The Republic of Belarus is located in the centre of Europe and is one of the 15 largest countries in this part of the world. Belarus is often called a ‘blue-eyed country’: there are thousands of lakes, rivers and protected forests. But the country is interesting not only for its unique nature. Each region of Belarus has its own modern industrial giants, amazing historical sites and sights.
Belarus consists of six regions: Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk and Mogilev. Minsk — the capital of the Republic of Belarus — retains an independent status and is not part of any regions.
The MT presents the project called Belarusian Land Treasures. Today we will go to the Gomel Region — the largest region of the country, which has large natural, economic and intellectual resources.
The President of Belarus,
Aleksandr Lukashenko, “Skilful, hardworking, courageous people who are infinitely devoted to the Motherland live in the Gomel Region... With your hard creative work, you turned the once ancient rural region into an industrial region with a high culture, developed science, medicine and education. Together we managed to revive part of the lands affected by the Chernobyl disaster and create decent living conditions for people... Gomel Region is the largest in Belarus in terms of territory, there are rich natural and intellectual resources, oil and gas are extracted, cellulose, agricultural machinery are produced and many promising investment projects are being implemented. There is something to be proud of and something to offer guests.” From the congratulations of the Head of State
on January 15th, 2023
Historical journey, interesting facts
Monument to Kirill of Turov
The Gomel Region — the south-eastern region of Belarus — celebrated its 85th anniversary at the beginning of the year.
Humans began to settle in the territory of the Gomel Region in the Middle Paleolithic Age (100-40 thousand years ago). It was in the Gomel Region that scientists discovered the most ancient sites of primitive people in Belarus (about 26-23 thousand years BC). From here, from the south, the development of the territories of modern Belarus began after the retreat of the last glacier in the 12th millennium BC.
According to ancient sources, two East Slavic tribes lived in the Gomel Region in the 9th-12th centuries — the Dregoviches and the Radimichs.
Turov is the oldest city in the Gomel Region, first mentioned in the Tale of Bygone Years in 980. The fact that Turov is one of the oldest centres of writing and annals is evidenced by a fragment of the Gospel of the 11th century found here in 1866, the most ancient book on the territory of Belarus. A glorious representative of the Belarusian culture of the 12th century, the theologian, church leader and writer Kirill Turovsky, lived and worked in Turov.
Gomel is also one of the oldest cities in Belarus. For the first time Homiy — such is the ancient name of Gomel — was mentioned in the Hypatian Codex of 1142.
Turov Gospel — the oldest book
on Belarusian land
Many famous personalities have the Gomel Region ancestry. Historian, ethnographer, founder of Belarusian national historiography Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky was born in Rechitsa. The future Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, the representative of the USSR to the UN (the legendary ‘Mr. No’) Andrei Gromyko was born in the Gomel Region. Mikhail Plisetsky, the father of the legendary ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, was a native of Gomel.
People’s Artist of Belarus Gavriil Vashchenko, playwright and screenwriter Andrei Makayonok, People’s Writer of the BSSR Ivan Melezh, People’s Artist of Belarus Mikhail Finberg were also of Gomel origin.
Because of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in April 1986, 13 districts of the Gomel Region were seriously affected. Their revival and sustainable development are under the constant control of the Head of State — the President personally visits the Chernobyl regions every year. Thanks to a balanced and targeted strategy for the rehabilitation of the affected areas, these territories are now gaining new life and, importantly, becoming attractive for investment.
Territory and population
Day of Belarusian Written Language in Rogachev
The territory of the modern Gomel Region is almost forty and a half thousand square kilometres, which is one fifth of the territory of the country.
The population of the Gomel Region is about one and a half million people. About 580 thousand people are economically active. Gomel occupies the second place in the country after Minsk in terms of population (more than 500 thousand people).
The Gomel Region is the largest industrial region of the country. More than 20 percent of the country’s industrial production is concentrated in the region.
The main types of economic activity that determine the development of the real sector of the economy are the production of petroleum products, metallurgical production, the production of machinery and equipment, the extraction of fuel and energy minerals, chemical production, processing industry and others.
Belorusneft oil field in Rechitsa District
All Belarusian oil and gas are extracted in the Gomel Region, all Belarusian cellulose, more than 90 percent of harvesters, steel and polished glass, over 80 percent of wallpaper, edible salt, porcelain products, more than half of automotive fuel are produced in the Gomel Region.
More than 1,500 enterprises operate here, including a number of giants whose products are known far beyond the borders of Belarus. Among them are Mozyr Oil Refinery, Mozyrsalt, BMZ, the Management Company of the holding company Belarusian Metallurgical Company, Spartak and the famous for its condensed milk Rogachev Milk Canning Plant, Belorusneft, Gomselmash, SvetlogorskKhimvolokno, Gomelsteklo, Svetlogorsk Pulp and Cardboard Mill, Gomeldrev, Rechitsa Hardware Plant.
As for agriculture, the Gomel Region has the longest growing season in the country. The main agricultural sectors are meat and dairy farming, vegetable growing and potato growing, as well as flax production. There are 219 agricultural enterprises in the region.
In 1998, the free economic zone Gomel-Raton was created, its territories are located not only in Gomel itself, but also in 12 cities of the region.
Capital from more than 30 countries of the world works in the Gomel Region, about 300 enterprises with foreign investments operate here.
Organisations of the region co-operate with foreign trade partners from more than 115 countries of the world. Trade with the Russian Federation, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic countries, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan is developing most actively.
Natural wealth and mineral resources
There are 414 rivers in the Gomel Region, the largest of which are the Dnieper River, Pripyat River, Sozh River, Berezina River, Iput River. There are 429 lakes in the region. Of these, Chervonoye Lake, Beloye Lake, Krushinovskoye Lake, Revucheye Lake, Staroye Lake are widely known.
The Pripyatsky National Park
Almost half of the territory of the region is covered with forests. The Gomel Region ranks first in terms of forest reserves in Belarus.
The Polesie State Radioecological Reserve is located in the Gomel Region — the only one of its kind in the world in which territories that have been exposed to radioactive effects after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant are studied and preserved in their natural state.
Cranberry — red gold of Polesie
The Pripyatsky National Park is located on the territory of the Gomel Region, where the unique landscapes of the Belarusian Polesie have been preserved almost in their original state. This is the only place on the planet where there are primeval floodplain oak forests. The avifauna of the Pripyat floodplain includes more than 250 species of birds, or 80 percent of the avifauna of the entire country. That is why tourists from all over the world come to the national park to watch birds, 65 species of which are included in the IUCN Red List.
Among the minerals that are of particular importance for the national economy of the region are fuel and energy raw materials. In 1964, the first industrial oil was produced near Rechitsa. Today, more than 100 million tonnes have been produced. 1.8 million tonnes are mined annually. Rich deposits of potash and rocksalt, brown coal, oil shale, glass sand, and chalk are compactly located. There are also building stone, granite, clay and others. About 1500 peat deposits have been explored. There are prerequisites in the region for the identification and preparation for the industrial development of new types of raw materials — gypsum, basalt fibers, mineral sorbents and iodine-bromine brines.
Culture and main attractions
The originality of history, traditions, spiritual and material culture in every corner of the Gomel Region is explored and conveyed to visitors by 26 museum institutions. The most famous of them is the Gomel Palace and Park Ensemble. The Palace of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches is one of the five most popular attractions in Belarus, an architectural monument of the late 18th century. Among other iconic architectural monuments that are popular with residents and guests of the region are the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Gomel, the Church of St. Michael the Archangel of the 18th century in Mozyr, the Holy Assumption Cathedral of the 19th century and the Holy Trinity Church of the early 20th century in Rechitsa and Castle Hill in Turov.
The Palace of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches
The Yurovichi Monastery, whose history began in the distant 1673, is one of the oldest architectural monuments of the Gomel Region.
Stone crosses are among the sights of the Polesie region. According to legend, these crosses came to Turov along the Dnieper and Pripyat Rivers from Kiev right after the Christianisation of Kievan Rusʹ in the 10th century. Four crosses have survived to this day in Turov and its environs.
In Vetka there is a unique museum of the Old Believers and Belarusian traditions, founded in 1978, not only on a regional scale, but throughout the country. Here you can see books from the Kremlin cathedrals with notes and comments of the kings, icons, handwritten and early printed books of the 15th-19th centuries, weaving collections, archaeological finds.
Numerous festivals, competitions, plein airs are held on the territory of the region, in which hundreds of people from Belarus and around the world take part.
In its anniversary year, the Gomel Region will again become the venue for a number of creative forums: the International Children’s Competition Music of Hope, the republican festivals of folk humor Avtyuki in the Kalinkovichi District and folklore art Beraginya in Oktyabrsky, etc. All these achievements have become possible thanks to the creative activity of many generations. Energy, strength and talent of thousands of people, boundless love for their small homeland of every inhabitant of the Gomel Region were the key components of labour victories.
Photos are taken from sb.by, Belta and open sources