The capital of Belarus
Byelorussian Polessye is situated in the south of the Republic. It occupies more than 500 km from the Western Bug to the Dnieper Rivers. The history of Polessye began from profound antiquity. Such ancient towns as Turov, Pinsk, Mosyr, Gomel appeared on the banks of the rivers. Thanks to advantageous position and trade relations, Gomel is the largest town of Eastern Polessye. It is situated on the banks of the Soge River, the Soge is suitable for navigation.
The first time Gomel was mentioned was in 1142. It was called Gomiy at that time. The town came into the structure of the Chernigov Principality from the end of the 10th century and to the middle of the 12th century. After that it was under dominion of Lithuanian and Polish princes. At the end of the 18th century Ekaterina II (Katherine) gave it as a present to the famous Russian general Field Marshal Rumyantsev-Zadunayskiy for his merits to the Native country. The town is situated in a picturesque place. In 1785 on a bank of the Soge, a stone palace was founded by Rumyantsev. Its construction was finished by the Rumyantsevs' sons and by its next owner -- the Prince Paskevich. He got it in 1837 according to an edict of Nikolay I. The palace is a monument to the architecture of the time. A wonderful riverside is a peculiarity of the palace's complex. The park's area is about 25 hectares. It is situated on the precipitous bank of the Soge and the park is divided into two parts by a pond. At the end of the 19th century a cathedral was built near the palace. It was St. Peter's and Paul's Cathedral. At the second half of the 19th century a chapel was constructed, where the Paskeviches were buried. The Ilyinskaya church (18th century) was built in the town, it is a monument to wooden architecture.
Today Gomel is the industrial centre of Belarus. There are the Machine-tool Constructive Plant, the Machine-building Plant, the Bearing Plant, the Chemical Plant, etc. in Gomel. People of many countries of the world know the production of the Agricultural Machine-building Plant "Gomselmach ". Manufactured articles from glass and measuring devices are produced in Gomel. The light and the food industries have developed in the town.
Gomel is a large cultural centre of the Republic. The State University, the Byelorussian Institute of Engineers of the Railway Transport, the Polytechnic and Medical institutes prepare students as future highly qualified specialists. Also Gomel has an athletic complex and a rowing channel.