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Coat of arms

Map of Ukraine (blue) with Kovel (red) highlighted.

Coordinates: 51°13′0″N 24°43′0″E / 51.21667°N 24.71667°E / 51.21667; 24.71667Coordinates: 51°13′0″N 24°43′0″E / 51.21667°N 24.71667°E / 51.21667; 24.71667

Country  Ukraine
Oblast Raion Kovel City Municipality
Founded 13th century
Magdeburg law 1518
 • Mayor Oleh Kinder[1]
 • Total 47.3 km2 (18.3 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Total 65,777
 • Density 1,400/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 45000
Area code(s) +380 3352
Website Municipal official site in Ukrainian

Kovel (illustration).


Kovel (Kowel) was first mentioned in 1310.[4] It received city rights from the Polish king Zygmunt Stary in 1518.[4] In 1547 the owner of Kowel became Bona Sforza, Polish queen.[4] In 1564 starost of Kowel became Kurbski (d. 1584).[4]

After the Partitions of Poland the town fell into the Russian Empire for over a hundred years. During the First World War, the city was a site of the Battle of Kovel between the Central Powers and the Russian Empire. In the interwar period, Kovel served as the capital of Kovel County in Volhynian Voivodeship of the Polish Republic. It was an important garrison of the Polish Army, here the headquarters of the 27th Volhynian Infantry Division was located. Furthermore, at the village of Czerkasy, a large depot of the Polish Army was located. In 1924, construction of the St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Roman Catholic church began.

In World War II, following the Nazi German invasion of Poland and subsequently, their Operation Barbarossa the Germans murdered 18,000 Jews in Kovel, mostly during August and September 1942. Later on, in March and April 1944, Kovel was a site of fierce fighting between the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking and the Red Army.

During the Volhynian Genocide, the town was a shelter for ethnic Poles, escaping the genocide. In that period, Ukrainian nationalists murdered app. 3,700 Polish inhabitants of Kovel county. In early spring of 1944, the 27th Infantry Division of the Home Army operated in the area. Kovel was captured by the Red Army in July 1944. In 1945, at the insistence of Joseph Stalin (following the Tehran Conference of 1943) Poland's borders were redrawn, the Polish population was forcibly resettled and Kovel was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It has been a part of sovereign Ukraine since 1991.


Kovel is the north-western hub of the Ukrainian rail system, with six rail lines radiating outward from the city. The first of these was built in 1873, connecting the city with Brest-Litovsk and Rivne. In 1877 Kovel was first linked by rail with Lublin and Warsaw in Congress Poland.

Notable people

Sister cities

Kovel is twinned with

 Germany: Barsinghausen
 Poland: Krasnystaw
 Ukraine: Smila, Ukraine
 Poland: Łęczna
 Poland: Brzeg Dolny
 Lithuania: Utena
 Poland: Legionowo
 Russia: Rzhev
 Belarus: Pinsk
 Germany: Walsrode
 Ukraine: Bucha, Ukraine
 Poland: Chełm


External links

  • Short history of Kowel (English)
  • Carrier "Kowel" leased by Poland during World War II
  • Tineke Looijenga, Published by BRILL. Page 127
  • Yad Vashem 2002, p. 183 (in the Hebrew edition).
  • David Pentland, "Fight for Kowel, Poland, March/April 1944", Gerhard Fischer Knights Cross signature series
  • Historic images of Kovel
  • Soviet topographic map 1:100 000
  • Photos of Kovel at "Ukraine Photos"

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