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Gomel (gōˈmĕl, –məl, Rus. gôˈmĭl), Belarusian Homyel, city (1990 est. pop. 507,000), capital of Gomel region, SE Belarus, on the Sozh River, a tributary of the Dnieper. A river port and a large railroad junction in an agricultural area, it is the country's second largest city. The city's industries produce machinery, textiles, building materials, food products, electrical equipment, and fertilizers. First mentioned as Gomiy in 1142, when it was included in Kievan Rus, it became part of Lithuania in 1537. It was much fought over and passed to Poland by the Treaty of Andrusov (1667) and to Russia in 1772. Until World War II and the German occupation about 40% of the population was Jewish. In a park in Gomel are a palace and the Petropavlovsk Cathedral (founded 1819).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city; center of Gomel’ Oblast, Byelorussian SSR. Located mainly on the right, higher bank of the Sozh River (a tributary of the Dnieper), near the point where the Iput’ River flows into it. Important highway and railway junction (five lines); also a river port. Population, 284.000 (1971; 139,000 in 1939).

Gomel’ was first mentioned in chronicles under the name “Gomii” in 1142. In 1335 it became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in 1569 part of Poland, and in 1772 part of Russia. In 1852 it became a district city. Until the October Revolution its industry was poorly developed; the most significant enterprise was the Vezuvii match factory. Soviet power was proclaimed in Gomel’ on Oct. 30 (Nov. 12), 1917, and was finally consolidated after the liberation of the town from the German occupation (January 1919) and the repression of the Strekopytovskii Revolt of 1919. During the Great Patriotic War, Gomel’, which was captured by the fascist German occupiers on Aug. 19, 1941, had an underground city committee of the Communist Party that acted until the liberation (on Nov. 26. 1943), under the leadership of E. I. Bary-kin. The city was destroyed during the war but has been completely restored and reconstructed.

During the years of Soviet power, Gomel’ has become an important industrial and cultural center of the republic. The most important branch of its economy is heavy industry, which contributes more than 50 percent of the gross industrial output. Machine building and metalworking are especially widely developed. Major enterprises include the Gom-sel’mash plant (producing forage-harvesting combines and tractor attachments); plants producing machine tools, peat cutters, bearings, standardized assembilies, starter engines, and measuring tools; the Gidroprivod and Elektroapparatura plants: railroad-car repair, electrical engineering, and electromechanical plants; the Gomel’kabel’ plant; a plant for sanitary-technical equipment; and the Tsentrolit plant (which provides cast-iron and steel founding for the republic’s machine-building industry).

One of the newest branches of industry is the chemical industry (there is a chemical plant, a timber chemistry plant, and plants producing plastic articles, lacquer and paint, and chalk and insulation material). A large glass plant is located near the city. There are combines producing plywood and matches, construction materials, and prefabricated reinforced concrete, a woodworking combine, and a plant producing construction tools. A large part of gross production is contributed by the food industry (a fats and oils combine, two milling combines, and confectionery, meat, and poultry combines, and dairy and wine-making plants). There are also enterprises for knitted goods, garments, and footwear.

In 1970, Gomel’ was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

Gomel’ has a university and an institute for railroad engineers, railroad transportation and polytechnical techni-cums. and musical-pedagogical, teachers, and medical colleges. There is a drama theater, a puppet theater, a philharmonic society, a planetarium, an oblast museum of local lore, and a television broadcasting center.

Architectural monuments of Gomel’ include the classical Rumiantsev-Paskevich palace and park (end of the 18th to the first half of the 19th century) and the classical cathedral of Peter and Paul (foundation laid in 1809; architect Klark).


Belorussiia. Moscow, 1967. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Belorusskaia SSR: Gomel’skaia oblast’. Minsk. 1968.
Lebedev. S. Gomel’: Istoriko-ekonomicheskii ocherk. Minsk, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


an industrial city in SE Belarus, on the River Sozh; an industrial centre. Pop.: 480 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005