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(məgēlyôf`), Belarusian Mahilyow, city (1989 pop. 359,188), capital of Mogilev region, in E Belarus, on the Dnieper River. It is an important rail and highway junction, a river port, and an industrial center where metal products, machinery, and artificial fibers are produced. Arising in the 13th cent. on the territory of Smolensk principality, the city grew around a castle dating from 1267 and became a noted commercial center from the 14th cent. Mogilev was part of the grand duchy of Lithuania (united with Poland in 1569), was later held by Sweden, and passed to Russia during the first partition of Poland (1772). It was occupied and heavily damaged by the Germans during World War II. A tower built by the Tatars and several old churches survive.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city; administrative center of Mogilev Oblast, Byelorussian SSR. Most of the city is located on the right bank of the Dnieper. The population was 232,000 in 1973 (99,000 in 1939; 122,000 in 1959). Mogilev is a junction for highways and railroads, with lines going to Orsha, Krichev, Zhlobin, and Osipovichi. It also has a wharf.

Mogilev was mentioned for the first time in 1267. Its name is believed to have been derived from an ancient grave (mogli’nik, meaning “grave” in Russian) near which a settlement was established. A part of Kievan Rus’, Mogilev belonged to the Principality of Vitebsk in the 14th century and later became part of Lithuania. Under the Union of Lublin (1569) it became part of the Rzecz Pospolita (the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania). Known as a handicrafts and trade center from the 14th century, Mogilev was granted the rights of a city in 1526. The Magdeburg Law was introduced in 1561. In 1595 the city was occupied by a detachment of rebellious Ukrainian cossacks led by S. Nalivaiko. An uprising of the urban poor and artisans took place in Mogilev from 1606 to 1610.

The city became part of Russia in 1772. In 1773 it became a province city, in 1778 the center of a namestnichestvo (vicegerency), in 1796 a district city of the province of Byelorussia, and in 1802 a province city. In Mogilev the Social Democratic movement originated in the late 19th century. The Mogilev organization of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) was founded in 1904. During World War I the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander was located in Mogilev from August 1915 to November 1917. The city was a center of the counterrevolution in August 1917 (the Kornilov revolt). Soviet power was established on Nov. 18 (Dec. 1), 1917.

During the prewar five-year plans Mogilev became a major industrial center. More than 70 industrial enterprises were built. In 1940 the industrial output was almost 100 times the prerevolutionary level, and there were 55 times as many workers as before the Revolution. The city held out against fascist German troops from July 1 to July 26, 1941. During the occupation about 40 underground groups were active in Mogilev. The city was liberated by the Soviet Army on June 28, 1944. Industrial enterprises and the municipal economy were fully restored during the postwar five-year plan, and in subsequent decades the city’s economy, sciences, and culture developed further.


Contemporary Mogilev produces almost half the oblast’s industrial output. The major branches of industry are metalworking and machine building, which are represented by the S. M. Kirov Motor-vehicle Plant, the Strommashin Plant, which produces equipment for the building materials industry, the Electrodvigatel’ Plant, which produces electric engines, and a metal structural components plant. Enterprises of the chemical industry include the Lavsan synthetic fiber combine, a chemical combine, and an artificial fibers plant. Other well-developed branches of industry include food processing (meat combines, a confectionery plant, bakeries, canning factories, and creameries and cheese dairies), light industry (garment, knitwear, ribbon, and footwear plants), building materials (plants producing silicate goods and reinforced-concrete products and a building materials combine), and the wood products industry. There are two heat and electric power plants in Mogilev.

Mogilev is the site of machine-building, technological, and pedagogical institutes and nine secondary specialized schools, including polytechnic, chemical engineering, and construction technicums. The city has a drama theater and a museum of local lore. There are many gardens and parks in Mogilev.


The Church of St. Nicholas (begun in 1669; domed basilica) has been preserved. In the second half of the 1930’s a new central square was built—Lenin Square, with the House of Soviets (1938–39, architect I. G. Langbard) and an administrative building (1938–40, architect P. V. Abrosimov). The Dnieper Hotel (1938–40, architects A. P. Voinov and A. P. Bregman) and various apartment buildings were also built before the war.

The new general plan for Mogilev (1967–70; main architects lu. I. Glinka, N. T. Semenenko, and M. M. Tregubovich) calls for a radial layout. New residential districts have been created, including the Mogilev-2 (since 1961), Mirnyi (since 1964), and lubileinyi districts (since 1967; all by architect I. I. Frolov). Among the city’s new public buildings are the Oktiabr’ Motion-picture Theater (1969; architect A. T. Kucherenko, engineer la. P. Rosso), the Mogilev Hotel (1971; architects E. M. Benediktov, V. A. Ostapovich, and E. G. Lukomskaia and engineers R. I. Vigdorchik and N. P. Gerasimchik), and the Palace of Pioneers (1970–74; architect N. T. Semenenko, engineer I. B. Kazakova).


Mogilev: Istoriko-ekonomicheskii ocherk. Minsk, 1971.
Kliukin, N. V. Mogilev. Minsk, 1963.
Mogilev: Istoricheskii ocherk. Minsk, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Mohilev
an industrial city in E Belarus on the Dnieper River: passed to Russia in 1772 after Polish rule. Pop.: 353 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005