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Title: Mogilev  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Shkloŭ, Mogilev Offensive, Orsha, Battle of Smolensk (1943), David Pinski
Collection: Cities in Belarus, Mogilev, Mogilev Governorate, Mstsislaw Voivodeship, Populated Places in Mogilev Region, Shtetls
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Old City in winter
Old City in winter
Flag of Mogilev
Coat of arms of Mogilev
Coat of arms
Mogilev is located in Belarus
Location of Mogilev, shown within the Mogilev Region
Mogilev Region
Founded 1267
 • Mayor Stanislaw Baradawka
 • Total 118.50 km2 (45.75 sq mi)
Elevation 192 m (630 ft)
Population (2009)
 • Total 374,644
 • Density 3,200/km2 (8,200/sq mi)
Postal code 212 001
Area code(s) +375 222
License plate 6
Website Official website

Mogilev (or Mogilyov; Russian: Могилёв, pronounced ; Łacinka: Mahilioŭ; Belarusian: Магілёў, pronounced ) is a city in eastern Belarus, about 76 kilometres (47 miles) from the border with Russia's Smolensk Oblast and 105 km (65 miles) from the border with Russia's Bryansk Oblast. As of 2011, its population was 360,918,[1] up from an estimated 106,000 in 1956. It is the administrative centre of Mogilev Region and the third largest city in Belarus.


  • History 1
  • Religion 2
  • Economy 3
  • Cityscape 4
  • Notable citizens 5
  • Sports 6
  • Twin towns – sister cities 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Illustration from Brockhaus and Efron Jewish Encyclopedia (1906—1913); Russian Imperial Governorate of Mogilev
Mogilev appears on Charles Minard's famous chart illustrating Napoleon’s 1812 Russian campaign

The city is mentioned in historical sources since 1267. From the 14th century it was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, since the Union of Lublin (1569), part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where it became known as Mohylew or Mogilew. In 16th-17th century the city flourished as one of the main nodes of the east-west and north-south trading routes.

In 1577 Polish King Stefan Batory granted it city rights under Magdeburg law. In 1654, the townsmen negotiated a treaty of surrender to the Russians peacefully, if the Jews were to be expelled and their property divided up among Mogilev's inhabitants. Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovitch agreed. However, instead of expelling the Jews, the Russian troops massacred them after they had led them to the outskirts of the town.[2] After the First Partition of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1772) Mogilev became part of the Russian Empire and became the centre of the Mogilev Governorate.

In the years 1915–1917, during World War I, the Stavka, the headquarters of the Russian Imperial Army was based in the city and the Tsar, Nicholas II, spent long periods there as Commander-in-Chief.

Following the Russian Revolution, in 1918, the city was briefly occupied by Germany and placed under their short-lived Belarusian People's Republic. Then, in 1919 it was captured by the forces of Soviet Russia and incorporated into the Byelorussian SSR. Up to the World War II and the Holocaust, like many other cities in Europe, Mogilev had a significant Jewish population: according to the Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 41,100, 21,500 were Jews (i.e. around 50 percent).[3]

During the Operation Barbarossa, the city was conquered by Wehrmacht forces on 26 July 1941 and remained under German occupation until 28 June 1944.[4] Mogilev became the official residence of High SS and police leader (HSSPF) Erich von dem Bach. During that period, the Jews of Mogilev were ghettoized and systematically murdered by Ordnungspolizei and SS personnel.[5] Heinrich Himmler personally witnessed the executions of 279 Jews on 23 October 1941. Later that month a number of mentally disabled patients were poisoned with car exhaust fumes as an experiment; the method of killing was thereafter applied in several Nazi extermination camps. Initial plans for establishing a death camp in Mogilev were abandoned in favour of Maly Trostenets.

In 1944, the utterly devastated city was reconquered by the Red Army and returned to Soviet domination. Mogilev then was the site of a labour camp for German POW soldiers.

Since Belarus gained its independence in 1991 Mogilev has remained one of its principal cities.


Mohilev was the episcopal see of the Latin Catholic Archdiocese of Mohilev until its 1991 merger into the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev.

It remains the see of the Eparchy (Eastern diocese) of Mogilev and Mstsislaw in the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.


After World War II a huge metallurgy centre with several major steel mills was built. Also, several major factories of cranes, cars, tractors and a chemical plant were established. By the 1950s, tanning was its principal industry, and it was a major trading centre for cereal, leather, salt, sugar, fish, timber and flint: the city has been home to a major inland port on the Dnieper river since (year/period) and a domestic airport since. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the establishment of Belarus as an independent country, Mogilev has become one of that country's main economic and industrial centres.


The town's most notable landmark is the late 17th-century town hall. The grand tower of the town hall sustained serious damage during the Great Northern War and the Great Patriotic War. It was eventually demolished in 1957 and rebuilt in its pre-war form in 2008.

Another important landmark of Mogilev is the six-pillared St. Stanislav's Cathedral, built in the Baroque style between 1738 and 1752 and distinguished by its frescoes.

The convent of St. Nicholas preserves its magnificent cathedral of 1668, as well as the original iconostasis, bell tower, walls, and gates. It is currently under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.[6]

Minor landmarks include the archiepiscopal palace and memorial arch, both dating from the 1780s, and the enormous theatre in a blend of the Neo-Renaissance and Russian Revival styles.

At Polykovichi, an urban part of Mogilev, there is a 350 metre tall guyed TV mast, one of the tallest structures in Belarus.

Climate data for Mogilev, Belarus
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −3.0
Average low °C (°F) −7.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 43
Average precipitation days 22 17 15 14 12 14 15 11 14 17 22 26 199
Average relative humidity (%) 86 84 81 74 68 71 74 75 80 84 88 89 80
Source: [7]

Notable citizens


City sports teams:

Twin towns – sister cities

Mahilyow is twinned with:


  1. ^
  2. ^ Russia's First Modern Jews, NYU Press 1995, David Fishman, p.2
  3. ^ Joshua D. Zimmerman, Poles, Jews, and the politics of nationality, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2004, ISBN 0-299-19464-7, Google Print, p.16
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

  • Mogilev city executive committee
  • Photos on
  • Historic images of Mogilev
  • Mogilev Jewish Center
  • Jewish Encyclopedia on Moghilef (Mohilev)
  • The murder of the Jews of Mogilev during World War II, at Yad Vashem website.
City and regional maps of Mogilev
  • Best zoomable map of Mogilev and Belarus available, possible to see Voblasts, Rajons, cities and streets -> In page click KAPTbI up in the middle
  • Zoomable map of Mogilev and in general from Belarus
  • zoomable map of Belarus with low resolution
  • Good overview map of roads and railways
  • General overview of Baltics, Belarus and east-europe
  • Belarus, topographic map
  • General detail, downloadable PDF map of Belarus
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