),[3] Kyiv and others.[4]

Novgorod detinets in Veliky Novgorod, Russia

Old Russian manuscripts mention detinets in various places of Kievan Rus since the end of the 11th century.[5] From the 13th to the 14th century detinets was used only in the Russian Pskov-Novgorod region.[6]

The origin of the term is uncertain. Some derive it from the Old East Slavic word deti – "children", suggesting it was used to hide children and other less able people during the siege.[7] Polish philologist Lucyjan Malinowski derives the similarly-sounding Polish term dziedziniec – "courtyard", from detinets.[8]


  1. ^ "Дитинець (Вал)".
  2. ^ (in Ukrainian) Science-Research Institute for Monument Preservation[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ A. I. (Aleksandr Ignat'evich) Semenov, Novgoroskii Kreml (Novgorod: gazeta “Novgorodskaia Pravda,” 1964).
  4. ^ Manaev, Georgy (2020-05-11). "5 facts about Russia's OLDEST kremlin". Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  5. ^ "Дитинець".
  6. ^ Секретарь Л. А., Трояновский С. В. Детинец в градостроительной терминологии Древней Руси //Древняя Русь. Вопросы медиевистики. 2003. № 4 (14). С. 64.
  7. ^   "Детинец или Днешний град" . Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1906.
  8. ^ Lucyjan Malinowski, "Przyczynki do historii wyrazow polskich", Polska akademia umiejętności wydział filologiczny. Rozprawy i spawozwania, vol. X, 1884, p. 454, paragraph "Dziedziniec"