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For other uses, see Gomel (disambiguation).

Skyline of Gomel
Template:Infobox settlement/columns
Location in Belarus

Coordinates: 52°26′43″N 30°59′03″E / 52.44528°N 30.98417°E / 52.44528; 30.98417Coordinates: 52°26′43″N 30°59′03″E / 52.44528°N 30.98417°E / 52.44528; 30.98417{{#coordinates:52|26|43|N|30|59|03|E|type:city_region:BY |primary |name=

Country 23x15px Belarus
Subdivision Homiel
Founded 1142
 • Mayor Kirichenko Peter
 • Total 135.34 km2 (52.26 sq mi)
Elevation 138 m (453 ft)
Population (2015)
 • Total 526,872 11px
 • Density 4,258.4/km2 (11,029/sq mi)
Time zone FET (UTC+3)
Postal code 246xx, 247xxx
Area code(s) +375 232(2)
License plate 3
Website Official website

Gomel (Belarusian: Го́мель, translit.: Homyel’, Łacinka: Homiel, pronounced [ˈɣomʲelʲ], Russian: Го́мель, translit.: Gomel, pronounced [ˈɡomʲɪlʲ],[2] Polish: Homel, Yiddish: Homl ,האָמל‎, Lithuanian: Gomelis) is the administrative center of Gomel Voblast and the second-largest city in Belarus. It has a population of 515,325 (2013 census)[3] and its area is 121 km2.


Origin of the name

There are at least six versions of the origin of the city’s name. One of the best known is that the name is derived from the name of Gomeyuk stream, which flowed into the Sozh river near the foot of the hill where the first settlement was founded. Other Belarusian cities’ names are formed on these lines: for example, Minsk’s name is derived from the river Menka, Polotsk’s – from the Palata river, Vitebsk’s – from the Vitba river. In historical sources from 1142[citation needed] to the 16th century Gomel is named as Gom', Gomye, Gomiy, Gomey, Gomyi. These forms are tentatively explained as derivatives of an unattested *gomŭ of uncertain meaning.[4] The modern form of the city’s name has been used only since the 16th–17th centuries.

Gomel under Kievan Rus'

Gomel was founded at the end of the 1st millennium AD on the lands of the Eastern Slavic tribal union of Radimichs. It laid on the banks of the Sozh river and the Gomeyuk stream. Sozh's high left bank cut with canyons made a natural fortification. Some time Gomel was the capital of the Gomel Principality, then it went to the Principality of Chernigov. Gomel is first mentioned in the Hypatian Codex under the year of 1142 as the territory of Chernigov princes. For some time Gomel was held after being captured by Smolensk prince Rostislav Mstislavich but then was re-captured by Iziaslav III Davidovich, after whose death it belonged to Sviatoslav Olgovich and then to Sviatoslav's son Oleg. Under Oleg Gomel went to the Principality of Novhorod-Siverskyi. The next owner of Gomel was Igor Svyatoslavich – the hero of "The Tale of Igor's Campaign". During this period the town was a fortified point and the centre of volost. In the 12th–13th centuries the city's area was not less that 40 ha, it had various crafts developed and was connected by trading ways with the cities of Northern and Southern Rus'. From archeological data the city was badly damaged during the Mongol-Tatar assault in the first half of the 13th century.

Gomel under Great Duchy of Lithuania and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

In 1335 Gomel region was joined to the Great Duchy of Lithuania by Algirdas. In 1335–1406 it was under the ownership of prince Patrikiy Narymuntovich and his sons, in 1406–1419 the city was ruled by Great Duke's deputies, in 1419–1435 it belonged to prince Svitrigaila, in 1446–1452 to prince Vasiliy Yaroslavich, in 1452–1483 to Mozhaysk prince Ivan Andreyevich, in 1483–1505 to his son Semyon, who transferred Gomel to the Grand Duchy of Moscow. During the Second Muscovite-Lithuanian War of 1500–1503 Lithuania tried to return Gomel and other lands, transferred to Moscow, but suffered defeat and lost one third of its territory. In 1535 Lithuanian forces under Yu. Radzivill, Ya. Tarnovskiy and A. Nemira re-captured Gomel after the surrender of Moscow's deputy, D. Shchepin-Obolenskiy. In the same year Great Duke of Lithuania Sigismund Kęstutaitis founded the Gomel Starostwo. In reference to the peace agreement of 1537 Gomel together with its volost remained a Lithuanian possession. In 1535–1565 Gomel is the centre of starostwo, from 1565 Gomel is in the Rechitsa Powiat of the Minsk Voivodeship. In 1560 the city's first coat of arms was introduced. In 1569 Gomel became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. From this moment the city has become the arena of numerous attacks and battles between Cossaks, Russia and Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth. In 1572 Gomel Starostwo was given to B. Sapega. At the beginning of 1570s Gomel was captured by the forces of Ivan the Terrible, but in 1576 it was re-captured by J. Radziwiłł. In 1581 Gomel was again attacked by Russian troops, and in 1595–1596 it was in the hands of Severyn Nalyvaiko's Cossaks. After the beginning of struggle against the Orthodox Christianity in Lithuania the Orthodox Nikolayevskiy Cathedral was closed by the order of Greek Catholic Eparch Josaphat Kuntsevych in 1621. In 1633 the city was besieged by the Cossaks of Bulgakov and Yermolin, in 1648 was captured by the Golovatskiy's Cossak detachment, in 1649 by Martyn Nebaba's detachment. After that Gomel got through several besieges in 1651 but in 1564 was captured by Ivan Zolotarenko's detachment. He and his sons had been holding the city till 1667 and then they began to serve under Alexis of Russia, however, after the Truce of Andrusovo Gomel at last returned to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where it firth belonged to M. K. Radziwiłł (Radzivll) and then till the annexation by the Russian Empire – to the Czartoryski family. During the Great Northern War Russian forces under Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov stood in Gomel. In 1670 Gomel got the Magdeburg rights. Towards the middle of the 17th century the city came to crisis mainly due to struggles mention above. It suffered a lot of damage, population severely decreased, a lot of crafts disappeared.

Jewish population

Gomel has a large Jewish population. Jews have lived in Gomel ever since 1537, when the area was annexed by Lithuania. During the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1648, the Cossacks invaded Gomel, and killed 2,000 Jews. The Cossacks then forcibly made the Jewish survivors convert to Christianity. The Cossack forces kept a firm grip on the city, until the Treaty of Pereyaslav was signed. The Poles took over Gomel soon afterward, and allowed the converted Jews to revert to Judaism.

World War II

During World War II, Gomel was under Nazi occupation from August 19, 1941 to November 26, 1943. The city was liberated by Rokossovsky's Belorussian Front during the Gomel-Rechitsa Offensive. Eighty percent of the city was destroyed.

Chernobyl Disaster

In the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, Gomel was hit with moderate radioactive fallout.


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Public transportation is represented by over 1,000 city buses and trolleybuses. Public transportation is generally inexpensive ($14 monthly). Over 210 million passenger rides were registered in 2006.[7] Taxi services ($10 for a one-way intra-city ride) are available 24 hours a day. The city is an important railroad hub in the southeastern part of Belarus being positioned midway on the Minsk-Kiev railroad link. Strategic location of Gomel near the border with Russia and Ukraine provides a direct connection to the vast railroad network.

The Gomel trolleybus network opened on 20 May 1962 and consists of 23 routes (not counting variations). On 15 December 2010 after laying the contact network through the streets of Egorenko, Sviridov and Chechersk opened new trolley line to the Terminus "Neighborhood "Klinkowski""that resulted in the change of trolleybus routes No. 9, 16, 17. The length of the street network with the transport lines is about Script error: No such module "convert". and the total length of trolleybus routes - Script error: No such module "convert". Rolling stock represented by machines ACSM-201, ACSM-321, ACSM-213, ACSM-101, ZIU-682. Тhe number of bus routes more than 60 total length of about 670 kilometers, for a number of routes are Express options. Rolling stock - mainly buses MAZ-105, MAZ-107, MAZ-103 and Ikarus 280 (actively write off), less presents MAZ-104, MAZ-203, MAZ-206, 2014 actively purchased buses extra large capacity, low-MAZ-215 . Express routes are bus Rodemich-A. Acts 24 minibus route the lines are mostly vans Ford Transit, GAZelle, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot.

Gomel Airport is located Script error: No such module "convert". north-east from the city.


  • Gomel Regional Belarusian Drama Theatre
  • Puppet Theatre
  • Youth Theatre
  • Gomel Regional Library
  • Gomel Palace compound
  • Art Gallery
  • Gomel State Circus

Educational center

Gomel is a well-known educational center. The following universities are located in Gomel:

Since 1990, P.O. Sukhoy Homiel State Technical University and Homiel State Medical University have been attracting many international students from countries around world, including United States, Germany, China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, Iran and Latin America. Homiel State Medical University provides classes in both English and Russian. Many famous scientists work here as senior lecturers.


International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

Gomel is twinned with:


  1. "Belarus - The regions of the Republic of Belarus as well as all cities and urban settlements of more than 10,000 inhabitants.". City Population. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  2. "Definition of Homyel' – Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  3. "" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  4. Этимологический словарь славянских языков: праславянский лексический фонд, под ред. О.Н. Трубачева, вып.7 (Москва, 1980), стр.21.
  5. "" (in Russian). May 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  6. Climatological Information for Gomel, Belarus, accessed 14 August 2012.
  7. "Gomel Transportation Statistics (Russian language)". 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  8. R' Eizik of Homel. Accessed 20 April 2014.
  9. "Twinning". Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 2 March 2008. 
  10. "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  11. "Radom - Miasta partnerskie" [Radom - Parntership cities]. Miasto Radom [City of Radom] (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  12. "Radom - miasta partnerskie" (in Polish). Retrieved 2013-08-07. 

External links

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