Gomel today is the second largest city in the country (after the city of Minsk), socio-political center of interregional ties between Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, with a developed industry, science and culture.
Gomel is located in the south-east of Belarus and is the regional center of Gomel region. Occupied area is 11,3 thousand square kilometers. Population is 498,715 people (according to 01.10.2009.), including the economically active population of 254,400 people.
The number of workers employed in the economy is 255 700.
The largest share in the national composition of the population of the city occupy: Belarusians - 75,7% of the total population, Russian - 16,9%, Ukrainians - 5,1%.
In the city there are administrative districts (Railway, Novobelitski, Soviet, Central).
Gomel is the administrative center of Gomel and Gomel region, located on the south-east on the river Sozh in 302 km to the south-east from Minsk, 534 km to the east from Brest, 171 km to the south from Mogilev, in 279 km to the west from Bryansk and 111 km to the north from Chernigov.
There are not less than six versions of an origin of the name of Gomel. The most plausible is that the name to it was given by the stream of Gomejuk running into the river Sozh at the bottom of a hill where the pioneer settlement has been based once. According to the other version the city name comes from a word “gom” which could mean either a hill or a ravine, or could be a name of the prince or a generation, who has founded ancient settlement. According to the version, popular in the Soviet period, the name of the city came from the following history: raftsmen, swimming on the rafts on the river Sozh, warning each other about danger to run into a sandy shallow, shouted «Go! Go! Mel!». According to the latest version offered by some modern researchers, the name of Gomel came from the ancient Belarus form of a greeting: «Dat v gomel» that means «to knock a fist at a shoulder».
The name Gomel was noticed in the chronicle of 1142..
In the chronicles the city is mentioned under the names of Gomej, Gomij, Gomin, Gom, Gome.
An industrial complex of a city made production on 5133,0 billion roubles in 2009. There were 126 industrial enterprises, from them 49 (38,9 %) the state enterprises , 77 (61,1 %) — not-state , including 37 (29,4 %) — joint-stock companies, 4 (3,2 %) — foreign property, 10 (7,9 %) — mixed property with foreign participation, 26 — others in the city in 2008 .
The largest enterprises are IU "Gomselmash", Zlin, the factory of the trading equipment, car-repairing factory, machine-tool constructing factory of Kirov, the factory of measuring devices, the factory "Zentrolit", the confectionery factory "Spartak", Gomel meat- processing plant, Gomel fat-processing industrial complex, IU "Gomeldrev", Open Society "Gomelstoymateriali", Gomel chemical plant, the factory of chemical products, the factory of chemical chalk, the factory of plastic products, IU "Crystal", «Gomel liqueur-vodka factory», Open Society "Gomeloboi", Open Society "Komintern", the radio factory, IU "Belorusneft", Open Society "Seismotechnica«, IU "Gomelsteklo", the car-repairing factory.
Belarus entered the
XXI-st century with the developed education system. The problem of
integration of the general and the vocational education is successfully
solved. Equal educational conditions for city and rural pupils are
The educational network of the city is presented by 218 establishments, including:
- 117 preschool establishments,
- 76 secondary schools, including 9 grammar schools, 1 lyceum, 4 evening schools, 2 boarding establishments;
- 15 establishments of out-of-school education and training, including 6 sports schools for children and young people;
- 3 educational production centres;
- 2 centers of pre-army training;
- 1 centre of correction-developing training and rehabilitation;
- Gomel socially-pedagogical centre (with a shelter);
- 3 establishments of the vocational education.
There are 18 vocational technical colleges and vocational schools , 11 secondary and 7 higher educational establishments in Gomel.
Educational establishments of the city are fully provided with the pedagogical staff.
The total number of employees in education is 14,511 people, including 8,939 teaching staff. From the total number of teaching staff 793 or 8,8% are of pensionable age, 8574 people or 96% are women. 76,5% of teachers have higher education, 71.6% of teachers have the highest and the first qualifying category, Percentage of young professionals in town is 98,2%. The turnover rate over the past three years has decreased by 1,2% and is 2,6% . An average regional index is 3,1%. During the period from 2006 to 2009 1095 young professionals came into the educational institutions of the city, including 255 - in 2009.
2009 was the time of development of the network of educational institutions. New buildings appeared on the map of the city, the secondary school № 72, a sport center for children of sport-technical kinds of sport.
In the coming years
there will be not only quantitative but also qualitative changes in
building a network. In addition to the planned construction of schools
in the 21st district of the city, work has begun on the creation of
school-based gymnasium № 49 in the Railway area.
Significant changes have occurred in the sphere of physical culture and sports.
For the organization of physical culture and sports and mass work in the city there are appropriate sports facilities: 7 stadiums, 1 track and field indoor stadium and 1 horse manege, the Ice Palace with two ice arenas, the city skating rink (St. Golovatskogo), 4 rowing bases, 33 shooting galleries, 17 tennis courts, 202 sports halls, 53 swimming pools (including 8 standard, 10 non-standard, 35 mini-pools (pre-school and hospitals, sports and recreation complexes)), 171 playground of residence and other objects of sport and recreational purposes (fitness centers, gyms, sports and health centers), at which all interested residents of the city may join the active physical education and healthy lifestyles.
42 institutions of education and sports operate in the city (6 centers of Olympic Reserve, 19 specialized children-youth sports schools, 16 children's sports schools and 1 children-youth club of physical training) in which classes are held of 46 sports and more than 18 thousand people are engaged.
During the period 2007-2009, Gomel residents won at international competitions 116 medals including 23 gold, 36 silver and 57 bronze medals.
Gomel athletes became winners of Olympic and Deaflympic Games. During the reported period, Andrei Kravchenko (silver medal of XXIX Olympic Games in track and field events), Babushkina Alesa (bronze medal of XXIX Olympic Games in rhythmic gymnastics), Petrushenko Oksana and Rudko Maria (first in swimming at the XXI Deaflympics in 2009) , Filipchik Anastasia (the third place in the relay in swimming at the XXI Deaflympics in 2009), Gralko Margarita (the first place in track and field events in the triple jump at the XXI Deaflympics in 2009) rose on the Olympic podium .
The city provided a
good tradition to hold national and international competitions and
tournaments, such as: International hockey tournament "Polesie Cubok"
and the International figure skating tournament "Golden Lynx" involving
teams from near and far abroad. Since 2008, this tournament is included
in the international calendar Grand Prix World Cup of Figure Skating
Protecting cultural heritage of Belarus has been and remains an important goal and task of cultural policy. This is the subject of legislative practice of the country. The network of recreation centers are widened, the libraries are reorganized, new museums and their branches are opened, the world support is given to the development of creative teams.
Changes in the cultural life of our city, which has taken place over the recent years, are the bright example Significant events that contribute to the formation of the aesthetic taste, creative and social self-realization of young people in the city of Gomel are an Interregional forum "Days of the art song in Gomel”, the International Children's Competition" Music of Hope”, the Urban Competition "Little gomelchanka”, the city arts festival " Rainbow Talents " the rap festival “ South-East of zones”, the outdoor festival " Battle of DJs”, an open competition of vocal-instrumental ensembles "Students’ Hit", the International Festival of choreographic Art "Sozh dance", the International Festival ” Renaissance of a Guitar " and others .
In 2009, the center of fashion and beauty Crystal Nymph organized and conducted the youth action "Running on high heels", aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles, competition for young photographers "Photo Art", qualifying auditions for the cities of Gomel region.
In December 2009, new project , the first regional competition of beauty and grace "Crystal Nymph” started, which ended on January 30, 2010.
New forms of work are actively introduced in the cultural institutions.
Over the past three
years there were events:
- the qualifying round of the International contest "New Wave" - Children's Art Festival, dedicated to the Year of the Child;
- the festival of vocal- instrumental ensembles "Students’ Hit", which in 2009 the Year of the native land was dedicated to the memory of the Belarusian “Pesnyar” Vladimir Mulyavin;
- IV Regional Festival of the Choral Art “Song Field -2008”. On July 3, 2009 the Regional competition of choral art "Song Field - 2009" was held on the 65-th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus from Nazi invaders;
- the International Slavic concert, dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Gomel from the Nazi invaders;
- The first urban show-contest of amateur art groups, dedicated to the 65-th anniversary of liberation of Belarus from Nazi invaders and the Great Victory.
The structure of subordinate institutions of the cultural department of Gomel City Executive Committee includes 2 clubs, 2 theaters, 17 libraries-branches, 9 children's art schools, the painting gallery of G. Vashchenko, the urban methodical center, “Gomel City Orchestra”, "Historical museum of the town of Gomel”, centre of fashion and beauty “Crystal nymph”.