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

Novgorod detinets in Veliky Novgorod, Russia

Detinets was first used 1044 in Novgorod First Chronicle describing the detinets in Veliky Novgorod.[3] From the 13th to the 14th century detinets was used only in the Russian Pskov-Novgorod region.[4]

The origing 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.[5] Polish philologist Lucyjan Malinowski derives the similarly-sounding Polish term dziedziniec – "courtyard", from detinets.[6]


  1. ^ (in Ukrainian) Science-Research Institute for Monument Preservation[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ A. I. (Aleksandr Ignat'evich) Semenov, Novgoroskii Kreml (Novgorod: gazeta “Novgorodskaia Pravda,” 1964).
  3. ^ "The Novgorod Kremlin". Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  4. ^ Секретарь Л. А., Трояновский С. В. Детинец в градостроительной терминологии Древней Руси //Древняя Русь. Вопросы медиевистики. 2003. № 4 (14). С. 64.
  5. ^   "Детинец или Днешний град" . Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1906.
  6. ^ Lucyjan Malinowski, "Przyczynki do historii wyrazow polskich", Polska akademia umiejętności wydział filologiczny. Rozprawy i spawozwania, vol. X, 1884, p. 454, paragraph "Dziedziniec"