World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Skyline of Gomel
Flag of Gomel
Coat of arms of Gomel
Coat of arms
Gomel is located in Belarus
Location in Belarus
Country  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 Increase
 • 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 , Russian: Го́мель, : Gomel, pronounced ,[2] Polish: Homel, Yiddish: Homl ,האָמל‎, Lithuanian: Gomelis, Latvian: Gomeļa) 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 135.3 km2.


  • History 1
    • Origin of the name 1.1
    • Gomel under Kievan Rus' 1.2
    • Gomel under Great Duchy of Lithuania and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1.3
    • Jewish population 1.4
    • World War II 1.5
    • Chernobyl Disaster 1.6
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Transportation 3
  • Culture 4
  • Educational center 5
  • People 6
  • International relations 7
    • Twin towns and sister cities 7.1
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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 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 lays 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 1654 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.


Gomel is situated in the southeastern part of the country, on the right bank of Sozh river, 302 km (188 mi) to the South-East from Minsk, 534 km (332 mi) to the East from Brest, 171 km (106 mi) to the South from Mogilev, 237 km (147 mi) to the West from Bryansk and 111 km (69 mi) to the North from Chernihiv.


Climate data for Gomel
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 9.6
Average high °C (°F) −2.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.5
Average low °C (°F) −6.9
Record low °C (°F) −35.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 34
Average rainy days 8 7 9 13 14 16 14 12 14 14 13 9 143
Mean monthly sunshine hours 52.7 73.5 130.2 177.0 263.5 264.0 260.4 244.9 168.0 114.7 45.0 31.0 1,824.9
Source #1:[5]
Source #2: HKO (sun only 1961-1990).[6]


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 74 km (46 mi) and the total length of trolleybus routes - 475 km (295 mi) 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 8 km (5 mi) 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. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Этимологический словарь славянских языков: праславянский лексический фонд, под ред. О.Н. Трубачева, вып.7 (Москва, 1980), стр.21.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Climatological Information for Gomel, Belarus, accessed 14 August 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^ R' Eizik of Homel. Accessed 20 April 2014.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links

  • Photos on
  • History of Gomel
  • The Korma-Report (Korma-Studie) of the German Research Center Juelich (Forschungszentrum Jülich) published new data on internal radiation exposure of the inhabitants of a region close to Gomel more than 20 years after the Chernobyl disaster. The data show a significant decrease of the exposure. Resettlement may even be possible in prohibited areas provided that people comply with appropriate dietary rules.
  • Statistical information about Gomel at the Wayback Machine (archived 24 October 2007)
  • Map of Gomel
  • Infobelarus
  • The murder of the Jews of Gomel during World War II, at Yad Vashem website.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.