Infobox Settlement
official_name = Zhytomyr
native_name = Житомир
nickname =

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Kyivska (Kiev) street looking West toward St. Michael's Church. Photo early 1900s.

image_shield = Zhytomyr-COA.pngnickname =
motto =

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Map of Ukraine with Zhytomyr highlighted.
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name =Ukraine
Zhytomyr Oblast
established_title = Founded
established_date = 9th century
established_title1 =
established_date1 =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Vira Sheludchenko
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 65|area_land_km2 =
area_water_km2 =
population_as_of = 2005
population_note =
population_total = 277900|population_footnotes=
population_metro =| population_density_km2 = 4555|pushpin_

pushpin_label_position =
pushpin_map_caption =Location of Zhytomyr
pushpin_mapsize =
latd=50 |latm=15 |lats=0 |latNS=N
longd=28 |longm=40 |longs=0 |longEW=E
elevation_m = 221
|postal_code_type=Postal code
postal_code = 10000 — 10036
area_code = +380 412
blank_info =
blank1_info =
website = [http://www.zhytomyr.net/ www.zhytomyr.net]
footnotes =

Zhytomyr ( _uk. Житомир ("Zhytomyr"), _ru. Житомир ("Zhitomir"), _pl. Żytomierz) is a historic city in the North of the western half of Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Zhytomyr Oblast (province), as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Zhytomyr Rayon (district). Note that the city of Zhytomyr is not a part of the Zhytomyr rayon: the city itself is designated as its own separate rayon within the oblast; moreover Zhytomyr consists of two so-called "rayons in a city": the Bohunsky rayon and the Korolyovsky rayon (named in honour of Sergey Korolyov). Zhytomyr is located at around coord|50|16|N|28|40|E|, occupying an area of convert|65|km2|sqmi|abbr=on.

The current estimated population is 277,900 (as of 2005).

Zhytomyr is a major transportation hub. The city lies on a historic route linking the city of Kiev with the west through Brest. Today it links Warsaw with Kiev, Minsk with Izmail, and several major cities of Ukraine. Zhytomyr was also the location of Ozerne, a key Cold War strategic aircraft base located convert|11|km|mi|abbr=on southeast of the city.

Important economic activities of Zhytomyr include lumber milling, food processing, granite quarrying, metalworking, and the manufacture of musical instruments. [cite web|url=http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Zhytomyr.html|title=Zythomyr on Encyclopedia.com]

Zhytomyr Oblast is the main center of the Polish minority in Ukraine, and in the city itself there is a large Roman-Catholic Polish cemetery, founded in 1800. It is regarded as the third biggest Polish cemetery beyond borders of Poland, behind the Lychakivskiy Cemetery in Lviv and Rossa Cemetery in Vilnius.


Zhytomyr lies in a unique natural setting; all sides of the city are surrounded by ancient forests through which flow the Teteriv, Kamyanka, Yaroshenka and Putiatynka rivers. The Teteriv river bounds Zhytomyr at the south (though, precisely speaking, there are also some small areas of Zhytomyr city territory at the southern bank of the river). The city is rich in parks and public squares.

Zhytomyr possesses mostly radial type of street net with the centre at the main public square of the city named "Sobornyi Maidan" (or "Soborny Square", which means "Cathedral Square"). A building containing courts and some other institutions is located in the west of the square. Before 1991 this building contained Zhytomyr Oblast Committee of the Communist Party. Just behind the building (that is to the west of Soborny Square) a small park is located, containing a monumental stone with inscription telling that this is a place where Zhytomyr was founded. This historical centre of Zhytomyr is located in the southern part of the city. The main streets connecting Soborny Maidan with outskirts of Zhytomyr are Kyivska Street or Kiev Street (going to northeast, to the train station and also to the main bus station of the city), Velyka Berdychivska Street (going to southeast), Czerniachowski Street (going to southwest, to beaches and a forest-type park near the river of Teteriv), and Peremohy Street (going to north).

The most known (but not long) street in the central part of Zhytomyr is Mykhaylivska one (named after St. Michael's Church located at the northern end of the street). The street is located about 500 metres to the east of Soborny Maydan and goes approximately from north to south connecting some points at the above mentioned Kyivska Street and Velyka Berdychivska one. Mykhailivska Street is pedestrian one: traffic is forbidden in it, with the exception of some slowly moving cars whose movement is necessary. The building of the Zhytomyr City Council is located at the southern end of Mykhailivska Street. If one crosses Velyka Berdychivska Street from the southern end of Mykhailivska Street, then one finds oneself at Korolyov Square containing the building of the Zhytomyr Oblast Council. Crossing Kyivska Street from the northern end of Mykhailivska Street, one can continue to go along Shchors Street being one else important large street of Zhytomyr (going to north).

The most known park of Zhytomyr is one named after Yuriy Gagarin. The park is located in the south of the city, at the left (northern) bank of the Teteriv river. It is a former property of baron de Chaudoir.

Public city transport

Common kinds of public transport shuttling within Zhytomyr are trolleybuses, buses, and minibuses. There are also trams, but on one route only. Earlier there were several tram routes in Zhytomyr, but all excepting one were canceled during a period of domination of the opinion that a tram is a bad kind of transport.

Trams began to shuttle in Zhytomyr in 1899. Thus Zhytomyr became the 5th city with trams within the territory of present-day Ukraine. Trolleybuses appear in Zhytomyr in 1962.

Now trolleybus/tram fare in Zhytomyr is 75 kopiykas (0.75 hryvnyas) for one passenger for any distance.


Legend holds that Zhytomyr was established about 884 by Zhytomyr, prince of a Slavic tribe of Drevlians. This date, 884, is cut in the large stone of the ice age times, standing on the hill where Zhytomyr was founded. The first records of the town date from 1240 when it was sacked by the Mongol hordes of Batu Khan.

In 1320 Zhytomyr was captured by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and received Magdeburg rights in 1444. After the Union of Lublin (1569) the city was incorporated into the Crown of the Polish Kingdom and in 1667, following the Treaty of Andrusovo, it became the capital of the Kiev Voivodeship. In the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 it passed to Imperial Russia and became the capital of the government of Volhynia. During a brief period of Ukrainian independence the city was for a few weeks in 1918 the national capital. From 1920 the city was under Soviet rule.

During World War II Zhytomyr and the surrounding territory came for three years under Nazi German occupation and was Heinrich Himmler's Ukrainian headquarters. The Nazi regime in what they called the "Zhytomyr General District" became what Wendy Lower describes as "a laboratory for… Himmler's resettlement activists… the elimination of the Jews and German colonization of the East—transformed the landscape and devastated the population to an extent that was not experienced in other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe besides Poland. [While] … [u] ltimately, the exigencies of the war effort and mounting partisan warfare behind the lines prevented Nazi leaders from fully developing and realizing their colonial aims in Ukraine… In addition to the immediate destruction of all Jewish communities, Himmler insisted that the Ukrainian civilian population be brought to a 'minimum.'" Lower, 2005, introduction.]

From 1991, the city has been part of the independent republic of Ukraine.

The "Jewish Encyclopedia" (1901-1906) characterized it as "one of the oldest towns in European Russia," meaning the Imperial Russia of that time, and one of the "prominent towns" of Lithuania in the middle of the 15th century."Zhitomir (Jitomir)" in "Jewish Encyclopedia" (1901-1906)]

Population history

Jews in Zhytomyr

Zhytomyr apparently had few Jews at the time of the Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648), but by the time it became part of Russia in 1778, it had a large Jewish community, and was a center of the Hasidic movement. Jews formed nearly a third of the 1861 population (13,299 in 40,564); thirty years later they had somewhat outpaced the general growth of the city, with 24,062 Jews in a total population of 69,785. By 1891 there were three large synagogues and 46 smaller "batte ha-midrashot". The proportion of Jews was much lower in the surrounding district of Zhytomyr outside the city; at the turn of the century ("circa" 1900) there were 22,636 Jews in a total population of 281,378.

In Imperial Russia, Zhytomyr held the same status as the official Jewish center of southern part of the Pale of Settlement as Vilnius held in the north. The printing of Hebrew books was permitted only in these two cities during the monopoly of Hebrew printing from 1845 to 1862, and both of them were also chosen as the seats of the two rabbinical schools which were established by the government in 1848 in pursuance of its plans to force secular education on the Jews of Russia in accordance with the program of the Teutonized Russian Haskalah movement. The rabbinical school of Zhytomyr was considered the more Jewish, or rather the less Russianized, of the two ("Ha-Meliẓ", 1868, No. 40, cited in "Jewish Encyclopedia"). Its first head master was Jacob Eichenbaum, who was succeeded by Hayyim Selig Slonimski in 1862. The latter remained at the head of the school until it was closed (together with the one at Vilnius) in 1873 because of its failure to provide rabbis with a secular education who should be acceptable to the Jewish communities. Suchastover, Gottlober, Lerner, and Zweifel were among the best-known teachers of the rabbinical school at Zhytomyr, while Abraham Goldfaden, Salomon Mandelkern, and Abraham Jacob Paperna were among the students who later became famous in the Jewish world.

The teachers' institutes which were substituted for the rabbinical schools were, in the words of the "Jewish Encyclopedia" "scarcely more satisfactory" (The "JE" refers to the teachers' institute at Zhytomyr as "probably the worst-managed Jewish institution in Russia of which there is any record", citing Prelooker, "Under the Czar and Queen Victoria," pp. 8-21, London, 1895). It was closed in 1885, succeeded by a Talmud Torah, a "government school" for boys, a girls' school, and several private schools for both sexes that the "JE" describes as "admirable", with comparable praise for other Jewish institutions of Zhytomyr circa 1900.

While "never a center of rabbinical learning" ("JE") Zhytomyr boasted a few rabbis of some note: Rabbi Wolf (died 1800), author of the "Or ha-Meïr" (Koretz, 1795), a pupil of Bär of Meseritz and one of the leaders of early Hasidism, and Abraham Bär Mavruch, "rosh bet din" or acting rabbi of Zhytomyr in the first half of the nineteenth century and author of the "Bat 'Ayin" (Zhytomyr, 1850).

The Jewish community of Zhytomyr suffered a pogrom May 7–8, 1905, with about 20 deaths in the city, and 10 more among a group of young Jews from nearby who were coming to assist the Jews of Zhytomyr; the section of the city known as "Podol" was devastated. Among the dead was Nicholas Blinov, a Christian student, who attempted to defend the Jews.

The Jewish community of the region was largely destroyed in the Holocaust. In the four months beginning with Himmler's 25 July 1942 orders, "all of Ukraine's shtetls and ghettos lay in ruins; tens of thousands of Jewish men, women, and children were brutally murdered by stationary and mobile SS-police units and indigenous auxiliaries."

Famous people from Zhytomyr

* Ossip Bernstein, French chess player
* Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Hebrew poet, born in Radi, Volhynia, educated in Zhytomyr
* Tadeusz Borowski, Polish writer
* Jarosław Dąbrowski, Polish-French Paris Commune revolutionary
* Luis Filcer, Ukranian/Mexican painter
* Samuel Freedman,Canadian judge, Manitoba Chief Justice
* Yakov Gamarnik, Soviet Communist militant and military commander
* Aharon David Gordon, Hebrew writer and thinker, founder of the spiritual Zionism, born at Troyaniv, near Zhytomyr, settled in Palestine.
* Alexander Kipnis, German then US opera singer (bass)
* Vladimir Korolenko, Ukrainian writer.
* Sergei Korolev, prominent rocket engineer and designer, the head of the Soviet space program
* Boris Abramovich Kruglyak, Ukrainian historian
* Boris Liatoshinski, Ukrainian composer
* Keni Liptzin, Jewish actress in Yiddish theatre
* Julian Movchan, Ukrainian writer/journalist
* Leah Nickel, Israeli painter
* Franciszek Niepokolczycki, Polish soldier
* Oleh Olzhych, Ukrainian writer and nationalist militant
* Mieczyslaw Pawlikowski, Polish actor
* Sviatoslav Richter, Soviet pianist
* David Borisovich Sterenberg, Russian painter
* Vladimir Veksler, a Soviet physicist, pioneer of particle accelerator technology
* Kazimierz Zagórski, (1883 Żytomierz – 1944 Leopoldville, Kongo)- Polish photographer active in central Africa 1924-44, author of the "L'Afrique qui disparait", former Colonel of the tsar Air Force.
* Juliusz Zarębski, Polish composer

References and footnotes

* Wendy Lower, "Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine", 2005, University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2960-9. [http://uncpress.unc.edu/chapters/lower_nazi.html Introduction (online)] accessed 19 July 2006.

External links

* [http://interesniy.zhitomir.ua interesniy.zhitomir.ua] - Blog about history of Zhytomyr ru icon
* [http://www.student.zt.ua student.zt.ua] - Student's forum of Zhytomyr
* [http://www.zhytomyr.net zhytomyr.net] - City portal uk icon
* [http://www.zhitomir.de zhitomir.de] - Zhytomyr photo gallery

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