Zhytomyr (Ukrainian: Жито́мир, translit. Žytomyr
[ʒɪˈtɔmɪr]; Russian: Жито́мир, translit. Žitomir;
Polish: Żytomierz; Yiddish: זשיטאָמיר,
translit. Žitomir) is a city in the north of the western half of
Ukraine. It is the administrative center of
(province), as well as the administrative center of the surrounding
Zhytomyr Raion (district). The city of
Zhytomyr is not a part of
Zhytomyr Raion: the city itself is designated as its own separate
raion within the oblast; moreover
Zhytomyr consists of two so-called
"raions in a city": Bohunskyi
Raion and Koroliovskyi
Raion (named in
honour of Sergey Korolyov).
Zhytomyr occupies an area of 65 square
kilometres (25 square miles). Its population is 266 936.
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
Warsaw with Kiev,
Minsk with Izmail, and several major cities of
Zhytomyr was also the location of Ozerne airbase, a key Cold
War strategic aircraft base located 11 kilometres (6.8 miles)
southeast of the city.
Important economic activities of
Zhytomyr include lumber milling, food
processing, granite quarrying, metalworking, and the manufacture of
Zhytomyr Oblast is the main center of the Polish minority in Ukraine,
and in the city itself there is a Latin Catholic cathedral and large
Roman Catholic Polish cemetery, founded in 1800. It is regarded as the
third biggest Polish cemetery outside Poland, after the Lychakivskiy
Rasos Cemetery in Vilnius.
2.1 Demographic history
2.2 Roman Catholics
2.3 Jews in Zhytomyr
6.1 Public city transport
7 International relations
7.1 Twin towns – sister cities
8 Famous people from Zhytomyr
12 Sources and external links
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help
improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2014) (Learn
how and when to remove this template message)
Kyivska (Kiev) street looking West toward St. Michael's Cathedral.
Photo early 1900s.
Old water tower in Zhytomyr
Sobornyi Maidan - main square of Zhytomyr
Former private residence in Zhytomyr
Court building in Zhytomyr
Fountains in Gagarin park, Zhytomyr
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
Zhytomyr was one of the prominent cities of Kievan Rus'.
The first records of the town date from 1240, when it was sacked by
Mongol hordes of Batu Khan.
Zhytomyr was captured by the
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania and
Magdeburg rights in 1444. After the
Union of Lublin
Union of Lublin (1569)
the city was incorporated into the
Crown of the Polish Kingdom
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
Second Partition of Poland in 1793 it passed
Imperial Russia and became the capital of the Volhynian
Following the Union of Lublin,
Zhytomyr (known in Polish as
Żytomierz) became an important center of local administration, seat
of the starosta, and capital of Żytomierz County. Here, sejmiks of
Kiev Voivodeship took place. In 1572, the town had 142 buildings, a
manor house of the starosta and a castle. Following the privilege of
King Sigismund III Vasa,
Zhytomyr had the right for two fairs a year.
The town, which enjoyed royal protection of Polish kings, prospered
Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648), when it was captured by
Zaporozhian Cossacks and their allies, Crimean Tatars. Its residents
Zhytomyr was burned to the ground, and all government
files were destroyed. In 1667,
Zhytomyr became capital of Kiev
Voivodeship, and in 1724, a Jesuit school and monastery were opened
here. By 1765,
Zhytomyr had five churches, including 3 Roman Catholic
and 2 Orthodox, and 285 houses.
Zhytomyr was annexed by the Russian Empire, and in 1804 was
named capital of the Volhynian Governorate. In 1798, a Roman Catholic
Zhytomyr was established. During the January Uprising, the
town was a stronghold of Polish rebels.
During a brief period of Ukrainian independence in 1918 the city was
for a few weeks the national capital. Nicolas Werth claims that armed
units of the Ukrainian People's Republic were also responsible for
rapes, looting, and massacres in Zhytomyr, in which 500–700 Jews
lost their lives. From 1920 the city was under Soviet
rule. Under Soviet rule a German National District was set up in the
area for the German minority, according to Soviet minorities policy
before World War II.
World War II
World War II
Zhytomyr and the surrounding territory came for
two and a half years (first from July 9, 1941 to November 12, 1943,
and again from November 19, 1943, to December 31, 1943) under Nazi
German occupation and was Heinrich Himmler's Ukrainian headquarters.
The Nazi regime in what they called the "
Zhytomyr General District"
became what historian
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.'
From 1991, the city has been part of the independent Ukraine.
65,895 (of whom(by language) 31,000 Jews, 17,000 Russians, 9,000
Ukrainians, 7,000 Poles)
76,700 (of whom 10,500 were Russians)
40,100 (Russians along with Poles, Jews, and Germans in minority)
Zhytomyr had been a Latin Catholic bishopric since 1321, until the see
was suppressed in 1789 in favor of the Diocese of
Lutsk and Zytomierz,
until that was split up again in 1925, when it was restored as the
Roman Catholic Diocese of Zhytomyr; that was formally suppressed in
1998 to establish the Diocese of Kyïv–Žytomyr, but actually the
city retains the episcopal see in its Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom,
Kiev (although first in the title and the national capital) only
has a co-cathedral. 
Zhytomyr cemetery was opened in 1800. At first, it served Polish
nobility from Volhynia, such as the Czeczel and the Woronicz families.
Later, other Catholics were buried here, including Germans, Ukrainians
In 1840, the Chapel of St. Stanislaus was built (now in ruins), and
the cemetery was divided into nine districts, named after different
saints. In the Soviet Union, the complex was devastated, now it is
under the process of renovation.
Among most famous people buried here are:
Bronislaw Matyjewicz-Maciejewicz, one of the first Polish air pilots
Karol Niedzialkowski - bishop of
Lutsk and Zhytomir in the late 19th
Apolinary Wnukowski -
Roman Catholic archbishop and scholar
Juliusz Zarębski - Polish composer
parents of Ignacy Jan Paderewski
the family of Stanisław Moniuszko
Jews in Zhytomyr
Zhytomyr Jewish Institute building
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this
section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed. (January 2014) (Learn how and when to
remove this template message)
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 one-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
midrash. The proportion of Jews was much lower in the surrounding
Zhytomyr than in the city itself; at the turn of the
century (circa 1900) there were 22,636 Jews in a total population of
In Imperial Russia,
Zhytomyr held the same status as the official
Jewish center of southern part of the
Pale of Settlement
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 were 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
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
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
"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
Zhytomyr circa 1900.
While "never a center of rabbinical learning" (JE)
Zhytomyr boasted a
few rabbis of great significance:
Rabbi Wolf (died 1800), author of
the Or ha-Meïr (Koretz, 1795), and
Rabbi Aharon of Zhitomir, author
of Toledot Aharon, disciples of
Dov Ber of Mezeritch
Dov Ber of Mezeritch and early
Hasidic rebbes (leaders), and Abraham Bär Mavruch, rosh bet din or
acting rabbi of
Zhytomyr in the first half of the 19th century and
author of the Bat 'Ayin (Zhytomyr, 1850).
The Jewish community of
Zhytomyr suffered pogroms: 1) on May 7–8,
1905, when the section of the city known as "Podol" was devastated, 20
were killed within the city; 2) 10 young Jewish neighbors were killed
when they came to defend, and the Christian student Nicholas Blinov,
also attempting to defend, likewise lost his life; on January 7–10,
1919; 3) and beginning on March 22, 1919, when, according to
witnesses, the 317 deaths were a lesser number, due to both Christian
sheltering efforts and the return of the
Bolshevik troops within a few
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."
Zhytomyr Jewish community numbers about 5,000. The
community is a part of the "Union of Jewish Communities in Ukraine"
and the city and district's rabbinate.
Rabbi Shlomo Vilhelm, who came
to the city as a
Chabad emissary in 1994, serves as rabbi. Other
Jewish institutions are also active in the city, including the Joint
and its humanitarian branch "Chesed" and the Jewish Agency.
The community has an ancient synagogue in the city center which has a
Chabad operates in the city various educational institutions
which have residence in a village next to the city.
The internationally renowned chamber choir
OREYA is based in the city.
Teteriv River in Zhytomyr
Zhytomyr lies in a unique natural setting; all sides of the city are
surrounded by ancient forests through which flow the Teteriv,
Kamianka, Kroshenka and Putiatynka rivers. The Teteriv river generally
forms the southern boundary of Zhytomyr, though there are also some
small areas of
Zhytomyr city territory below the southern bank of the
river. The city is rich in parks and public squares.
Zhytomyr is set out on a mostly radial type of street net with the
centre at the main public square of the city, named Sobornyi Maidan
(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 Sobornyi
Square) a small quiet park is located, bearing the name of Zamkova
Gora (Castle Mountain) and containing a monument-type boulder with an
inscription stating that this is a place where
Zhytomyr was founded.
This historical centre of
Zhytomyr is located in the southern part of
the city. The old part of
Zhytomyr is located on three rocky hills
over the river Kamianka: Okhrimova, Zamkova, and Petrovska.
The old town is surrounded by new housing estates, the names of which
are often borrowed from the former suburban villages or reflect the
longstanding occupations common in these places. The main streets
connecting Sobornyi Maidan with the outskirts of
Zhytomyr are Kyivska
Street (going to northeast, to the railway station and
also to the main bus station of the city), Velyka Berdychivska Street
(going to southeast),
Street (going southwest; its
further continuation is Chudnivska
Street going to beaches and a
forest-type park near the river of Teteriv), and Peremohy Street
The best-known street in the central part of
Zhytomyr is Mykhailivska
(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
Sobornyi Maidan and runs approximately from north to south, connecting
some points at the above-mentioned Kyivska
Street and Velyka
Street is for pedestrian traffic: vehicles
are forbidden, with the exception of some slow-moving ones. A puppet
theatre is nestled in the middle of the street, while the building of
City Council is located at its southern end. Several
small coffee houses and cafés have sprung up here recently,
frequented by locals from all walks of life and of all ages. 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
Street from the northern end of Mykhailivska Street, one can
continue to go along Pokrovska Street, another important long avenue
Zhytomyr (going north).
The best-known park of
Zhytomyr is named after Yuri Gagarin, located
in the south of the city, at the left (northern) bank of the Teteriv
River. It was formerly owned by the
Baron de Chaudoir.
Climate data for Zhytomyr
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Source: Sistema de Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial
Zhytomyr central department store
Zhytomyr is an important economic center in the region. Enterprises in
the city include glass, metal fabrication, electronic devices,
screens, fabrics, furniture, shoes and others. In addition, a large
pharmaceutical factory is located in Zhytomyr. Since 1944, a
confectionery factory (ALC "ZhL") works in Zhytomyr; the enterprise is
one of the leaders of Ukrainian confectionery market.
The city is home to the
Zhytomyr Armored Factory. The factory has been
one of the main repair facilities in
Ukraine since the start of the
War in Donbass, running on 3 shifts. In September 2014 it was
announced that the Ministry of Defence of
Ukraine had placed a 280
million hryvnia order with the factory.
In ancient times, the city was located on the important road from Kiev
to the city of Brest-Litovsk. Now this road is of international
Kiev to the Hungarian border near Chop.
Some other roads:
connecting the cities Roman and
Zhytomyr (through Vinnytsia)
Chernivtsi (through Khmelnytskyi)
Stavyshche (through Skvyra)
Zhytomyr - checkpoint "Vystupovychi" of the Ukrainian-Belarusian
border (through Korosten).
Zhytomyr (through Berdychiv), Korosten,
Korostyshiv and Fastiv. In 2011 a stretch of the
Zhytomyr rail line was electrified.
Zhytomyr is located about 131 kilometers from
Kiev (by road
140 km, by rail 165 km).
The following trains pass through
Zhytomyr train station (both
directions for all):
Zhytomyr - Korosten
Vinnytsia - Korosten
Zhytomyr - Korostyshiv
Korosten - Koziatyn
Zhytomyr - Koziatyn
Zhytomyr - Novohrad-Volynskyi
Zhytomyr - Fastiv
The city has an airport (however it is not currently being used for
passenger transport; it is intended for the use of strategic bombers,
though not currently being used).
Zhytomyr has three bus stations connecting it with many other cities
and villages in
Ukraine and abroad.
Zhytomyr has fifteen bridges and junctions built over rivers and
roads. There is a 30-kilometer ring road around Zhytomyr. The most
interesting bridge in
Zhytomyr is one over the
Teteriv River in
Gagarin Park (named after Yuri Gagarin).
Public city transport
Common kinds of public transport shuttling within
trolleybuses, buses, and minibuses. There are also electric 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
Zhytomyr in 1899. Thus
Zhytomyr became the 5th city with
electric trams within the territory of present-day Ukraine.
Trolleybuses appear in
Zhytomyr in 1962. The total length of Zhytomyr
city electric transport routes (trolleybuses and trams) is
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Ukraine
Twin towns – sister cities
Zhytomyr is twinned with:
Famous people from Zhytomyr
Sergei Korolev (left) on a 2007 Ukrainian stamp
Ossip Bernstein, French chess player
Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Hebrew poet, born in Radi, Volhynia, educated in
Tadeusz Borowski, Polish writer
Anastasiya Chernenko, a professional triathlete
Jarosław Dąbrowski, Polish-French
Paris Commune revolutionary
Luis Filcer, Ukrainian/Mexican painter
Samuel Freedman, Canadian judge, Manitoba Chief Justice
Yakov Gamarnik, Soviet Communist militant and military commander
Vladimir Hachinski, renowned clinical neuroscientist and researcher in
stroke and dementia. He moved to Venezuela as a boy, and then to
Moisei Kasyanik, weightlifter
Alexander Kipnis, German then US opera singer (bass)
Volodymyr Korolenko, Ukrainian writer
Sergei Korolev, prominent rocket engineer and designer, the head of
the Soviet space program
Inessa Lee, singer known as Singing Doll
Keni Liptzin, Jewish actress in Yiddish theatre
Boris Lyatoshinsky, Ukrainian composer
Julian Movchan, Ukrainian writer/journalist
Franciszek Niepokólczycki, Polish soldier
Oleh Olzhych, Ukrainian writer and nationalist militant
Mieczyslaw Pawlikowski, Polish actor
Sviatoslav Richter, pianist
Mikhail Rostovtzeff, Russian Archaeologist
Mykola Stsiborskyi, prominent leader of the Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists and close ally of Andrii Melnyk
Vladimir Veksler, a Soviet physicist, pioneer of particle accelerator
Yuliya Yelistratova, a professional triathlete
Bruno Zach, art deco sculptor
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
The Theatre and Concert Hall in Zhytomyr.
The National University of Agriculture in Zhytomyr.
Zhytomyr state technology university
The Korolyov Museum.
Victory Square with tank monument and Hotel
Zhytomyr in the
Victory Square with tank monument and Cathedral in Zhytomyr.
Cathedral, St. Michael's Church.
The Catholic Church of St. John in the centre of Zhytomyr.
A place in
Street (previously known as Lenin Street).
Monument to the victims of fascism (Zhytomyr) 
^ Чисельність населення (за оцінкою) на
1 сiчня 2018 року // Головне управління
статистики у Житомирській області
^ "Zythomyr on Encyclopedia.com".
^ a b Lower, 2005, introduction.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
Retrieved April 3, 2016.
^ John Alexander Armstrong, Ukrainian Nationalism, Columbia University
^ a b John Alexander Armstrong 1963.
Population report by State Statistics Service of Ukraine, 1 Apr
^ http://www.gcatholic.org/dioceses/former/zyto0.htm GCatholic
^ Elias Heifetz, The slaughter of the Jews in the
Ukraine in 1919,
1921, Thomas Selzter New York, pp. 25-40.  accessed October 28,
^ Rus Ukrainskaya - Zhitomir (in Spanish). Centro de Investigaciones
Fitosociológicas. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
^ "Official web-site of confectionery factory "ZhL"".
^ ""Житомирский бронетанковый" получил
госзаказ на 280 миллионов". Ukrinform.
^ "Украинской армии заказали
тринадцать вертолетов Ми-8". Liga.
^ "Мэр Житомира Вера Шелудченко
возложила цветы к памятнику жертвам
фашистских лагерей. ФОТОрепотраж".
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Herman Rosenthal and Peter Wiernik
(1901–1906). "Zhitomir (Jitomir)". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish
Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine, 2005,
University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2960-9.
Introduction (online) accessed 19 July 2006.
Sources and external links
Media related to
Zhytomyr at Wikimedia Commons
Zhytomyr Journal - news, photo, map and other (in Russian)
GCatholic - Latin Catholic bishopric
interesniy.zhitomir.ua - a blog about history of
Zhytomyr (in Russian)
GCatholic - Latin Catholic cathedral
Trindelka - portal of
Zhytomyr (in Russian)
Zhytomyr map - cafes, bars, restaurants, everything about the city (in
hotels of Zhytomyr
Access related topics
Find out more on's
Administrative divisions of
Administrative center: Zhytomyr
Administrative divisions of Ukraine
Cities with special status
1Claimed and controlled by
Russia as the
Republic of Crimea
Republic of Crimea and the
City of Sevastopol
Ukraine (including Crimea) by population
City with special status
City of regional significance
City of district significance
Crimea is the subject of a territorial dispute between Ukraine
(Autonomous Republic of Crimea) and
Russia (Republic of Crimea)