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Пале́ссе, Полісся
Natural and historical region
Ubort river near the city of Olevsk (Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine)
Ubort river near the city of Olevsk (Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine)
Polesia marked in dark green
Polesia marked in dark green
Countries Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Poland

Polesia, Polesie or Polesye (Belarusian: Пале́ссе Paliessie, Ukrainian: Полі́сся Polissia, Polish: Polesie , Russian: Поле́сье Poles'e ) is a natural and historical region of Eastern Europe.[1] One of the largest forest areas on the continent, Polesie is located in the south-western part of the Eastern-European Lowland, the Polesian Lowland. On the western side, Polesie originates at the crossing of the Bug River valley in Poland and the Pripyat River valley of Western Ukraine.[2] Polesie extends eastward through modern-day south Belarus and north Ukraine, and ends within Russia. The swampy areas of central Polesie are known as the Pinsk Marshes (after the major local city of Pinsk). Large parts of the region were contaminated after the Chernobyl disaster and the region now includes the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and Polesie State Radioecological Reserve, named after the region.


  • Name 1
  • Geography 2
  • Protected status. Sightseeing 3
  • See also 4
  • Further reading 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Latin name Polesia may reflect the Slavic root les, which means "forest"; and the Slavic prefix po-, which means "on" or "in" or "along".[3] An inhabitant of Polesia is called Polishchuk in Ukrainian, Paleshuk in Belarusian, Poleszuk in Polish and Poleshchuk in Russian.


Polesia is a marshy region lining the Pripyat River in Southern Belarus (Brest, Pinsk, Kalinkavichy, Homel), Northern Ukraine (in the Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kiev, and Chernihiv Oblasts), and partly in Poland (Lublin) and Russia (Bryansk). It is a flatland within the watersheds of the Western Bug and Prypyat rivers. The two rivers are connected by the Dnieper-Bug Canal, built during the reign of Stanislaus II of Poland, the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Notable tributaries of the Pripyat are the Horyn, Stokhod, Styr, Ptsich, and Yaselda rivers. The largest towns in the Pripyat basin are Pinsk, Stolin, Davyd-Haradok. Huge marshes were reclaimed from the 1960s to the 1980s for farmland. The reclamation is believed to have harmed the environment along the course of the Pripyat.

This region suffered severely from the Chernobyl disaster. Huge areas were polluted by radioactive elements. The most polluted part includes the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the adjacent Polesie State Radioecological Reserve. Some other areas in the region are considered unsuitable for living as well.[4]

Polesia has rarely been a separate administrative unit. However, there was a Polesie Voivodeship during the Second Polish Republic, as well as a Polesia Voblast in Byelorussian SSR.

Protected status. Sightseeing

The Polish part of the region includes the Polesie National Park (Poleski Park Narodowy), established 1990, which covers an area of 97.6 square kilometres (37.7 sq mi). This and a wider area adjoining it (up to the Ukrainian border) make up the UNESCO-designated West Polesie Biosphere Reserve, which borders a similar reserve (the Shatskiy Biosphere Reserve) on the Ukrainian side. There is also a protected area called Pribuzhskoye-Polesie in the Belarusian part of the region.

The wooden architecture structures in the region were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on January 30, 2004 in the Cultural category.[5]

The Ukrainian Polesia had its own tradition of folk icon-painting. The images of the saints are peaceful and stable, having deep eyes. The plots were often depicted on the background of landscapes with trees, sky, forests etc. The Ukrainian Polesia's icons' collection is the part of the exhibition of the Museum of Ukrainian home icons in the Historical and cultural complex "The Radomysl Castle".[6]

See also

Further reading

  • Пазинич В. Походження Поліських озер та параболічних дюн
  • Пазинич В.Г. Происхождение Полесских озер и параболических дюн
  • Pazynych V. Origin of Polesie lakes and parabolic dunes


  1. ^ "Polesie". University at Buffalo, New York. Polish Academic Information Center. Retrieved 2 May 2014. Once part of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania, Polesie was largely part of Poland in the 1921-39 period when the country's largest provinces bore that name. 
  2. ^ Alicja Breymeyer. "Presentation of West Polesie Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Belarus/Poland/Ukraine)". Nomination Form prepared in Warsaw, Kiev, and Minsk by National UNESCO-MAB Committees, and introduced to UNESCO in a May 2007 Nomination. West Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Compare Mould, R. F. (2000). Chernobyl Record: The Definitive History of the Chernobyl Catastrophe. Bristol, UK: Institute of Physics Publishing.  
  4. ^ "Zoning of radioactively contaminated territory of Ukraine according to actual regulations". ICRIN. 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Worship wooden architecture (17th -18th centuries) in Polesye - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". 2004-01-30. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  6. ^ Богомолець. О. "Замок-музей Радомисль на Шляху Королів Via Regia". — Київ, 2013

External links

  • The Official Site of the Radomysl Castle
  • Polisia at the Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  • Origin of Polesie lakes and parabolic dunes

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